It is summer time in India and we are experiencing varied levels of temperatures. But for covid, most of us would have planned some getaway to enjoy. What if we can’t do it in the real world ? we can always travel back in our memory and rediscover the joy of childhood summer-time. Get on to the time-machine. Sit back. Rewind. Recall. Relax. Just as some of our team members have done….
Krithika says “The first few images of Summer that flash before my eyes are mangoes, sugar cane juice and orange candy!! Though a Bangalorean (in letter and spirit!) I spent most vacations in Chennai. Unconventional but true…. on the beaches sipping sugar cane juice and eating raw mango. Watching back to back movies – 3 shows back to back is my personal record ! ? Oh wait, how could I forget the orange candy! The most exciting ‘cooking’ (if it can even be called that) of my early childhood was filling up ice cream moulds with soft drinks and freezing them till they turned into ice candy and eating them with the greatest sense of achievement for having taken them out without breaking !”
Another Chennai girl, Pushkalaa says “Every Summer I would be packed off to my aunt’s place in Chennai from Delhi. While it was a relief from the scorching Delhi summer, it wasn’t from the treacherous holiday homework. My father would insist I write endless multiplication tables upto 50, 50 times both front and back. I would find ways to evade but my watchful aunt under instructions from the ‘higher up’, my dad would ensure that I finish it.
My childhood memories of the bustling city of Chennai include the buzz of traffic, the famous shopping hubs, cafes that served hot idly and sambar, amusement parks, annual festivities at the ancient temples that drew thousands of people from far and near, the distribution of buttermilk and juice by every household to the passersby to beat the heat, customary weekend outings to Marina Beach for playing in the sand and building castles, getting wet in the water and gorging on the piping hot bajjis and pattani sundal. Life was at its simplest best!!”
Ashwini must have been the teacher’s delight as she recalls “The best part of the Summer was, I used to complete my vacation homework as early as possible and wait for the school to open to see the new books, uniforms and importantly my friends.
I always preferred to stay at home instead of going on a trip. There was no summer camp for us in our village. Nor any mobile phones or internet those days. At best only the simple joy of waiting for the ice cream / candy vendor, plucking fresh mangoes & jackfruits from the forests nearby, savouring authentic native dishes and helping ma in preparing raw mango pickles. Ah, the aroma of those pickles are still fresh in my memory. Oh what fun it would be to collect hailstones during the first summer shower! “
On the other hand, Ashwin recalls “My friends and I would get up at 6am in the morning, go for a jog and then play cricket, board games and outdoor games throughout the day only to get back home for dinner and sleep. I also remember my father getting us a carton of yummy mangoes which would be replenished after it was empty almost every time till the end of Summer !
Others have different memories. Trupthi says “Summer meant vacation and lot of holiday homework which was the worst?. We didn’t touch homework throughout our two months break until the last 4 days when we would be compelled by our parents to complete it. Aren’t summer holidays meant for playing, watching TV, roaming around with friends, and not doing homework ?”
Another senior colleague Poornima talks of her unpleasant exam paper before the onset of holidays “Scorching heat is all that I can recollect when I think of Hyderabad, the place I was born and bred. Growing up in a lower middle class family, summer vacations were never exotic nor exciting but I cherish those simple days.
However, pre-vacation was full of anxiety thanks to the dreaded math paper. Once I wrote my examination and came back home. To avoid discussions about the paper I quietly hid it …. Guess where?? I dug a pit in my little garden and buried my paper. As usual my mother enquired about the paper and wanted to cross check the answers. I happily told her that I lost the question paper and quickly sneaked away from the house?”
As for me, when not getting away from Hyderabad to a cooler clime in Bangalore, we would practise for our classical music exam for hours together until my mom would say “It is enough. The walls have learnt your lessons as well”. As children, there was no shame in walking up and down the galli (street) to check if any movie was playing on the TV in anyone’s place – as in most middle-class households we didn’t own a TV for long and so we would happily join the crowd in the neighbour’s drawing room to watch the weekend movie. It was fun watching others sob or laugh at the scenes.”
