School means different things to different people, few of them having anything to do with lessons learnt from tattered textbooks. Oh yes, all that is very much there but the things that take precedence over algebra and history are the friends we make, the lunches we share, the promises we break, and those that we keep, and of course, the teachers. The ones who take the time to listen, and to care.
It’s been long, too long, since I have visited my school. Or said hello to the teachers. Many things have changed since I left. The walls have had many a fresh coat of paint, new rules have replaced old ones, uniforms have had their cuts and colors revamped, and so on and so forth. Some of the teachers who taught me have retired, some moved. The kids I went to school with are scattered all over the globe, busy with their jobs, their families, and all that it entails. As am I.
Nothing stays the same forever, or so I thought. Till my phone buzzed and I found myself staring at a haze of purple. The kind of purple which can cheer up the dreariest of moods. It was a picture of the bougainvillea tree forming a canopy over the principal’s office. My mother had sent it to me. Just like that.
In this world of constant, relentless change, the tree is still there. It’s paper-thin flowers rustling in the wind, welcoming a set of fresh faces. Every year. Without fail.