I don’t remember the first time I walked through that gate. But I remember that I was 6. I must have protested, wept and thrown a royal fit, not wanting to venture away from the comforts of home and kindergarten.

Inside that gate, I learned to make friends and pacify enemies.

I learned to respect others, their boundaries and their personalities.

I learned that to be a bully was to be a coward, and to be brave and bold was to stand up for what I felt was right.

I learned Physics, Chemistry, Math, Language, Art, Music.

I walked through those grounds a thousand times, laughing with friends, hurrying for some class, or just rushing to the bathroom.

I remember the last time I walked through the gate, two years after graduation. It was School Day, and I had paid a quick visit to my Alma mater just to catch up with old friends and beloved teachers, part of my family and close to heart. I was wiser than the girl who walked through those gates the first time.

Everything that happened to the girl afterwards, I recollected with a fond smile. I watched other young children, as young as I was back then, and wished to tell them how precious these years were. But they wouldn’t understand now, I knew, though they will someday.

Student volunteers stood in rows by the gate. The path was paved, and there were beautiful lawns on the sides. The lights blinked, as if to wave goodbye.

I knew the gates of my school were closed to me now – I was too old, and this Narnia of mine required me to learn from the world. Not so gentle a teacher, nor was it very forgiving, but it was necessary. I walked through the gate, the rows of student volunteers, the teachers who stood by them, busy with the requirements of the day.

The gate didn’t close behind me.

 

 

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