Social Networking: School Style!

by Mridul Mahajan

‘Socialising’ is coming to be recognized as one of the primary human needs. One only has to look at the formidable outreach of Facebook to see that. Ever since homo sapiens evolved on earth, they have looked for ways to express their emotions. And these emotions have brought into being different types of people and situations.

Stern fathers, soft mothers, harsh officials, quarrelling couples, teenage-drama-queens, cool dudes–human permutations and combinations are endless. And so also, endless are the means and media of expression and communication with fellow beings. But means and media were not necessarily invented–some developed spontaneously out of the human inclination to sudden outbursts of emotion.

One such case in point is the prominent Social Networking Areas (SNAs) in school: Corridors and Staircases (yes, there do exist other avenues, apart from Facebook!)–the venues of so many ‘Gossip and General Committee Meetings’!

The passages where, while ascending or descending the staircase, we always ‘happen to’ meet a friend (or a friend of a friend) and pass on messages, lists, books, chocolates and so on–where a story-teller gradually acquires the centre stage and narrates the latest events in which the climax is usually dominated by some burning issue like ‘How Harry met Sally’ (and someone usually spices it up with ‘How Sally smashed Harry’).

Traditionally, corridors have also been home to the criminals of the highest order (class-bunkers, on the run from the teacher’s ‘Why didn’t you do your homework’ third degree (lecture)). However, since our school has almost see-through corridors, the bunkers become soft targets, but still persist (I guess that’s why they are bunkers).

Apart from the ‘criminal escape service’ the corridors and staircases also provide recreational programmes. Sometimes, when the weather is good enough to distract you from your class (well, actually any weather will do), the corridors are ‘the’ place to shun all worries and walk freely with a blank mind (although, when too many ‘distracted souls’ are visited by the same impulse, the ‘walking freely’ becomes more of ‘meandering’).

Then, there is the morning assembly stage. Easily visible form our classrooms and the SNA,s and a major hub of activity at all times, it is a great allurement. I remember how once, in the seventh grade, I escaped from class with some silly excuse, to watch the ongoing Good Luck Party for Class X!

And the best of all: Corridors are means to reach the sanctum sanctorum of teenagers–The Washroom! After every class, the students wend their way en masse to this shrine to vanity, where the ancient ritual of ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall’ takes place.

Here the transformations take place: trousers pushed southwards, towards the ‘blue zones’, and combs flourishing in the ‘red zones’. And the corridors and staircases stand mute witness to the age-old fashion drama that is as regular as the end-of-class bell!

There is a multitude of other activities that are conducted in the SNAs, with ‘student meetings’ as the common denominator–the ‘move-for-assembly’ morning evacuation towards pre-appointed locations; opening of ‘Pandora’s boxes’ of secrets of known people; lamenting falling grades or cheering basketball victories, imitating teachers; being scattered like ninepins and re-herded like flocks of sheep by said teachers–the Social Networking Areas see it all.

It makes school life really worthwhile. And it’s all REAL, not virtual, unlike Facebook!

Mridul Mahajan is a student of class XII at Bal Bharti Public School, Pitampura, in New Delhi, India. He is interested in craftwork, theatre, debates and discussions, reading and writing (with an inclination towards satire and allegory).

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