She might be around 12 years old… slim and beautiful…. with sleepy eyes, loosely tied hair, a heavy school bag on her shoulder and clad in a coffee brown pinafore with cream inner shirt…. a typical school girl. She lazily boarded the bus and with her droopy eyes she started exploring for a vacant seat. She was apprehensively eyeing the vacant seat next to me and slowly took a step forward but retraced nabbing her purpose at the last moment. She turned towards me, still fighting with her cerebrations and I gestured her to sit down. She sat down beside me but with great dubiety. The weariness due to a draggy day at school might have impelled her to make the decision.

She was not young enough to be my daughter and was not old enough to be my sister but I felt a similar bond with her. A fond regard which was unaccountable. The air around her, her slender arms with tiddly hairs, her visible cares of sitting with a man, the way she clumsily moved her head, her hand kerchief stained with blue ink, her uniform, the belt and the black shoes….. reminded me of the girls in my school days. I felt a sudden urge to go back to my school and to be with my friends.

In the short journey, I remembered all my friends in school- boys and girls, who were once an inherent part of my life.. whom I had gradually lost in the flux of time. I remembered everything… the small fights and quarrels, the pranks- on friends, teachers and all those who came by, the competitions- academic, curricular and extra curricular, the fests- house day, school day, sports day etc, the modest celebrations for Onam and Christmas, the treats for birthdays, the tensions of exams, the exultations and pain of results, the vacations, the rides in school bus, the thrill and anguish of being in love, the rules that were so tempting to be broken, the pangs of bidding adieu…. etc etc….

I sat beside the lovely girl and I felt as if I was back to the old halcyon school days. Such small instances can bring fond and warm memories of the bygone era. Though nostalgic, I felt so refreshed and happy too… inadvertently this little girl has made my day!!!!

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