Whenever I use the word nostalgia, my wife says it is my excuse for remembering those girlfriends of the yore. For me, nostalgia is actually an excuse to remember my times with my boy-friends. But yes, those are the times when me and my friends chased those girls!

The word nostalgia comes from Greek, nostos meaning returning home and algos meaning pain. At a time in the past, it was used to describe as a medical condition! Nostalgia was one condition which used to cause deaths, especially to soldiers who were posted far away from home. Now it doesn’t exist as a medical category but still is attributed to many psychological conditions, depression and as a possible factor attributed to some suicides.

Age 7 (1987): OK, so back to my nostalgic memories comprising of just boys and girls. It was class 2 and I was like less than 7-8 years old. We were sitting in the classroom, I guess it was a free period though the teacher was there. Suddenly, in between, the boy sitting next to me poked me and went down the benches. Soon I followed, and there I watched with awestruck eyes the vision I will remember for the rest of my life. No, it was not the holy cross appearing on the wall. It was my first sight of the chaddi (slang for underwear) of a girl! and that too a blue chaddi! You can guess how vivid the memory is when I exclaim the color. Some of the girls were sitting on the floor, leaning their backs on the wall facing us, with their legs upright opening the gateways to a new, previously unknown, foreign land. These memories… that is what I call nostalgia 😈

Age 10 (1990): By the time we graduated to class 5, complex, intricate, dynamics ran throughout the class. This we understood only by the end of that year. A smart, dynamic young boy had joined our class in the middle of the year and had shattered all the dynamics in the class. Just after 2-3 weeks of his joining, he captured the smiles of the smartest girl of the lot. This girl was smart in studies and sports and she was pretty as well!! There were too many fans for her in the class, but none shared the secret with others. By the end of the year, the whole world conspired against this smart boy and cornered him. Last day of that year, somehow, from all sides, 4-5 boys “including me” cornered him and started pushing him. We don’t know how we all got together because it was not planned at all. Anyways it didn’t matter to us. We didn’t want a newcomer to take the girl making a fool of all of us. When he was pushed back, he caught my shirt to balance himself. The shirt I was wearing didn’t have one of the buttons and I made that a chance, accusing him for tearing off my shirt. The pandemoneum which followed – dragged him from the classroom – all the way to the basketball court. Poor boy. My autorikshaw back to home was waiting near the basketball court. So, unfortunately or fortunately, I had but to hurry off leaving the job to the others. Those are memories… that is what I should call nostalgia, right?

under the table

Age 15 (1995): Then it was class 10. We were no longer at the mercy of external dynamics. We created our own, internal, dynamics. Probably it started off as an accident from our extra scholastic mind. Excessive and vigorous use of pens and pencils used to cause them to fall on the floor, confirming Newton’s gravitational discoveries. Following Newton’s discoveries, we had our own discoveries as well. If a pen or pencil fell down, we competed to go down and search for it. You know, Larry Page was not yet at Stanford, and google was not even in the embryonic stage. So we had to be our own crawlers, and we crawled on the floor, and did our own searches for the pencil. We “stumbled upon” several gorgeous, mind-blowing structures while crawling under these benches. We indexed these crawls in our mind, for later use (?!) and I could still visualize myself under those benches… Now, aren’ t they memories? Don’t they make you nostalgic??

school footbal match by the stream

Age 17 (1997): So let us move on to class 12. By this time, all of those boys had their hormones working at its peak. Especially those who previously sat ON the benches instead of crawling UNDER! This I came to understand through the daily football matches we had. After the school time, we had almost all of the boys in our class moving on to the school playground. This playground was blessed with a stream flowing by its border. So what? Semi clad, young, water nymphs from the neighboring regions used to take bath and wash their clothes in that stream. What other heavenly boon should an adolescent boy ask for?! It always happened that the football matches were one-sided. Or to be technically accurate, the football never touched one side of the ground. It was always rushing to the other side of the ground where the stream touched it; where those nymphs moved around. Blame the dirty football! It doesn’t stop on the other side of the ground, but it always rushed down the stream. About 5-10 of the boys run down the ground and to the stream to fetch one football. About 20 boys (including the goal keeper from the other side) stand at the brink of the ground watching the huge event. “Event” in the sense, retrieving the football; not the young, fresh, round, ripe, water melons waiting to jump out of the wet wraparounds of those water nymphs! When I tell you that this happened every few seconds during the match, and that all the boys in our class participated in it, you will understand the dynamics behind it. If I don’t get nostalgic about those memories, you or at least one of those boys will beat me up!

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