Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Farewell & remember...

Recently a school next door hosted a farewell party for the Std X class – a ritual we see in most schools in India. It had the usual trappings of any such event – sentimental songs from Hindi movies, an adapted version of Auld Lang Syne, and of course faculty speeches to the outgoing batch. The sounds drifting from the microphones got me thinking about my own farewell party almost two decades ago! Sadly, there isn’t much I can recall except what I wore and a simple ritual of passing a lit candle to our juniors.

Though I loved school and had my share of achievements, I am more proud of what I achieved post-school both in terms of connecting with people and also stretching my own limits. I do wish school had equipped me a little better to deal with the world and my life. So here’s my wish list of some of the things they could have told me on the night of our farewell party:

- Life is difficult and you are on your own!

- The most precious gift from your school years are your friends. Never again will you get such a long time in one place to nurture friendships. So always stay in touch with your school friends.

- We taught you language in school not so you can score marks in exams but more so that you have the ability to speak up when required.

- You probably didn’t make it to any sports team because the Physical Ed. teacher didn't know how to handle a large group. Find opportunities to play and enjoy a sport - you will learn a lot more than the game itself.

- The labels you've earned in school are not part of your identity for life. You shed them when you step out of school. And life will present you plenty of opportunities to create new labels for yourself.

- It is not important what your teachers thought of you. What you believe about yourself will shape your destiny.

- Failure is great because it will push you to stretch yourself and set you free to follow your dreams

- We punished you in school not because what you did was wrong but because we as adults could not handle what was happening and needed to regain our sense of control!

- Knowledge that you gain from books will be insignificant compared to the knowledge you gain from your experiences. You will pay a high price for it but it will be knowledge well earned.

- The world is filled with limitless opportunities and there is a space under the sun for everyone to achieve something.

- Competition is real but it will take you only to a particular level. After that, it is how you are willing to do better than what you done today

- Don't channel your efforts to build skills for a specific profession - instead channel your efforts in exploring your skills and then see which profession fits in for you.

And finally
- working with children can be very satisfying!

Maybe my teachers thought all this and tried telling me in their own ways, maybe i was not ready to receive the messages then and had to discover it in my own ways. In any case, it might be interesting to go back and listen to what they are telling the girls now. And maybe request my school principal to allow me to share my two-bits with the outgoing batch. I guess i owe this much to my school :)!


Neelakantan said...

Great post. No. Actually phenomenal post. Got me thinking.

Neelakantan said...

See here :)

manju said...

Lovely post! Every point strikes a chord.

Debashis said...

Very good write up. Did enrich me with awesome thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Very well said! You should send this to the school.


Neo said...

so true :)

Balaji said...

Vijji - Very nice one. To add one more to the list 'The most important learning you can take away from school is how to learn things'....

Ameet said...