Though the results are yet to come, I am practically a graduate now. Some of my classmates have already started looking for jobs and internships. But I have decided to take a month’s break and spend some quality time with my family.
Summer vacations have always been a great time for me. The current vacation is no different. After going through the rush and chaos of Mumbai life, it feels great to be in the environs of my native place. As I sit beside the window, facing the breeze and writing this article, I am reminiscing about the good old days, the days of my childhood.
There used to be a certain charm to the summer vacations then. In those days, there was no TV. The only thing that we had to pass the time was games, indoor and outdoor. The house used to be full with my cousins. There used to be a couple of children visiting our neighbours. They would also join us. We all used to gather at one place and then make the plans.
My native place is a small village in the Thane district in Maharashtra, India. It has all the traits of a typical village; tiled houses, non-concrete roads, long stretches of farm-land, etc. My house had a backyard and a front-yard, like a typical house in a village. Front-yard used to be our playground. Evening was the time when this playground used to come to life.
During this time of the year, there is intense heat in the afternoon. Hence, we used to play indoor games in the noon. Most of the times, it used to be cards. We would also play Snakes and Ladders, Chess, and once in a while the classic Antakshari (We used to call it ‘bhendya’. Bhendya used to be of all kinds, of songs, names, places, etc.).
But the real fun used to be in the evening. We had some really quirky outdoor games. My favorite was ‘Khamb Khamb Khambolya’. In this game, everybody has to stand in contact with a (wooden) pole. But if someone shifts her position and comes to your pole, you have to move immediately to some other pole without getting caught. The person having the ‘reign’ has to capture the players on the move. It used to be a very fun game. We would also play classic games such as Lagori, Hide and Seek, and Tag, etc.
Summer is also the season of mangoes, berries and java plums. We used to wander all around collecting these fruits. Some of the trees used to be guarded. At such time, we would metamorphose into little thieves and steal the fruits. But the real fun used to be in climbing the hill, adjacent to our village. There was a very big stone converted into a deity at the top. We used to go there and take its darshan. We would get a very nice view of the neighborhood from there.
But sadly the times have changed now. Our village has also changed with time. Every household has a TV these days. The hills are not green anymore. Most of the birds, including the ubiquitous sparrow and its nest, have disappeared. And along with the extinct sparrow, our childhoods have also disappeared somewhere!