Remember the school days, college? Particularly the send off?
And what about slam books? ‘Oh right, where did I stash mine?’
Well, I was introduced to the culture of slam books in schools. When you are parting with friends, knowing it’ll never be the same again, you get desperate to preserve what you once had, trying to lock those corridors firmly in your memory; those graffiti-ed benches, the chalk fights, the blessed P.E. periods... all of it suddenly doubles up in it's worth and you want to pack it up and take it away with you.
Perhaps Slam books were just another way to do that. But for the love of god, I wouldn’t get what all the fuss was about, or maybe I was just too lazy for it. But school was nearing its end, and emotions were running high. And not wanting to be left out, I too made a slam book and passed it on enthusiastically just because that’s what all my friends were doing.
Well, I can tell you now that it does pay off. One fine day almost 9 years later you are bored with getting bored and decide to clear out your desk and stumble across that faded colourful book, full of posters and drawings and copious amounts of scribbling, some of it in really bad handwriting... and it brings back a flood of memories.
So leaving all work at hand I sat down to go through mine. I had decided to keep my book really simple then – just the contact details, and an opportunity to get a little philosophical about life, friendship...
I think the decision to keep it simple had perhaps come from the cramps in my fingers after writing on and on in other slams about my favourite actor, favourite place, favourite movie, song, outfits, teachers, dish, colour, newspaper (?) and also dream partner, dream date, dreamy moments and dreams in life; even about what I would wish to reincarnate as, or demand if I was omnipotent for a day.
Anyways, going back through my simple slam book, I saw a lot of nice, funny, stupid, really funny, witty, really really hilarious stuff!
For example, one Mr. A had painfully scrawled everything backward so I had to rush to the mirror to read that page. 10 seconds later I was bent double laughing. In his opinion about me, he has written ‘well I think that you should talk a little more since I feel that you are a silent ‘gay’’.
And then Mr. S, a classmate I had broken ties with a long time back and after reading what he had to say I wasn’t at all surprised that we were no longer in contact. Reason? Page after page of friendship being described as a ship that never sinks, finally here was the opinion of a classic cynic, ‘Friendship is a ship which sinks anytime, anywhere, anyhow etc.’
And then, reading between the lines I was also realising that the last few years had not changed many people.
Like, all of Mr. V’s answers were similar – can’t think – my brain is corroded – No aim in life. And curiously, I realised he still gives similar answers to any questions he wants to dodge!
Ms. A, thoughtful and sombre as ever had written ‘Life is a pendulum oscillating between sorrows and joy.’ What a thought!
And then there’s always someone who’ll write either on the last page, or somewhere in between, so it's a good idea to flip through the pages to make sure you did not miss out anybody. I found one on the last page, turned out to be Ms. L, unconventional as ever!
And of course I wasn’t too surprised to see that all advice to me was... to eat a lot to gain weight – eat a lot, you are too skinny – don’t take tension, you won’t become fat – please don’t go on a diet – and with one person taking it too far to emphasis the point with this sarcastic remark ‘you are too fat’! Well, it finally seems to be working!
Looking through everyone’s ambitions, I wondered how many of us have actually accomplished what we wanted to be. At 15, did we really know where life was going to take us? Then again, was 15 an age too young to dream and plan? Maybe at the simpler mindset that we carried at 15, delineating our minds and feeling was much easier than as we grew older and more confused.
Wouldn’t you say than that the simpler, wilder dreams of a teenager made more sense than that of a flustered adult with concepts of security and stability drilled into the head by parents and society? With the age running out, hunger for success & pressure to make a comfortable living, coupled with the uncanny marriage proposals kicking in, it's no wonder we are producing a bitter, frustrated and more harassed-than-ever generation-next who all seem to be running after the MBA!
But right now I’m too nostalgic to worry about that...
I never really had a proper college life, and being a CA student meant you were too busy or too harassed to think about slam books. So school days were the only ones where I had most fun and they are the ones I remember with longing. They were one of the best days of my life and I miss them a lot.
So with another parting look at it, I stashed my slam book deep inside again so that I find it in another 9-10 years, to go through it again and perhaps to write about it once more from a different perspective, this time from the point of view of a 30something.
One Ms. A described it the best:
Writing with pleasure, parting with pain,
Because our school days will never come again!