|photo courtesy godolphin.org|
"Are you sure the kids and I won't be out of place?"
"Of course not. It has been designed to be a family thing," P said, with his usual conviction.
Reluctantly conceding, I could imagine it already. Lost in a sea of new faces, I would be the wallflower, yawning away in a corner. P would be busy reminiscing "those days". I would be left to fend for Cheeky and Aadi and my lonely self.
On paper, the itineiry sounded glossy although I was unconvinced. A posh resort was the venue with rooms for overnight stay, laced with a promise of great entertainment for kids and adults.
Reaching there on a hot afternoon, as we walked up, the kids faces lit on seeing the bouncy castle.
That's them sorted. What about me? My thoughts were swirling around as I watched over them.
Suddenly, there was a pat at my shoulder. I turned around to see a face smiling at me.
"Hi, I am P's batch mate and it's good to meet you finally. I hope you are enjoying yourself." she said.
We chatted for a while and found myself being introduced to some of the other new arrivals as well.
It was a interesting visual before me. Bright eyed youngsters who had left college had returned back as professionals and parents. Many had travelled a good part of the day to be there and introductions were flying around.
Now that acquaintances were made, people were slowly warming up to each other. As the evening wore on, people began to relax. Unihibited kids were having a great time. For many, talking about children served as an ice breaker offering a common ground for conversation.
After dinner, many slumped on the seats to collect their thoughts. The evening and the dinner had offered a great chance to register the changes in themselves and their friends, in the last two decades.
There was a moment of trepidation when the lights dimmed. Soon, the DJ began playing a selection of numbers, deigned to turn reluctant shakers into uninhibited dancers.
Initially, only a courageous and confident few got on the floor. But then the songs changed, uncoiling emotions and moves. People began filling the floor, taking solace in the growing crowd, to enjoy themselves without feeling awkward.I found myself getting into the rhythm and danced my heart out.
Taking a break between numbers, I caught a sight that has stayed with me since. In a corner, a former student was watching the dancers, with an expectant gaze. Hardened by years of domestic and career demands, she was stirred by the tempo but reluctant to join in. Clearly, it had been ages since she had let her guard down and indulged in carefree revelry.
Despite busy lives, various obligations, the evening had managed to draw out the spontaneity in people, bring back that buoyant student of '95 in them.
Next day, when we met for breakfast, it was like meeting old acquaintances- our shared experience of last evening had bound us together, creating a history of its own.
Bidding our goodbyes, we parted as new friends, with the promise to meet again like old mates!