Today morning, while I was getting ready for office, I realised how much I missed my childhood, how much I missed those lazy days.
Before you start shaking your head in disagreement let me say that I do spend some days lazing around even now, but those days were different. I guess it’s because I didn’t have a care in the world or I just couldn’t be bothered to worry about my studies, examinations, future, etc.. The two vivid ‘types of lazy days’ I could remember were the ones I spent at my grandparents’.
I lived in Faridabad for 10 long years while I was in school. The maternal side of my family is huge (my nani had 10 brothers and sisters) and resides either in Delhi or ‘phoren’. Every weekend, or maybe every second weekend, we would go to my nani’s house (also my maamu’s, not to forget). The day would typically start with us getting ready and leaving our house by about 9:30 am. Once we reached, the first hour or so would be spent chatting with nani, asking her how she was and what she had done all week. Usually, she’d be reading her newspaper while we talked to her. After that, we would spend time with our cousin Aakansha (Akku, as we called her), either chatting, watching TV or playing some game. Those were glory days spent without the lure of Facebook, a laptop or even a computer (used but very rarely). But, the part I enjoyed most was playing with Akku’s Lego blocks. I loved Lego, plain and simple loved it, still do. I can never forget the time I spent scouring the set’s manuals for advanced models that I would then attempt to make. I can very proudly say that I was pretty good at it, though I must’ve angered both my ‘younger’ sisters (Atishi-my real sister and Akku) by stealing a majority of the blocks. The joy that I used to get mak….(deliberately left, to reflect my train of thought)….Oh, another very very enjoyable experience during those days was listening to audio books. My maamu, during his stay in the UK, had bought a large collection of children’s audio books. Though vaguely, I remember there was one in particular that I used to love – it was about a plane and his adventures. The tapes were brilliantly narrated and I never felt the lack of the written word. All this while, my mother would be whipping something up for lunch which we all would gorge on. The best part about these lunches was that we would often sit outside in the back verandah under the sun to enjoy the meal. If it was the winter season, all the better. Somehow, I have never forgotten those weekends spent at my nani’s. In past years, those days have not been replicated. Maybe, it’s because we thought we’d outgrown it. Now, I tell myself never ever to think like that for anything.
The other grandparents’ house was also a treat. My paternal grandparents lived in Nabha, my dadi and tau still do. The most memorable trips to Nabha were our summer trips. Every summer (I say every summer but I don’t really know if it was every summer, definitely more than 1), the 6 cousins would gather there to spend the summer vacations together, without the parents!! I have never been good at matching my clothes, choosing which t-shirt/shirt to wear with jeans/trousers. I blame the Nabha trips for that. Our clothes for Nabha would be packed in such a way as to bundle a t-shirt and a pair of shorts (yes, we wore shorts then) together so that we would make no mistake. The days there would be spent watching TV, eating, playing cricket, other silly games and (believe it or not) doing holiday homework. Actually, the holiday homework bit was only because of my bua’s kids. Saahil bhai and Salonee were always the cousins who studied the most. Somehow, them doing their homework would prompt us into doing ours too. Cricket, the country’s biggest obsession, was our most popular game. Arjun and Akhil (my tauji’s sons) were cricket-fanatics and it was always fun playing with the 3 of them, whatever time of the day. We would play cricket either in the front verandah or in the rather-long driveway. The front verandah was off-limits when dada’s consultations hours were going on. The driveway was the place to be then. 4 enthusiastic boys, 3 reluctant ‘helpers’, dada and occasionally his patients (bullied into playing by my dada himself) would convert the driveway into a cricket ground more hallowed than even Lord’s. The simple pleasures of life were thoroughly enjoyed during these days – shadow boxing with dada (who always said that I was Mohammed Ali), milk in the morning and evening, breakfast, lunch and dinner on the huge dining table, watching TV spread out on the bed, sofas and whatever place one could find in my tau’s room. In subsequent years, we have gone to Nabha countless times, but rarely have the 6 of us been together (new year’10 was great fun;). So when you think about it, those days were the best that I spent in Nabha.
As I write this, I’m wondering why I thought of all this. I am at the fag end of a 3-month summer vacation/internship ;). 3 months that I have spent living in a foreign land, yet with my family. The experience has been a mixture of old and new, and maybe I want to cling on to the old. Anyway, all of these are just random ramblings. Hope you liked them 🙂