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A Rhapsody

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It was a day when all our mental strain was sifted out of us. A 20th of July when the whole school was adjusting themselves on their chairs to receive their dose of depression prescribed on a test paper. Everyone had to taste this bitter medicament after going through an indomitable ailment for one year. As for us our treatments ended yesterday. The freedom we felt because our own test papers were done with engulfed us with luscious raptures. Watching the rest of the school getting flustered by teachers embellished our ecstasy, with the uncouth contentment that arose witnessing our own liberty at hand.

There were 6 of us including me, who were banished repeatedly by teachers from classrooms because of the cacophony we created at the exam site. The sound mirth was inevitable as there were six elated spirits rushing in us. After several expulsions we were exhausted with transporting all our possessions from one place to another and soon we were out of decent places created exclusively for the purpose of yelling. Finally all our hunches about noise-welcoming places lead us to one place. A secluded spot with a mango tree and enough space for the spirits to roam. We played nine games non-stop there from 8.45 till 1.30. I can still remember everyone’s smiles and guiltless stupidity. One of my friends getting the advantage from her height and going for the longest distance in one game ; Kings and another getting her leg squashed every time at the very beginning of Kings. We getting trapped with no where to go and screaming in frenzied agonies as we get thrown out of the game with a painful feet. Then the heat of our ardor rising with the splashes of cool water. Some standing quite still until I finish with my splashing, another rarely to be found when water gets in the game and another giving me the hardest time with constant frowns with every splatter. And after all, all of us complaining together about water dripping from our hair and rolling underneath our uniforms. A different game when we sit on the ground making our white uniforms dirty with the water and dust getting mixed. Cards are dealt and the gist is to gather all the family members and make the family. The exclusive rule is that “pleases” and “Thank yous” are essential. The owner of the card pack is particular about the way we handle her cards that she either perpetuously admonish us against dropping food on her already untidy cards or sliding them against the ground or was vigilant whether we missed our “please” or “thank you”. All of us threw sour looks when someone had a lucky go and snatched a card from us or was cynical when they missed a chance.

Every evil look, every blunder, every warning and every utterance had an essence of childishness sweetening the moment. We all forgot for a period of time that we were students assigned for the task of facing the fateful Advanced Level examination that might change our lives from a miserable to a cheerful, or haplessly otherwise. We were utterly occupied with playing that we overlooked our age. All our grown-up feelings of yesterday were neglected to enjoy today like a toddler. We were so active moving here and there, our mouths were open all the time from the excitement welling inside us or because we had something to say every second. The rigid silence of the place imbibed our euphoric noise to reverberate impeccable pleasure. We never stopped. Even if we did it was not for more than five minutes. We soon gathered the power and strength of a teenager. We were overflowing with juvenile vigor. We went through ceaseless interactions. We gripped each others hands, communicated with our eyes, and played keenly to avoid mistakes. We touched each other, hit each other, grinned and frowned and screamed and laughed. Our eyes proved that our smiles were honest because they were nothing but straight lines when we started smiling. We were engrossed and involved in life. Such innocent pleasure! My stomach tightens every time with the reminiscence that brings mirth and even melancholy because this can be the last time that friends will be screaming “friends” so loud. We shared our food and water, we sat on the same dirt and encouraged each other to keep on with playing. We had to fall and bleed and have faith in our friends in the process of straightening ourselves amidst pain. And of course we never failed in safeguarding that faith with which we were honored. We were egalitarians, helpful, concerned. Concerned than when we were concentrating in our demanding school work. Concerned that we mopped up our friends’ bleeding wounds with our own uniforms, until we looked wounded ourselves with our bloody uniforms. We were friends and children. Naïve and sinless. Untarnished. With every harmless move we became intimate. There was such a lot friendship going on among us with every display of energy. I enjoyed being a child of 17 and a friend and being among the friends. I couldn’t hide my exultation that I kept telling everyone I met that afternoon about the emollient friendship I encountered, and their faces happily betrayed every sign of understanding my bliss. It was a soothing alteration from the stressful exam atmosphere, and I had only one childish wish when I came home. May every child on earth, whether young or old have some merriment every now and then to distract themselves from the perfunctory and realize that a frown coming from a friend coveys as much warmth as a consoling pat on the shoulder.



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