Whenever I see kids on a summer vacation, it fondly helps me drown in mine. That feeling of having an entire month to myself, either to dip my fingers into different shades of paint or get those flavored ice lollies in the blistering heat at my grandmothers place.
The part which leads to travelling all the way to Mumbai to meet my grand-mum meant carrying a bag worth of music (cassettes) to go with my Walkman and extra batteries, it was a delight to carry new music which was picked from an actual music store. A book or two, a bag of munchies along with a cooler filled with cold water.
Watching the mornings drift into the noon and spill into beautiful evenings, the lush greenery, the cows at the farm or simply watching the moving scenes from the window with my eyes glued outside. The games were brought from the vendor in the train to pass that long journey which included buying all in one game set, which included snakes and ladders, ludo and chess. This also meant making new friends in the same compartment while the dice rolled. The long stops at which the train hauled meant sampling different food from a different state and oily fingers with street food. It was a different story to tell by itself
The journey was a agog with experiences and arriving onto my final destination meant a lot more fun, new friends, playing new games. The time when cousins would gang up and have delicious mangoes together, it felt like we were having our own mini summer party.
Playing by the tank, which had a fortress like set up where your gang could gather to play yet another interesting game or setting that very own summer tents within the house, where we spoke for hours about the most mundane things that hardly come to my mind now. The stationery shopping that seemed to always make me grin the smell of new books, new pencils and erasers with that distinct sweet smell.
The favorite ice-cream shop my mum used to take me to savor litchi ice cream, it was a perfect summer treat and the strolls filled with hawkers and the most interesting things one could find. The wind playing with my hair in the evenings by the beach or the colors that you’d get to choose to have on a crushed iced filled with sugar syrup.
And as I’ve grown through the years the realities have changed, so have the cousins that I grew up with. The shops have changed, the summers, they don’t look the same but those little streets filled with books and the smell of parched paper makes my heart flutter with joy. I don’t expect, I let life give me surprises and in most profound ways when you take a stroll and accidentally bump into hawkers selling second hand book or stationery or a scoop of that tender coconut that makes you happy on a dull day makes up for it.