I was so caught up in the logistics of the entire event that I kind of forgot about the event itself. Till a tidal wave of nostalgia hit me.
It was my six-year-old K’s annual Sports Day at school. The athlete in her has not yet surfaced (yes, I am hoping it does one day) so she was participating only in the mass drill set for all junior kids. My mind was completely pre-occupied in planning to reach the school on time, arrange a car drop and pickup for little V to her playschool, managing a classmate’s mom tagging along, coordinating the early pick-up after half-day sports etc. As things fell into place and I walked onto their athletics field, it hit me.
One, the sheer size of the field. Two, and more importantly, images of my those years of school sports days flooded my mind. And I was not just remembering moments, I was clearly visualising each one of them as though in a parallel world I was transported back to my school ground. Incidentally it is only a twenty-minute ride away and I cross it daily on my way back from work.
The images felt so real. Walking down the long path leading to the field, happy to be missing a few classes in the name of sports practice. Hours of striving for perfection in the march past. My teacher was an army colonel in disguise I was convinced. Standing perfectly still, waiting for the march past to begin and desperately wanting to scratch the itch on my calf thanks to hovering mosquitos. Pulling up our socks, stretching them till they gave up so that less skin was available for above mentioned mosquito. Being in the Red House that always came last on Sports Day and was hence condemned to be the fourth and last group in the march past. The ignominy meant more time in the mosquito corner. The freshly laid out tracks with pure white chalk powder. Punishing hours in the hot sun, mastering the drill routine. Watching those who could really run, run. The big day and the all important ‘Eyes Right!’ that allowed us to scour the stands for a glimpse of our parents. The games declared open and balloons, just a few, released into the sky. Back to the pavilion to cheer your house towards greater glory. Never worked for mine. ‘East or West’ my house is the best! Repeated again and again and again.
It all came back to me. And it all played out again in front of me. The same oath. The same chants. The same drill. The only addition was a mind-blowing display of yoga. We have moved forward in time to realise the value of ancient art forms.
Will her kids also do the same things I wondered. It suddenly felt as though this was a routine cast in stone. How could anyone dare to change it. How could they think they could better it.
Finally it came down to the basics. Kids running. As fast as they could. As best they could. Hoping and praying they crossed the finish line and brought glory to their House.
I wish more parents stopped looking down into their phones and looked up at their past. As it played itself out right in front of their eyes. Eyes Right.