Summer holidays in India are around the corner. My children are so looking forward to their first really long summer holidays in their young lives. The Kindergarden holidays in Germany, that they both knew were always only three weeks. Now they will be home for almost two months! No rush in the morning, no timetable and no homework!
Pool from morning till lunch, laze around in the balcony in the afternoon and stay out in the playground till the mosquitoes start buzzing! Heaven! And on top of that, we are going to Germany – visit grandparents, catch up with old friends and walk down the memory lane -for a whole of 4-weeks!
What was my summer holidays like?
When I was a kid, our summer holidays were filled with, wait for it, wait for it…. nothing, it was filled with nothing but scorching hot days where we would get dusty from head-to-toe playing on streets, eat juicy mangoes and stain our clothes, wait for rains that would never come, beg our parents for ice-cream – the absolute-ultimate-treat in the world!
Those holidays, as Barney Stinson would say, are legendary.
The 80’s middle-class Indian household did not have money for holiday trips. We did not have bargain packages to Europe, we travelled for a whole-day by buses with no shock absorbers and packed-lunches and went to Erode, Tamil Nadu. We went to temples and stayed with people whom we have never heard of but were related to us in a way that defies definitions – “oh, she is the aunty that is married to the cousin of your chithi’s (mother’s sister) husband’s brother-in-law” – we usually stopped after the first mention of the word ‘aunty’. It was all aunties and uncles, brothers and sisters – your family just grew much bigger during the holidays.
Sometimes we would just stay home the whole summer and would be left to our own devices. I remember summers spent outside, sitting on the stone used for washing clothes, eating cream biscuits (lemon flavour), looking at the clouds in the clear sky. Those were days of quiet happiness and contemplation.
Summer holidays was a place and time where anything could happen, where time stood so still that you had time to observe a resting dragon-fly and yet a time so short that you cannot believe its supper-time already.
The world during summer holidays was a small and yet, a wonderously big place. It still is, for my children.