Prompt : August Blues
As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?
I chose to respond to this prompt because it triggered memories of childhood summers. My summer holidays – a time when “We had joy, We had fun, We had seasons in the sun!”
We went to my Gandmas place to spend the summer break and oh what fun it was! It was a old large house in a rambling courtyard. All my cousins would be home in their respective ancestral houses as we term them in Kerala. We would barely finish breakfast and assemble at the Kolam – a water body, a home pool or man made water tank with a shelter and steps leading down into it that most houses in Kerala are attached with. Not a swimming pool but one where I learnt swimming. We would frolic in the pool, play games, dive, jump and generally have fun unmindful of the scorching heat that would leave its mark on all of us. This would continue till one mother (my mom or one of my aunts) would come out to admonish us and force us to leave! Lunch would usually be a combined affair in one of the four houses. That over, the “afternoon siesta” was carroms or cards or monopoly depending on what caught our fancy that day. Ably aided and guided by my youngest Uncle we kicked up a ruckus that had must have disturbed the adults trying to get some shut-eye.
Kerala is picturesque and my village was no different. In the evenings, we would explore the various features around – from a huge rock to hillocks to just traipsing along the countryside – lush green paddy fields or barren rocky land. We had impromptu picnics with food being potluck- whatever we could forage…. from tender coconuts to jaggery and chips. I was an avid reader. Enid Blyton was a favorite and to me, these trips made me feel I was one of the Famous Five off to enjoy the summer! However no mystery ever presented itself for me to solve! The nights would see me curling up with a book well past dinner time… Bliss! No TV, no mobiles, no internet yet we were one happy bunch that looked forward to the next day of friendship and fun.
However enjoyable the summer holidays were, I had no problems returning to school. I did my entire schooling in Goa. School was fun place as far as I was concerned. Academics came easy to me, I had friends and in general I have very happy memories of school. I was a chatter box, so I had teachers pointing it out sometimes but nothing more strenuous than that. Annual days, joint whist drives with the neighboring “Boys school”, annual picnics, being on the student council, taking part in the Annual days, the School farewell – they are all happy memories. I went back after 30 years and what fun it was yakking away with the friends who had all grown up! Goa was a lovely place to be and Goans wonderful people to be with and that was possibly another reason why school was more fun than stress. Thank you, Goa.
So no August Blues there!
As an adult I try to create a happy world for my family. We love traveling and make small trips to explore Incredible India from the mountains of Kullu Manali to the backwaters of Kerala, as the adage goes- from Kashmir to Kanyakumari! I listen to the music my kids listen to. We catch a movie that they want to see and try to see the movie from their point of view. The world today has changed. The simple pleasures of life have given way to more complex ones , but if that is what they like , so be it. I learnt to be tech savvy to understand their world and ended up liking it a lot myself. There are less of books in their world and that worries me at times. That said, words are still a part of their world, so what if they are electronic – so that’s ok, I guess.Serving in the Army takes one to the remotest corners of this beautiful diverse-but-united country. And we spare no opportunity to use the summer hols to see a new place. Autumn is an ill-defined season in South India and summer is followed by monsoons and Kerala is at her lushest, loveliest best in the monsoons!
In general, summer continues to be fun and a time to creating memories together.
So, no August blues now either!