Summer vacation time and another wave of nostalgia surfs up on the eve of puthandu (tamil new year) which were mostly spent in my Grand parents place 'Sri Ramana villa'.
Almost or always I am away from home on vacation since childhood . During my childhood, When Bangalore was home , madras was my vacation spot and during my children’s childhood when Hyderabad was/is home, Bangalore was/is my vacation spot.
And most of the time the vacation period is 2 months since my children too would have 2 months vacation and the husband too would be away on tours. While it made sense to go from scorching Hyderabad to cooler Bangalore for vacation….i would always be made fun for travelling from Bangalore to the hot and humid Madras for summers during my childhood..
But did it matter to the young me?
Not at all! I have in fact played on the hot terrace of my grandparents home in the hot and humid weather with my cousins, aunts and uncles. What mattered was the company of my cousins, and also the bonding shared with my aunts and uncles who had a sense of belonging and bonded with their nephews and neices with a deep sense of responsibility.
Priceless lifetime memories and bondings were made over simple chores like filing thatha's papers, helping paati with churning butter or grinding batter with the traditional stone mortar, learning knitting, sewing, helping mami put vaadam(fryums) on terrace, splashing water to cool the terrace, sleeping on the terrace listening to stories from perimma , gazing at the star spangled sky , jumping up to catch the beam of light from the lighthouse, eating ‘nila saapadu’ (moon light dinner), and then rushing from the terrace to the down floor at the stroke of ten when we heard the soan papdi man ring his signature bell. When the saon papdi man handed the wispy sweet on a newspaper, we would longingly look at him for some more, the softy icecream and flavored milk at aavin luz, the kaarasev rolled in lotus leaf from karpagambal sweet stall, the chocobar and sundal at beach…. , oh! so many such simple pleasures…the list is endless. or going to the nearby kapali temple, tagging along with chitti to her friends place and taking pride when she introduced us to her friends. We had no instant digital cameras to capture the happenings and share, although a few of them have been shot by my mama in his sleek hotshot camera then. .Each task that I listed would make a lovely post especially the mottai madi happenings and the kapali koil tales.
Today when I think back, heat or humidity did not matter because life long bonds with cousins were made face to face and which are still remembered and reminisced by us . There was a communal sense of living with my aunts and uncles which has ofcourse now been replaced with “gated community” for kids. Today’s kids rejoice in fancy hill stations or foreign trips and hop from one summer camp to another. Cousins in most places have been replaced by friends and most of them are hooked on to fancy gizmos and gadgets.
Was I surprised when I recently saw a two year old comfortably seated on a sofa with one leg over another gazing at the digital screen.? No…. I am not surprised by the gizmo, gadget and foreign vacation talk by the young kids any more and I am not surprised when teens handle DSLR with elan or on highgrounds wrt elders when technology talks are on. After all from simple pleasure we have moved on to material pleasures and today’s parents too are indulging and pampering....... atleast most of the parents.
Today on eve of puthandu as I ramble about my summer memories,how much vacations have changed and we have moved on…well..life has moved on atleast digitally and materialistically. EVen I find myself connecting digitally with my cousins, aunts and uncle more than face to face. I realize it is time to digitally detox atleast for a week.
Do you often recollect your childhood memories especially if you have spent summer vacation at your grand parents place.? If yes, what did you do? please share....