It’s nearly a month since I wrote anything. Many reasons but mainly because of the reunion. I missed writing. With work and reunion planning and then a full house did not give me much opportunity to write. I sat down for a bit yesterday to write. After staring at the keyboard I retreated back to just liking things on facebook. Looked at the Daily Post word prompt to get a start. The word is Breakthrough. All I could think of was the scene on “Good will hunting”, Robin Williams telling Matt Damon “It’s not your fault”, It was fresh in my mind, as I had just watched it for the millionth time today. I am no movie critic, if I was, it would be a pretty short one, “I liked that movie or I didn’t really like that”. So I started to read a few of the other contributions under the topic “breakthrough”. There was one from hotwhitesnow on writers block. Exactly what I needed to breakthrough the fog.
Months of planning, too and fro about the date, the venue, the numbers, catering, table decor, the list goes on. Finally the girls were at our doorsteps and the day was here.
Some of us were meeting after nearly thirty years. We attended a school called Good Shepherd Convent, (in Kandy, Sri Lanka). Most westerners when they hear the end of the name “Convent”, they wonder if I was going to be a nun. The schools were originally established by the English missionaries. We didn’t have many co-ed Schools. So the girls schools were always attached to a nunnery and hence the name Convent. The nuns ran the school and the boarding.
Kandy is the capital of the Hill country. Most of the hills region are Tea Plantations. So, other than a handful of so called staff the rest would be Indian labour force brought in by the English to work on the tea fields. Woes of this labour force is a story for another day. Education was not the major priority for these folks. Needless to say the local schools were really not geared for higher education. So most of the parents sent their kids to boarding schools in Kandy or Colombo. Parents of girls mainly preferred to send their daughters to Catholic schools, even those who were not Catholics. They liked the discipline and conservative up bringing. I am rolling my eyes at this last sentence. Still let me continue.
Our school stands tall and proud on that hill and gives me goosebumps every time I see a picture of it or hear the school anthem ” Triumphantly we raise it the standard of our school, oh may we ever be faithful to our Alma mater’s rule…”
I am not totally sure if we became well disciplined or more rebellious, I am not sure if we adhered to the conservative up bringing or became more free thinkers, but I am certain that in spite of the rubbish we had to put up we became quite bonded. We became a family. I think we were united against that common enemy, the nuns of course.
With the civil war, marriage and migration most of us dispersed to different parts of the world. I lost contact with all of them. It was as if I had no childhood friends. My husband, his work and his circle of friends became my life. Then after the kids, it was the kids, hospitals trips, coughs and colds, Nebuliser and Ventolin became my life. No complains, it was my choice, well not much of a choice, that was what unfolded, life was dumped on me and I had to run with it.
Then probably about 7 years ago, I gave into joining Facebook. I had just come out of surgery. I had just been given the news that I have survived cancer. I had a major phiffany, “life’s too short to be doing just mundane things”. I had this major urge to connect with people that I had lost contact, from my old work places, from my old school etc.
Stumbled across Amalie on facebook. I only knew Amalie vaguely. She was younger than me and she was a day scholar. I only knew her because she used to hang out with Didi (a fellow boarder). I sent her friend request anyway. Seeing I was from the same Alma Mater, she accepted. That was the beginning. She was friends with a truck load of my friends from the boarding.
Some of us had changed in shapes and sizes. Many a OMG’s followed by “how many kids? Messages going back and forth, especially between me and Suzy girl. Then I found Binah. We were the best of buddies in the boarding. She left for Canada before finishing school. I was distraught when she left. Binah couldn’t wait any longer. She rang me earlier than the time we decided to call each other. We were just so happy. Then came a few other moments like that when I chatted with Praba and Malini. Found out that Vasugi lives in Brisbane and Tessa in Victoria. Shazee had not changed much at all. Just had longer hair.
Learnt that we’ve all gone through various pain and happiness. Some had lost their husbands, while some regretted their marriage. Some had lost a child and fighting with every might to continue. Some had done well in their careers and some not so. Some of us survived the dreaded C but sadly some didn’t.
But when we chatter, for that moment, we are back in school. We are connected by the memories of that school. We are once again united by that school. I am still trying to recover from that one week of partying. We laughed more than we drank. We danced more than we slept. That was a reunion to remember.