Skip to main content

Summers Gone By

Summer holidays. Anticipated, savored and cherished. This magical time was the highlight of fourteen years of school. Every summer, my sister and I (along with our cousin brother), spent 2 months at the home of our grandparents. A rambling mansion surrounded by gardens on three sides, with cavernous ceilings, ornately carved furniture, doors hidden behind cupboards, creaky stairs and filled with relics of the past.

Summer holidays. So many memories. The sweet smell of ripe mangoes. The shouts of fruit sellers from the streets. The raucous noises of monkeys as they eat from the trees in the garden. Trying to eat the ice cream before it melts from the heat. Eating cold taati munjalu (fruit of sugar palm tree) on a lazy summer afternoon. Squealing with delight when my grandmother unveils one of her special sweets. 

Playing cops and robbers with water pistols. Annoying the gardener while he waters the plants, hoping he'll spray us with the hose. Bowling with plastic balls and pins in the living room. Petting the newly born calf in the buffalo pen. Eyes watering from fresh, spicy avakaya (mango) pickle, still continuing to eat. Board game shopping with grandfather. Eating dinner at lightning speed, because the power will go out in 5 minutes. 

Sitting under a full moon in the garden, illuminated only by stars and kerosene lanterns. Playing hide n seek in the dark. Laughing, talking and listening to snippets of the movie being played in the theater next door. Discovering the broken record player and 3 foot tall radio, tucked away in the upstairs library. The smell of old books, still scattered the same way from last summer. The smell of wet dirt after the first rains of the season. Making paper boats to see whose sinks last. Checking shoes for frogs and worms before putting them on. Trying not to step on millipedes in the garden. 

Competing to see who can take the quickest shower. Fighting for the lone seat at the head of the table. Playing the stereo full blast in a bedroom on the first floor so no one can hear us. Getting caught sneaking cola bottles from the fridge before lunch. Eating street food and getting scolded for not eating dinner properly at home. Movie marathons till well past midnight. Listening to the whistle of the trains during the night. None of us gave any thought to the future, beyond planning what to do next.

Until the dreaded last day of vacation. Frantic packing and last minute conversations. Looking forward to eating all the pickles grandma has packed and yet sad to leave everyone behind. Waving goodbye till the train pulls out of the station and nothing more can be seen in the dark of night.

All things, however good or bad, come to an end. The three of us grew up, moved away and stepped into the adult world of careers, relationships and responsibilities. No more magical summer reunions. But no matter what my age is or where I am, I'll always have memories of the best childhood summers to cherish.


Popular posts from this blog

Why Don’t We Raise Our Sons like We Do Our Daughters?

This post originally appeard in Women's Web: Why Don’t We Raise Our Sons like We Do Our Daughters? One of the hot button topics right now in Indian media is the safety of women – or rather how our country doesn't really care about half its population. From rape, sexual assault, harassment (in streets, public transport, nearly every public place) to violence perpetrated on women, Indians are finally getting around to discussing taboo topics. One refrain that caught my eye throughout these debates – both online and off – is the fact that the reaction of the majority of Indians is the same: girls should stay at home, not go out after dark, dress appropriately and so on if they want to stay safe. No one seems to bat an eyelid when laying down these precautions for women. Except that the reality is women would be far safer if all the men simply DID NOT RAPE or HARASS any person that looks remotely female. No one has to stay at home and become a hermit! That got me th

Education and Learning

Fourteen years of school. Three - four years of undergraduate college. Two years for a graduate degree. Start working or making babies. Sound familiar? It should, it’s what the majority of lives in this country look like. Ten years ago, I was headed down the same street. Engineering, MBA and then on to a fat pay check, like countless other teenagers, products of a system seemingly obsessed with stability and an extreme aversion to risk and failure. While I did end up getting 2 degrees and the pay check (with a stable, GOI company no less!) I also realized I hated it. Going to work from 9 to 7, doing the same endless, mind numbing, repetitive tasks, sitting in the same chair for ten odd years before getting promoted and dodging responsibility in order to retire with a pension suddenly seemed a lot less attractive when I was looking at it from the wrong end of 35 years! And history shall say I quit. But now what? I did what any sane person without a job and all the time in the w

Arranged Versus Love Marriage

This post originally appeared in Women's Web:  Arranged Versus Love Marriage: Here's Why Things Are Changing In 21st-century India, change is so rapid that we barely have time to get used to something before some new trend is on the horizon. And I'm not just talking about technology here. Whether it is human behavior, relationships, societal or cultural norms, Indian society – along with the rest of the world – today is hardly recognizable to my parents or their parents. It's not a surprise that the institution of marriage and the process of finding a life partner is also undergoing a metamorphosis. Perhaps this is one of the areas where the gap between generations is the most obvious. Almost every day, there is a TV show or media report or blog post talking about arranged vs. love marriages. So I figured I would present my take on it as well! Whenever anyone talks about arranged versus love marriages - I don't know why they are always portrayed as opposing