Bala has asked me to write about eight summer vacations I have enjoyed..yeah..I enjoy vacations..period..be it summer or any other season :)
I am not writing it chronologically but I will just start from my childhood vacations .
Most of my life was spent at my grandparents place and it was the meeting ground for all of us cousins :)
I am very lucky to have a cousin of my age and we used to be the best of playmates. My cousin L was living in a joint family and so used to visit us only during weekends..(this was our maternal grandma's place ) .
Our grandpa's place was a huge big house surrounded by a well planned garden with lots of trees and we used to treat it like one big play area. L used to come up with novel games that involved mud , clay , water ..everything that my grandma disapproved of ...but very exciting for us kids :)
L's house had a water boiler ( the traditional one made of copper with the chute in the middle where u put the fuel..twigs, coal, dried cow dung mixed with god knows what all stuff). Yeah..u can see these in tea stalls even today :)
L taught me how to prepare 'boiler urundai' (original ones are made with cow dung+ all stuffs mixed and shaped into balls and sun-dried) using clay , mud and water :)
oooohhhh !!! I tell u there is nothing akin to the pleasure of dipping ur hands in cold wet clay and mud mixture. She was a good tutor..taught me how to knead it and make it into perfect spheres. But where we went wrong was the place we chose to dry it....right on the newly painted window sill of my grandparents bedroom :(
Oh that was the greatest crime :( the ball sat there alright...but the muddy water dripped all over the place and created a big mess.
Then she taught me how to do 'patties' (virati) out of the same stuff...haa haaa...this is a great skill where u need to slap the mud mixture real hard on the wall to make it stick. We used up the entire East facing wall to dry our 'patties' .
In the evening when my grandmother opened the windows , one by one the boiler urundais were rolling out :(
I need to tell you that my grandma is skilled in caning and always had a cane handy
:( . Had it not been for my lovely grandpa..we wld have been history by now :) After our chores were over..we'd walk into the hall , on the carpets..with our muddy feet and hands and plop ourselves on the sofa ....I think my grandma became a BP patient because of us :P
Then , once we had entrepreneural ideas and wanted to start our own business. We had abundant goose berries (not the big round ones..these were the small indented Amlas) in the garden and both of us picked them from the ground and took it out near the gate and made piles of those on a neatly spread towel :) we have experience going to fish markets with our ppl and so know how to haggle :) . Believe me...our first venture was a utter flop as not a soul came to buy them...it was our neighbour's ( who happens to be my grandpa's brother) gardener Kannan..again someone whom we know rt from our birth ...who bought some taking pity on us. Later as the sun went up , we gave up, putting our failure down to bad location and donated all the gooseberries to Kannan and closed our business..atleast we had'nt invested much :P
This was the time when we were into games like 7 stones , 5 stones , Paandi (Hopscotch) and lots of games with little shells ( cowrie shells). Evenings would be marked with grandpa taking us to the beach and we would fly kites there.....the kite vendor had to pull the kite up...but later we got the hang of it...and its such a pleasure to do it in the beach even now :)
There was another adventure..where we'd go flower picking :) We used to love 'Magizham poo' I just dont know what its called in English....its a light brown...tiny flower that blooms in a huge tree and it has a natural bore in the center so that it can be threaded and worn as a string. Oh ! Its fragrance is heavenly...in Chennai you can see that tree in woodlands drive-in restaurant right across the the parking lot, adjacent to the play area. Its one huge big tree and luckily the ground below is paved so its easy to pick flowers there :P
L and I used to go to the third house from ours and there were two huge trees there...while we were picking flowers from the pavement...the aunty from the house invited us to pick from inside the house too :P That house had all those fancy accessories like fountains. We gladly obliged and got ourselves wet by going near the fountains and were so happy to come back home and thread the flowers. But it was not a happy ending ...that aunty had to call my grandma praising (?) our flower picking skills and u know what happened after that :(
Then came the phase of moms putting us in several summer classes...out of all the classes I attended , I only learnt swimming and fell for it hook ,line and sinker (literally) :P
Later during teens we were more into reading , watching movies and learning driving . Most of the time we would be together doing our girly girly talks.
My grandpa used to take us fishing regularly...on retrospect I think its to make us help him with winding the reel ... with the knots and run general errands :)
But small games were fun and we have caught little fishes ( koduva) . Sometimes those were used as baits for big games . Big games were nothing but a big bore where u cast the line and wait , wait and wait for the baracuda to come and bite :P
When I was around fifteen my mom wanted me to learn sewing and type-writing...and at the end of two months I had one crooked hanky and a trapezium shaped pillow case to talk of my sewing skills . As for typewriting , I could flawlessly type asdfgf ;lkjhj while use the correct fingers at the same time :))
But our summer vacations had generous sprinklings of card games (rummy) , cycling , visits and travelling :)
I think more than anything its the innocence that really made us enjoy those vacations...no exotic holidays, foreign travels or luxury cruises can bring back those times and that happiness.
Thank you very much Bala...for making me take a trip down memory lane to those wonderful times :)
Ravi , Pegasus , Just Words , Adiya , Harish , Syam (Natamai) and KK !
Would you like to write a post about ur childhood summer vacations ?
It's fun , I promise !!! :)