Thursday, 7 June 2012

Summer vacations

All the fuss that tormented us the whole year was finally at its end. Studies, achievements, tons of homework, wearing the uniform, tying up one's hair and above all carrying that heavy school bag was finally a thing of the past. Well, atleast for the next two months and some.
I am a late blogger and the funny thing is I choose to start my blog with one of the earliest memories that reach me. Earlier than my life in a foreign land away from my roots, earlier than the birth of my two daughters, earlier than my wedding that was so very unconventional and even before those tedious years of college.
I guess its true! The best days of our lives are our childhood...and I would like to tell that tale.
So back to where I had started, here we heard the last school bell ring and there lay ahead a sea of free time.
Back in those days, Mumbai used to be called Bombay and the area I lived in was still more semi forest and lush green than buildings. Needless to say, life was lived outdoors. As soon as breakfast was over, I was out searching for friends in our building who would all emerge from their homes ready to start our day of fun.Then followed our endless supply of games like catch & cook (wonder why that game has such a funny name), hide and seek, chor police (thief and police), langdi (a kind of catch where the denner chases hopping on one leg) which would quickly eat away the morning and the noon break would soon reach us. All our mothers used to yell from our balconies to return home quickly. Yes, those were the days when generally  mothers stayed at home and we were lucky enough to enjoy that. I still remember my mother's voice calling me in her unique way...she always pronounced the 'K' in my name as a 'G', making it a Leghaaa yell.
Lunch was always special at our home, as special as the developed world's dinner since my dad used to return home daily for his lunch hour. Also since lunch was freshly cooked it was also the most abundant meal in our day. Dinner would be usually finishing off the lunch since in those days we did not possess the modern world's cupboard, i.e the refridgerator.
Our afternoon sessions of play were generally more silent versions  as most of the people who had been hard at work, cooking or cleaning their homes would stop for an afternoon nap. So we children were warned to only play near our apartments,if not inside our homes itself. This usually equalled to a small group of friends playing on our floor landing. Everyone would chip in and get a toy that they chose to share or  possessed and our theatre was set. Games like carrom board, scrabble, shop shop and house house. (Funny that we loved the games that were usually a word repeated twice) and anything else that was invented spontaneously was warmly welcomed.Nothing was more delightful than mothering a worn out doll or selling a wheelless car or fighting for the existance of a word that we had dared put on the scrabble board.
At home 4pm was the time for our daily chai session. My mother (Amma) as we called her, would invite some of my closest friends to share this time with us at home.The limited ration of Glucose biscuits were equally distributed to all of us and we all sat cross legged on the kitchen floor
enjoying this daily dose of sugar.
Ofcourse I need to point out that those days we were yet to discover soft drinks, cakes freely afforded for any occasion  or supermarkets loaded with alleys of sweetmeats, chocolates and candies...so for us some biscuits was a real step towards heaven. Sometimes we were even luckier when the Nankathaiwala used to pass by and Amma would spend that extra bit to buy some of those delicous, melting in the mouth cookies and those crispy Kharis. Eagerly, we would dip the Kharis into our chai causing half of that waferlike buttery biscuit to sit at the bottom of the cup waiting for us to finish all its liquid content and then pluck out the remains of the Khari with our fingers....wow what a yummy memory!
Come evening, our energy was still not ebbed....the whole outdoor activity would start again with the same gusto as in the morning....fathers coming home from work, aunties and mummies out on the road for walks and chit chat, all this were just part of the background for the kiddos who knew and did what they wanted most- Play!
Sixty odd days of this routine for children who were not going anywhere out of town, for others who did not have television or other modern distractions and today I see that nothing in the world could compare to that feeling of freedom and living life without a care.

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