That was Summer
I have always been mesmerized by the change of seasons. The sunshine, the rain and almost non-existent winter in between. Each season brings with it its own memories. For me, summers brings about a sense of nostalgia like no other! The exams, the vacation, the mangoes, the games, the books, the rain – all of it brings about a yearning for that time that now feels so long ago. And I fondly remember it all and say, “That was summer”
I still remember the feeling of the cool breeze against my skin as I walked on the streets near my house after dinner. With examinations going on, days and nights were only meant for studying. But when there were power cuts in the house, walking was what I did, those few moments that I could let my mind wander beyond the realm of equations and formulae, dates and maps, concepts and theorems. That was summer.
When we came home after the last examination of the academic year, mom greeted us with the Television remote in hand and told, “I have got the cable TV connection!” . My brother and I danced with glee while we decided what to watch, and my mom was already worried about the fights over the TV remote that would follow. That was summer.
The verandah of our house would be a beehive of activity come summer. It started off with the kitchen sets and doctor sets, of cooking from leaves and flowers and serving “guests” or of taking turns being the doctor and patient. As we grew older, it was the board games and those Pokemon cards or those WWE cards. While afternoons were meant for thse summer naps because we couldn’t do much in that heat, the evenings were noisy. We played the gully version of every game possible! That was summer.
Growing up, my mom thought it would be better if we could invest our time in something more productive so there came the summer camps. I dabbed some paint here and there, learnt a few different kinds of stitches, made a duck with a tilted neck with clay and learnt a couple of karate moves. While I loved the fact there were so many different things to learn and do, I longed for some time when I didn’t have to work according to a schedule. The fact that I hated the most was that the summer camps would give me homework too! After two summers, I didn’t want to go to any summer camp.
The best part of summer was when we’d book the bus tickets to travel to our native town. We’d pack our bags with great enthusiasm, the kind never seen when it came to folding the clothes after they were washed on other days. Visiting grandmothers, uncles, aunts and cousins was an essential part of the vacation planning. Since they were staying in different parts of town, there were trips within the trip. And all the clothes packing had to be done considering all of these trips and the hot and humid but crazy rains in the evening coastal weather.
It was summer when we’d wake up early and run to the church next door for the morning mass. After mass, I’d find my way through the overgrown grass of the cemetery to my Dad’s grave. I couldn’t visit at any other time of the day because it was not a good place for kids to be. But every time I went there, I was reminded of that unfortunate summer, when Dad left us.
We always had extra chores to be do during summer because we had to learn how to be independent (Oh wait, not boys, just the girls, because boys didn’t have to do much apart from annoying their sisters!). We’d all be in a hurry to finish them all, because there were so many amazing things to do after!
And so we’d set off! It was summer when we’d go out with a bag in hand to take a walk in the lush greenery of a bunch of mango trees. If there were mangoes that we could easily reach then we’d pick them, otherwise we had to resort to checking the ones fallen down to make sure that there were no insects or birds or animal bites on it. Then we’d go home with our grand loot of the day. We’d sit down and sort the mangoes that were good enough to be eaten directly and the ones that could be made into a curry which we could eat for lunch.
It was summer when we’d wait for the sound of my uncle’s old Fiat, ready to jump in without even asking him for a glass of water because we were too excited to go to the beach. The beach was a short 20 minute drive from my grandmother’s house. It wasn’t a big one which the tourists frequented but a really small one without any visitors barring us. We’d jump in joy at the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. We’d collect seashells and make our sand castles. We didn’t need much to make us happy. On our way back, the premise of eating an ice cream would make us happier.
It was summer when we’d rush down the hill, into the forest opposite my grandmother’s house. We’d go to the little stream that flowed there and I would sit on a rock there while the rest of the gang would jump into the water. I’d sit there wondering what it would be like to grow up. Everyone asked me what I wanted to be. I wanted to be so many things, and I couldn’t pick one thing. Splash! I’d come out of my reverie only after a splash of water would land on my face.
The quiet of the afternoon under the shade of the trees served as a perfect setting for me to pick up a book and read. I’d get distracted sometimes by the sounds of the different birds that visited the surroundings but then at times I would be so lost in the book that I wouldn’t realize when afternoon had made way for the evening. Evenings meant walking in the farms, picking out vegetables and enjoying the gentle evening breeze while watching the setting sun. That was summer.
Trips to the city were quite rare and if we ever went, it was mostly enroute to another relative’s place. But while we were there, we couldn’t miss going to this famous ice cream place. Though the temptation of trying a new flavor was always there, the first visit to the Ice Cream place for that summer always meant that we would order the usual, the favourite. Then we’d relish every bit of the ice cream for we’d missed it for a year! That was summer.
We would bring out the old albums and we’d refresh our memories about the events in the pictures. There was laughter and there were tears, for some memories were bittersweet. While marveling how we were growing up so fast and how time kept flying, we would all wish if we could turn back time. That was summer.
And then came the time to bid goodbye, to pack our bags and return because the summer holidays were almost over. School was about to reopen. With tears in our eyes and loads of memories and things to carry, we’d return. That was summer.
Towards the end of summer, lightning and thunder marked their presence on most evenings. We’d sit around the glow of a single candle singing songs, telling stories because there was no power to watch our favourite shows. Or on those rare evenings, when there was a hailstorm we’d stand in the verandah, arms extended outside trying to catch at least a single hailstone. Or on those days where there was sunshine and rain, we would run to catch a glimpse of that rainbow. That was summer!
We had to buy books, get the uniforms stitched or altered. the never ending preparation for going to school again. A fresh roll of brown paper was procured. The newly bought books were covered. We’d then put labels on the books which were inspired by our favourite TV shows or movies. And when the time came to go back to school, there was happiness and sadness, enthusiasm and lethargy, all in equal measures! That was summer!
It is almost the end of summer and I sit now surrounded by the four walls of my house. I’ve been home all of summer trying to snatch bits and pieces of it. I can’t seem to make sense of the reality now so I revel in the memories of the summers gone by. I’m trying to get my little bit of summer by trying to devour yummy mangoes and watch sunsets. I miss the freedom that summers once brought along! And now reminiscing all the adventures, I say “That was summer!”