The 1st year and 2nd year In-service candidates had hosted a farewell dinner for us as was the tradition since the Distance education program was initiated. The usual rounds of drinks were served and a couple of dances and songs by individuals and groups were presented and everyone around was joyous. The table I had taken with my friends was getting noisier every passing minute and we got some nasty glance from the people across our table but my friends were in their seventh heaven and didn’t give a second thought on it.
The drinks began to take its due course and people started passing some comment whenever a solo was performed onstage. Some started grading the songs by saying “Choe gi beat da chikha theen matshu” “choe gi …blah…blah…blah...”
The coordinators asked us to take our place for dinner and we followed them laughing all the way to the food counter. There were some men in front of us who mentioned about our by previous year’s performance where we had sang the group song “Rivers of Babylon” as a tribute to our reunion ( most of my group friends had come for the same course and we met after more than a decade). We used to sing that song during our training days and thinking that there would not be a better occasion to sing that song, we presented that song during our first year Residential School.
We presented the same song during our second year on the request of our seniors and we thought we have had enough of the Babylon request but this time, the mates wanted us to present the same song since it was our final RS (Residential school), thus we ended up singing the same song for the third time.
The song holds a special place in my heart because it connects me to my teenage friends who went on to be my best of friends as the year passed and now in my middle age I can still count on them and the friendship grows even more as our children are connected through us.