As my school days are coming to an end, there are often pangs of realization that hit me- sometimes leaving me depressed and scared for the rest of the day, and other times, just a passing feeling.

I have been to the same school for the past fourteen years and leaving this school would not be as painful as leaving the people that make up the school.

My school life can be broadly divided into three categories:

1)      Bus Journeys

2)      Classes

3)      Friends

Bus Journeys have always been fun in the years I spent in school. In the beginning, my school was located near my house and the bus ride was about fifteen minutes long. Later, when the campus changed, it increased to forty-five minutes. Bus journeys were ALWAYS noisy. The front was filled with kids and the back was occupied by the seniors. The kids sat in threes while the “elders” sat in twos or even one person per seat. The bus windows did not have curtains so we were left shielding our eyes from the scorching sun by using either our hands or our books. The Air conditioners were tiny and frequently broke down in the summer, leaving everyone to make paper fans out of old circulars and papers. Despite all of this, every single person in the bus had a good time.

In the morning, the bus was generally quiet, as people were either sleeping, or whispering because the seniors had just told them off for making too much noise and disturbing them for the test they had later that day. The sleeping kids were fun to watch, some of their heads lolling here and there until they woke up with a start to realize that they had slept off, and just after the moment of realization, the sleep deprived kid would have drifted off to sleep again.
The sixth graders would be animatedly chatting or reading their textbooks, and in some cases, fast asleep. The seniors were almost always sleeping. When I was a kid, I never understood why they would want to waste the precious bus journeys on sleeping, when they could be doing anything else. But now I laugh at my kid-self because only I know how valuable sleep is to a twelfth grader.

Afternoon bus journeys were on a whole other level.

Filled with exciting stories to tell and relief from the fact that their tests and/or homework had gone well, everyone was energetic and active. It was very ironic that this was our state at the end of the day. Maybe it was the feeling of knowing that we were finally going home, where we could change from our sweaty and uncomfortable uniform and rest under the comforter after a nice yummy meal made by Mum. Maybe we wanted to compensate for the lack of interest shown in the morning.

Every afternoon, when the bus would start moving, the adventure would begin. Kids would stealthily take out their tiffin boxes and eat from them, hiding it behind their bags (we were not allowed to eat in the bus), some would take out their pencils and start drawing in their books (also stealthily- sharp objects could hurt kids). Smaller kids would begin their games of rock, paper, pencil, scissors, or play pretend or even start fighting (in the case of boys). The girls would fight with frequent calls of “She is pinching me!”, or “She called me a bad word!”, or “She took my pencil!”.

 The others would be animatedly talking and gesturing furiously, some singing, and others laughing loudly.

Since we were an all girls school (except for Primary section), there were girls in our bus who were quite desperate. When a boys’ bus passed ours, some girls would whip their hair open and wave airily at the boys. Most of the boys reacted with equal enthusiasm, winking and waving at them. These actions would meet either giggles of the others or even disapproving nods.

The bus was also a main hub for rumours and truths to spread. Girls from different grades and sections often listened to each other, and through word of mouth, the news would spread throughout the school, effectively and within no time at all.

My friends and I often arranged Bus parties, where we told our moms to pack a little extra food for our friends to have. Some of the parties were quite elaborate, with Lay’s chips and Doritos and marshmallows. Others were unplanned, the leftover food in our tiffin boxes, would be equally distributed among the rest of our friends.

The bus was also the best place to make friends. For me, bus friendships have always been amazing. My best friend and I used to be in the same bus at some point of time, and my closest friends are in the same bus as I am. So, plans to see the movie that had just released, or for a slumber party during the Eid holidays would be discussed.

When we reached our stops, no matter how old we were, we would wave to the person outside with one hundred percent enthusiasm.