Time-machine is yours. Stop where you want. Recollect and relive!!

May, 2021

Dear Friends

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.