I looked forward
to this day—the day when I would embrace freedom at least for the next six
years. Perched in my favourite cozy corner of our home by the side of the
balcony with a book, I stared ahead as a million thoughts scuttled in my mind.
I looked out of the balcony window. Life went on as usual for all the people
out there. The flower vendor lady walked ahead, her flower basket balanced
carefully on her head. Rose and jasmine strands intermingled with each other,
along with a few marigolds, carnations and chrysanthemums. A young ice cream
vendor pushed her cart along, tolling a bell attached on the cart, gaily
singing a song. A few children thronged around her, eagerly waiting to gulp a
few gallops of sinful sweetness. Some vegetable sellers too pushed their carts
and walked ahead. The monotony of the mundane life struck me, and I just
couldn’t wait to be out of all this.
Elizabeth, was happily churning out my favourite dishes: appam and chicken
stew, beef fry for breakfast. My father, George, was busy readying our car in
the garage, listening to his favourite song “Suzanna, I’m crazy loving you.” My
pet dog, Rudy, a Pomeranian breed, lazily lay on our sunny porch that faced the
majestic Fort Kochi beach. My brothers, Sam and Matt (twins), were out
“fish-catching” as they would proudly say; whether they actually catch any fish
still remains an unsolved mystery!
grandfather clock and the cuckoo clock, downstairs, chimed eight in the
morning. I sprung out of my reverie, all set for the big day. With the
swiftness of a mad hare, I rushed downstairs into the kitchen startling my
“Anna, how many
times have I told you to behave yourself? The chicken stew on the stove would
have toppled on us had I not stopped myself in time!”
“Mamma, today is
the big day. I will be sent off to join The Lawrence School in Lovedale, Ooty.”
School, in Ooty, founded in 1858 by Sir Henry Lawrence, a solider-cum-civil
administrator, is one of the prestigious public schools located amid pristine
green surroundings spanning 700 acres. My mind echoed with the numerous fun and
romance stories and escapades I had heard from my neighbourhood friends, many
of them were Lawrence alumni. I was in love with my life, and I wanted to enjoy
life to the fullest. It was, after all, my life!
Mrs. Pamela, our
English teacher, read a few lines from John Keats’ Endymion, “A thing of beauty
is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into
Yes, a thing of
beauty is a joy forever, I thought. Ruminating on these lines, I stared out of
the window seat. My heart skipped a beat, Mrs Pamela’s voice flew into some
distance, the world stood still, Time went into some warp---my eyes were only
for a handsome boy approaching the classroom. His strides oozed confidence and
his physique resembled that of an athlete: broad shoulders, oval face,
eye-catching height. But the icing on the cake was his dimples. His dimples
seemed to bob up and down with the strides he took.
me and I heard, “So, Anna, what does the first stanza of Endymion present the
with a million thoughts that sped like lightning in my mind, I cleared my
throat and replied, “Ma’am, the first stanza of the poem presents me love. I
see my love walking toward me with confident strides. His stunning looks,
admirable height and those playful dimples are enough for me to forget Keats!”
thunderous giggles and whispers among my classmates. This was followed by a
hushed silence as Mrs Pamela’s voice transformed itself from a singsong voice
into an authoritative one, “Anna! What an answer! Please stay back in the class
after the class is over.”
Why should I
stay back? Is it a sin to admit I am in love? I thought.
tree aka Flame of the Forest outside the window appeared almost bare naked,
stripped off its leaves and flowers. I stared out of the window into the
unknown. The mist thickened into a white snowball. The distant Nilgiris turned
a shade darker and secretive. The evening birds’ songs could no longer be
heard. All I could hear was the mild ticking of the wooden clock on the wall of
my room. A few lines from my cherished Lawrence school song reverberated in my
Distance may part us and seas may divide us
Fortune may frown and odours grow cool
But still these words will inspire us
Never give in is the motto of our school
on the door. I caught a glimpse of somebody. The pen I was holding fell from my
shaky hands. The last leaf on the Gulmohar tree flew away into the Nilgiris.
The mist that had thickened into a white snowball ironed out mildly, turning a
At the noon of life's endeavour
While we toil to win the prize
There'll be memories naught can seve
Thru heart and soul they'll rise.
To the Blue Hills they'll restore us
From the heat and toil and din
To the home whose haunting chorus
Till rings out its Never Give In.
Smitha loves traveling in her flights of imagination and uses these flights to craft short stories and poetry. Full time mom to a give-month-old baby and a budding writer from India, her passions are reading, creative writing, listening to music, learning new languages, meeting new people, getting acquainted with different cultures and traveling.