During my schooldays, by the time our Summer holidays started, a month of fun and frolic would have been over for my friends studying in other schools with State syllabus. When their exams got over, our school (Kendriya Vidyalaya) would still be completing the last chapters or would have just begun ‘Revisions’!
Now by the time our exams started, there would be complete chaos opposite my house, where the matches would be played or the sittings and discussions would take place – in short, opposite my house was our ADDA.
Mine being an old and small house with a huge empty space in front, which ever place you shifted base to study, it made no difference as I could hear the score after each ball. This was all the more frustrating because only my body would be in the house while my mind was on the street – I would be under ‘house arrest’, made to study forcefully! In this atmosphere, I would be made to spend one whole week. In the morning, while going for the exam, they would be playing. While coming back from the exam, I would see them pouring water over the head and still playing. Until 7 in the evening, they would be cheering and booing each other. Then they would sit till 8pm and only then go home. It was sheer torture to sit and TRY to STUDY while the main action was happening elsewhere. I was not allowed to see my favourite CHITRAMANJARI on Thursday. I prayed god (not for my exams) but for the only reason that no Rajkumar movie should be telecast on Saturday till my exams finished!
By the last day of my exam, I would have been tamed by the four letter word – EXAM. But just as we came out of the school gate, we would enjoy the 10 paise Guava, 25 paise Joy Ice Cream stick, throw stones at the Mango tree in the opposite house and eat one or two and hit each other with the rest, buy pickles from Krishna Stores or GK Stores opposite the bus stand…. Wow! We would act as if we had really achieved something great by studying, attending, writing and coming out of the exam hall intact, in a single piece!
This thought in mind, someone would suggest we ought to treat ourselves with Veg Sandwich at the nearby JB Bakery. That would be 75 paise for a double sandwich. We would have a by-two! The assistant boy whom we all knew quite well, would be more than happy to give us hot sandwiches and Dil Pasand, just out of the oven. I would suddenly feel an urge to have a Masale Dose at Agarwal Bhavan, diagonally opposite our school back gate. But sipping a Torino, I would literally feel ‘fullfilled’ in life!
We would walk near the Sankey bridge after playing some cricket inside the school – the exam pad acting as the bat. After the exams, our mind would remember just two dates – the day of the results (usually May 2nd or 3rd) and the reopening day (usually June 26th or 27th). To complete the final rites, we would bid adieu to our close friends, while tearing the exam sheets into pieces and throwing them on our year-long rivals, who would be chased out of the school front gate, only to be seen hiding near the back gate!
Back home, we would behave like KINGS! “I want Thums Up”. “I want to watch TV from start till the end”. “I want to see Rajkumar’s film in Geethanjali TODAY ITSELF, and again tomorrow!”. “I want to go to Janatha Hotel”…
On the day of the result, we would again see our classmates. Our Princi would tell us to read useful books and do some projects during summer holidays and then announce the reopening date. He would mention a couple of names and everybody would clap till the said persons would come on stage and shake hands with the Princi. Our class teachers would distribute the Report Cards (one year Pink, the other year Yellow, or Light Green or Blue) While some of us would get a stern look while receiving the Report Card, some others got a ‘Keepi tappppp’ or just ‘Gooooooood’!
Mother would start making my favourite Kobri Mithai once the results would be announced at home. She would be able to see the marks card only by late evening, when she would be slightly free after entertaining several visitors while cooking, serving and also making sweets. She would wipe her hands dry and hold it so very delicately and read every letter on the marks sheet. She would give the sweets after telling me to do better the coming year. I would say a quick “Yes, Yes” and would be more bothered to eat the sweet!
Although I never attended any Summer camp all my life, Summer would simply fly! Me and my friends would have loads of activity lined up, when we were not wielding the willow. If we got bored with Cricket, we would switch to any of these -Hide and Seek, Lagori, Soor Chand, Kings, Ghost stories, Gate-Gate or Tree-Tree, Tennis (using palms) – lines drawn using a brick piece on the road… There would be doubles games also while playing Tennis. Some of the smashes would take the ball down to the edge of the road or to the empty site full of parthenium plants. There was also a game where we would shout, “Crocodile Crocodile, which co-lo-r dooo youuuu choose?”
When some friends would go out of station, then our dear Ajji would always pitch in by playing Chowka Bhara or Pagade with us. I have never understood how to play Ali Guli Mane – too complicated! Always had this notion that only girls were better at it.
Mango smell and mango dishes would over power you during summer. Manvinakayi Chitranna, Mavinahannu Gojju, Mavinahannu Seekarne, Mavinakayi Uppinakayi, Mavinakayi Chutney… and apart from these, just eating the raw mangoes with chilli powder or ripe mangoes till the ‘Vaate’ was bald and white was sheer fun with my cousins, who would loyally visit us every summer!
Overnight, our house would become the destination for Carrom or Chess matches. These games were, to begin with, not in my favour, as all elders would say “you are young, we’ll take you in the next match”… and that never happened. Sometimes, I felt like getting rid of the Carrom or Chess board!
Rains would have started, thus bringing end to Summer. And my friends would have already finished a month of schooling, as their classes would have begun by May end itself. I would still be absolutely unaware that it was a week into June!
Suddenly, I would have a desire to buy a new bat. I would wait for months for my father to fulfill this wish. My father would one fine day make a bat himself using some old wooden plank. An old cycle tube would be the ‘grip’! I would play with it only inside my compound, not very happy to take it out for the matches on the street, where branded SG bats would be in demand. [Only once did my father buy me a bat from a shop in Malleswaram. My misfortune that the handle and the blade got separated a week later! It would be back to the old bat.]
Rubber ball – Magenta or Red or Blue, with an ASIAD APPU logo printed on a yellow patch would be bought for two rupees from Popular Stores. Tennis ball was a rarity. Still don’t know how much one costed then (in the early and mid ’80s)! Would ask my uncle in the US to get used tennis balls when he visited. That itself was a luxury.
Having lived in a dream world for over two months, I would one day see my father dusting my old school bag – the military type – yellow color with two pockets at the front and two buckles which had sharp metal edges. I would ask him – “Can I get a new bag this year at least?” He would look at the bag once again and reply, “This bag can last till your college… and if you keep it properly, even your son can use it!”
That was enough to bring you back to this world. And that meant it was time for school!
Will be fun if you could share your Summer Holidays flashback with me!