The best thing to happen to a student every week, is the PT/Games period. The best thing to happen to a student every term, is the exam holidays. The best thing to happen to a student every year, is the annual excursions/ short trips
The annual school excursions were thrilling to us kids (to say the least). We used to wait in anticipation of the major event for over a week, plan for everything a couple of days earlier, have fun (in the truest sense) on that day. Even the PT period would look uninteresting if we were scheduled to go on a picnic, the next day. I remember taking only the lunch bag to school and all my friends from other classes would ask, ‘Are you going to a picnic?’ I would happily say ‘yes’ and they would beam even more
I don’t remember the earliest trips much. I do remember that we went to the BM Birla planetarium and the Vandalur Zoo when we were in the primary classes. I was in awe at the planetarium. When the lights went out and the stars came up in the sky (in broad daylight), we were thrilled and even gave a collective hissing sound (zzzzzzzzz oooooooo) We were looking at all the planets that were coming one by one on the large dome-type screen and wished that the distracting voice of the presenter would stop! When the show was over, we thought ‘Wow, what a great theater!’
I don’t remember much about the zoo. I do remember seeing a tiger and elephant and I also remember that my leg was paining due to the long walk. I don’t remember being thrilled at seeing the animals in cages, even at that young age. I am not sure what others felt.
The Mahabalipuram trip was interesting. Of course, the sculptures and their beauty are lost on children, but we were slightly older by then (maybe 6th or 7th standard) and hence it was more like a ‘friends outing’ together. Only the teachers were always around us and kept ordering what to do and where to sit, etc. Obviously we didn’t go to the beach, but we had a lot of fun exchanging video games (hand-held models) and playing so many different games for a considerable amount of time.
The real fun was during our 9th and 10th standards. That was when teachers asked us where we wanted to go and we unanimously said, ‘Dizzee world’. It was a theme park in the ECR and had all kinds of fun rides. The best thing about it was, except a few rides, we could go in all other rides for any number of times. That concept made us jump from one ride to another. Literally!
Also, for the first time teachers left us on our own. They said everyone had to assemble near the entrance at 4:00 PM and we could go anywhere and play anything we liked in the mean time. That was a real surprise. We formed autonomous groups and for the first time, we felt like explorers finding our way around the theme park!
While going and coming back, we were singing non stop and there were two buses (carrying one section each) and both the drivers were under enormous pressure to overtake the other bus. They too joined in the fun!
We went to the same Dizzee world later in the 11th standard too, but the group in that school was pathetic. I really missed my close friends from the earlier school and for the first time felt how important it was to have great buddies in order to enjoy trips to the maximum.
Isn’t that true? Isn’t it the people who make trips more enjoyable than the places we visit?