Such simple, inexpensive joys of life seem very distinct and improbable now. Well, memories are inexpensive friends. The time-machine is yours. Stop where you want. Recollect and relive.
What you will read below is an “Ode to Nurses”, a first hand experience of my team member Poornima Jayarao. I thought her articulation will bring in the required authenticity to this topic of nursing care which is in great demand currently and is highly overworked too. Let’s take a moment to read and pay tribute to these frontline Corona Warriors – Our dear Nurses !.
Chocolate day, Teddy day, Valentine’s day…. all these are hyped and celebrated with lot of pomp in our society. How many of us really acknowledge the services rendered by the nurses??? This was the first thought that crossed my mind when I was scanning my mobile and sending personal wishes to all the nurses who served my husband while he was hospitalised over the last few years (I have lost the count how many times he was hospitalised). Hospital had become a home for us. Infact many a times, to cheer him up I would say “It is time to spend time together in our resort at Juhu?”. Yes! right from watchman to the main doctors I was familiar with all – especially the nurses, sisters, chechi, brothers…call them by any name… would welcome us with a big smile and ask …Phir aagaye Madam?? (Aaaa with that Malayali slang). For me these nurses were God sent messengers. While the Sanskrit saying goes “Vaidyo Narayano Harihi” (Doctor is Lord Hari-Narayana himself) I always felt that doctor examines, diagnoses and prescribes the medicines, but the nurses are the ones who administer the line of treatment and medications to the patients on time – with lot of care, affection, love and patience, convincing the patients to take the medicines. So, these nurses play a vital role in the wellbeing of the patients and their speedy recovery.
Below are my personal experiences that I bet will surely make you look upon the nursing profession with respect and gratitude.
The door opened and it was his favourite, beautiful nurse Shifa who walked in her white uniform…with a lovely smile and started exchanging jokes with my husband with a wink. There were times they would talk about movies, old hindi songs etc. That is how she use to brighten the atmosphere in the room. They shared such a special bond that during the hospitalisation period she tied a Rakhi also to him. Every time doctor would come and discuss some serious health issues regarding my husband….Shifa would be down mentally as she was aware he was deteriorating…yet with her charismatic smile she would console me and give me assurance ALL WILL BE WELL…..while I would be alone in the corridor sobbing.
Though he had a sweet tooth, being diabetic my husband was prohibited from having sweets. He had developed such a good relationship with all the nurses that one afternoon he told one of the nurses that he loves Malpua. To our surprise the nurse quietly got a dabba with homemade hot Malpuas for my husband and fed him. I was touched by her gesture. Well, some of you may argue that what she did was detrimental to his health but he already was in a condition of no return !
We are always under the impression that nurses, ward boys etc. always wait for tips when patients get discharged. I have this unique incident to share. It was Corona times last year. Similar lockdown situation and my father-in-law was serious. We had to treat him at home and with great difficulty I hired Neha, a nurse for 12 hours for 10 days. She was so good at her job, that as a token of appreciation I offered her Rs.2000. She was taken aback and did not accept the extra money, saying it is her duty. She had lost her job owing to the pandemic, yet she refused this extra income. I was impressed by her ethics and sincerity.
Friends, these nurses are human beings like us, (not robots) but they keep aside all their personal problems, emotions and serve not only the patients so efficiently but also support mentally and emotionally the family members of the patients too. I keep wondering how quickly they switch their emotions. They enter the ward with a smile but at times patients do not treat them well and caregivers are also harsh. But the next moment the same nurse walks into the next ward with the same pleasing smile? NURSE according to me stands for one who :
N – Nurtures.
U – Understands.
R – Is Responsible.
S – Serves selflessly.
E – Is Ever ready.
On this International Nurses Day (12th May), a big shout out to all the nurses who have supported me and a clear call to the society “Kindly acknowledge services of these real warriors who are on their toes 24X7, come what may !”