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April..May...Summer...Kids...Camps

Its April-May now...Blistering sun draining out your energy as you waddle your way through the maddening Bangalore traffic in the "peak" hours....Overhead fans gushing out a whirl of hot air in the nights not allowing you to sleep...The irritating and frequent power cuts in an attempt to save power (more irritating to those who cannot afford the inverters)....SPF Sun Lotions and amla hair cremes in a desperate attempt to protect the skin and hair from getting damaged any further...Shopping malls offering summer sales offers to entice the fat-pocketed Bangaloreans to spend their last penny..and Last but not the least....quenching elani (tender coconut) with their nonpareil vazhukkai seen in almost every road (another of nature's balanced equations)..This is the typical Bangalore summer (I know you wouldn't have guessed that I'm at Bangalore until now) to a quarter-aged working (eligible ;) woman like me...

I was trying to time-travel back to my childhood as is my wont (I only wish time-traveling becomes a reality during my lifetime..)..April-May of the 90s..when I was in say class 6 or class 7 or class 8. Oh...How much I yearned for the April-May holidays then....how I wrapped up the last exam with not a single worry about how I did it....threw up the paper pad and empty bag in air once I reached home.....ate..slept and began my April-May journey with a bang....

I didn't live in a flat...I still had so many friends around me...girls with whom I played hide and seek, shuttle, cricket (We played typical Indian cricket - no running...just batting, bowling from the same spot), fought, called names, cried and smiled with, there were a few boys too who joined us when most of their companions had ditched them to go to a friend's or a relative's place..Needless to say, we dominated them...We also watched the special kids movies that were featured in TV(Doordarshan)for us, read kids' magazines ...had scrap books where we cut-copied-pasted pictures from magazines and compiled our own stories...we enjoyed at least this part of holiday homework (HHW) and loathed the rest of it..(This habit of cut-copy-paste proved to be very useful after we became software engineers..My wise suggestion is to cultivate this habit early in childhood..)The same scorching sun was out there then too...but it never bothered us any more than it bothered the buffaloes on the roads.

For some vacations, we did have some summer camps conducted by schools..Summer camps were a rarity then and our parents jointly packed us off to them. We didn't know what to do in those camps, the sad part is that the teachers didn't know either. For us, it was another opportunity to spend time chatting with friends without the constant thought of books. Well, all this was for April...

Come May, I ran to my grandparents' place - Pondicherry. A new set of friends , a newer set of entertainment greeted me every year there. Paati's glorious and nutritious food, Thatha's stories, cousins ' pranks, sungarakkai (the girlie game of pebbles), cards, carom, and of course yummy mangoes....these made my days at Pondicherry. Books for the next year were distributed by the end of May and my dad dutifully collected them and reminded me of the impending troubles ahead.....Those were best days of my life.....Can you hear me singing??

Back to 2007...Well, I don't have a first-hand account of how April-May treats kids today. I don't have a kid as yet...(for I'm still not married you see ;)) . But I do get to know some second-hand information from colleagues and middle aged women who talk about the kids in the lunch sessions. In March, they live in a constant peril of how they were going to manage their kids once school closes for April-May. Most of them have maids and a few of them send their kids to day-care centres. Some of the kids go to the best summer camps, learn swimming, painting et cetera...but very rarely do they go out for vacation..My female colleagues do admit that there is no vacation for kids unless there is a vacation for the parents.

I'm not exactly cribbing or blaming...we'll have to change with times, and if you are a regular reader of my blog, by now you know what I would call this kind of phenomenon - its metamorphosis of the times...My parents used to crib that children of my age didn't have the kind of vacation they had....we will continue doing that as well....

Well, treat this as yet another memoir...We do have April-May every year, but the April-May of the 90's.....

Comments

Wonderful recollection of the good old days :)
Akila said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Akila said…
This post really took me back to the good old days of childhood. Looking back it does seem like those were the golden days of my life hands down!
Akila said…
ok. Blogger is acting up. I typed up a big comment and it kept ignoring it so i decided to put it in as 2 comments. Sorry for shabbying up your comments section.
Akila said…
Yes you are absolutely right kids these days don't get to enjoy the summer vacation carefree like we used to. And looking at how many households have both the parents working its not a big surprise when the parents considers children's summer vacation a pain in (ahem)rather sensitive areas. Summer camps if not organized and done in the rite way are just means ok keeping the kids away from irritated parents.
Charu said…
"My female colleagues do admit that there is no vacation for kids unless there is a vacation for the parents."-----and why is that???

when u and i went to our grandparents place...most of the time i was sent here alone and we played with our cousins there...

anyways, visiting grandparents has to do more with the attitude of parents today and the concept of nuclear family than with having adequate time etc....if they think that it is more enjoyable to spend the summer at camps than with grandparents or otherwise... well its their idea of enjoyment and theres nothign much u cna do abt it......
Satya Das said…
yeah i seriously miss those days seems like centuries since we had those kind of vacations. though my holidays included books for the major part.
Shankar said…
parakkadha... kalyanam panni veppanga. adhukkulla kids vacation adhu idhu nu.. enna koduma saravanan
:-))

naangallam theru kodi la assemble aayiduvom. its a dead end and anga oru pillayar kovil. everything is centered around that. day-night cricket, hide-n-seek, chess, carrom.. thaaru mara irukkum.. daily-e ivlo koothu. vacation la it will be crazy!

btw, what is sungarakkai ?? Kallaangai-a?!? school la kallanga aaduvom. we guys will rout the girls in that game :-)

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