By Susan Paul Mathew
How do you contain scuffles without reason, broken English without rhyme, smiles for all seasons and inhibitions that build with time?
You don’t contain it. You channelize it. You take hold of the reigns and charge forth into a brand new year with ICEBREAKERS!!!
Musical chairs in Snehabhavan, Hangman in Big Boys, Dumb-charades in YMCA and Chinese whisper in Crescent… The city burst alive with frenzied activity in four different corners of Cochin (Chapter) II like colourful fireworks in a star-lit sky.
It was the crack of a glorious new dawn.
There was the birth of new centres, the closure of old ones, adjustment of time-tables, sorting of children into respective classes, distribution of books, introductions, revision of ground rules, random MAD banter, shy kids, happy kids, naughty kids, restless kids, curious kids, enthusiastic kids, fumbling kids, kids crawling up the walls, kids begging you to chase and seek them, kids kicking up a fuss, kids with springs in their soles, weeping kids, groaning kids, sighing kids, bored kids, interested kids, uninterested kids, loud kids, kids, kids and more kids.
And all of a sudden… if you strained to hear it, there was a deafening momentary silence.
For the briefest of pauses, for a fraction of a second between blinks, all of the MADness stopped. A pause so personal, one could reach out and touch innocent wonder, relive the reasons for joining the MAD fold, and capture those déjà-vu MAD moments all over again, before MAD routines took precedence.
As I look at the new batch of ten in my class, I can make out that restraint has turned to hesitancy, downcast eyes are peeking curiously, mousy frowns are being upturned into tentative smiles. We smiled at the madness in each other’s existing methods and wondered how we would bring a method to our existing madness.
As the friction eased, ten pairs of eyes looked back expectantly, trustingly. The nicknames faltered, the teasing faded out and mellowness had descended.
It was time to learn, for the both of us.
I knew I was going to chase that smile before the sun goes down on me.