Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tales of the Purple wonder-van

I think this blog will be going into nostalgia mode shortly. The impending end of our happy days at Kollupitiya campus will warrant another post, but I'm going to go way back with this one. Back to 2003-06, in fact.


I was about thirteen when my parents put me in a school van to get me home. Not just any school van, this one could be spotted from miles away because it was painted purple!

There were a couple of kids from our school and a friend of ours from Mahanama in the first-row seat and the makeshift backward-facing seat that was right behind the driver's seat. The rest of the van was full of women. There was never much interaction between the boys and the girls, which I put down to some sort of ultra-awkward incident that happened before I joined. The van had gone through various interesting 'incidents' before I joined, the most famous (known throughout the school, in fact) being when it almost got blown up by a bomb aimed at the prime minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake.

The memories I had of the van are mostly of being stuck in traffic, getting home two and a half hours after the end of school, wonderful. There was a pecking order, or rather a seating order that was strictly followed. The front row was taken by veterans, so I had to wait till somewhere like Nugegoda to jump into that one. C used to tell us about what happened last night on his favourite show: Angili Salakuna. Ni and S were WWE fans, so their stories usually revolved around whatshisname the Undertaker. They even had a pack of WWE cards that we used to play. Na was into music and smoking. A was the guy who was an year older than us, who used to chase me around and poke my (non-existent) tummy. Yes, I'm aware of how wrong that sounds. :D

One of the funniest things happened once during big match time. We had a College flag out one window, and we were passing out of Flower Road in moderate traffic when suddenly a guy came running onto the road, grabbed our flag and threw a rotten egg into the van. The egg was thrown at the back of the van (it hit the rear glass, and I believe it stayed there for a week till someone cleaned it up, LOL) and the girls were basically threatening us with bloody murder. But the funny bit is that as he ran back, someone was waiting for him: a stern-looking policeman! Good luck, dude! :D

Water fights were a common occurrence when the last day of school rolled by. This was when the animosity among the guys and the girls just bubbled and everyone threw a good bottle of water to make up for everything the others had done throughout the last three months. One such day, after much water being thrown, the guy who drove the van (our Uncle! oh how we drove him nuts as he drove us home) bought us all yoghurt. We ate the yoghurt, but as we were nearing the bottom of the cups, we found out that the yoghurt could be used for other purposes. When my bag started stinking badly a week after end of term, I realised that I had been hit. Oh well.

And finally, of course, the music. The van had a cassette player and radio. One day, uncle was bored and switched on the radio, much to the displeasure of everyone sitting in the van. The girls, cunning as always, exploited this moment of weakness by bringing two cassettes the next day: Ranidu's debut album and some BnS songs. Despite many failed attempts by the boys, these two continued playing on loop till we finally left the van 3 years later. And now, whenever I hear those songs, I remember the van days. :D