Some of the fondest memories everyone possesses is of care-free, formative days of childhood. The initial years are perhaps the most pivotal years of an individual as it ends up dictating the value system and the thought processes for the rest of a child’s life. No matter where you are, the background you belong to or yoursocial/economic privileges, an individual’s journey is something that remains his/her own. Not the accomplishments or accolades. Like a sponge, a child’s mind embraces every little experience it encounters. The experiences in the form of memories end up dictating a child’s tastes, preferences, character, principles and that way its life itself. And how wonderful is that!
Most of the year in a child’s life is spent in School, the times that are mostly forgotten. Theacademic year gets its share of holidays in India, like the Dasara Holidays(Navratri – literally nine nights, a 10 day elaborate festival dedicated tomother goddess), and then the Christmas/New Year holidays. But what follows the academic year is what every school going child is thrilled about! The summer holidays in India. As implied in the name, these holidays span over an expansive 60 days within the summer season of India. While, the holidays within the academic year happen to carry some or the other “homework” baggage, the summer holidays are “homework” less. Thus, genuinely free for a child where he considered himself the master of his life!
The summers are basically the times when children have plenty of time at their hands. And if a child is lucky, it would spend its time amidst nature, grandparents, away from technology and even the complexities brought by the electricity! Summers, as mentioned in our earlier blogs are marked by harvesting fruits of the nature such as delicious mangoes, sumptuous jackfruits, home grown vegetables, spices and much more!
Grandmothers often welcome grandchildren with local delicacies from produce grown and harvested in the household tropical kitchen gardens, grandfathers showing a trick or two about gardening, the temple visits in the evenings and after a sumptuous dinner, fall asleep listening to the stories from Indian mythology while a table fan whirred endlessly to the tunes of crickets and croaking frogs, with a faint hint of petrichor and night jasmine in the night breeze.
The role of grandparentsis described beautifully in Indian scriptures as the one that provided the guidanceto their grandchildren’s lives through their own life experiences, imparting lessons of great virtues, moral and cultural values often through their own life lessons on relationships and then some through legends from Indian mythology and history. And then you had cousins who would make you toys out of locally available firewood, bottles and ropes made of jute. Perhaps, the first lessons into upcycling the waste and reusing them in a child’s life.
And then when it is time to say goodbye at the end of the vacation, the child would feel a great sense of sorrow, having to say goodbye to his grandparents for now. What followed was the journey to returning to the days of school again, wherein a week before the school reopening would often mark with refreshing and revising curricular lessons from the bygone grade. Softening the blow were the new school supplies, from uniforms to books to pencils to textbooks with elaborate illustrations in them!
It is always a struggle for a school going child to get accustomed to the school routine again but as is the case with human nature, the child would get used to it. And then you had friends to be with you, share the little moments of joy, backing you up when needed and cherishing little moments of absolute bliss – like the tropical rains, candies from little shops which one would find right next to the school, or the team efforts that went into creating assigned projects.
As a generation, we were perhaps the ones that held the beacons of hope for our families and the entire nation that was working towards finding its footing in the global stage, working hard to fix our problems. Endowed with acceptable education with skill sets, aspirations, dreams and skills to make itbig! One aspect worth noticing was the fact that the very generation belonged to an era that was on the cusp of breaking big technologically, where our childhoods were less of technology and more of human relationships, culture,nature and a whole lot of dreams that appeared to be light-years from realization.
As humans, we have a remarkable tendency to remember the most beautiful memories and forgive and let go of the bad ones. In everyone’s life, there comes a time when one would often remember the best moments in associations and relationships even if it ended badly. Overtime, all that remains are the best moments. And in the end when only memories are left, like in the movies, they play in our minds, an entire life flashing before our eyes as we took our last breath, and I personally wonder what those chosen images might be?
Perhaps the best ones, like the first bite of a humble snack you had shared with your school friends, like the time when you had laughed till it hurt your stomach with your buddies, the little fights and moments of reconciliation, the taste of tears and moments of humility brought upon by a grand life. Reminding you that you are a reality, you have moved, changed, touched, emoted and then when it was time – let go. A memory of a grandeur that is life!