As I remember from my childhood; summer vacations – a nearly 2 month long break from school was the most awaited time of the year for both us kids and the parents. The Delhi summers can be cruel on kids, waking up a little later than usual, spending few leisurely minutes extra under the shower, playing odd hours, and digging into mango’s and melons that’s what we remember as “Summer Vacations”. At best we would go to our nani’s house ( Maternal – grandma’s) which would be like a hub at this time of the year for all the cousins to together. Accommodating so many of us was not always easy, but the mere fact that we were all under one roof was exciting enough to over-look sleeping on mattresses rolled out in the living room.
We had the craziest vacations ever (atleast we believed that always) with our mama’s and masi’s (uncle’s and aunt’s) and kids almost all ages. Their was always this inevitable boys v/s girls match for almost everything … like everything
Oh and those scary folklore and horror stories that the grown ups would narrate with all the dramatics once the lights were turned out… was the high point of the vacations. We knew we would be scared and their would be a lot of screaming and screeching but we still looked forward to those scary stories. We knew we wouldn’t go to the toilet unaccompanied all night … still we wanted to know who that lady in white was standing outside the graveyard or how the clock started working backwards…
The boys always coming out of corners to freak out the girls and oh what sadistic pleasures they got out of watching them run for their lives .. hahaha it’s all etched in my memory like a movie playing at a big screen. The pampering that we got from our nani was beyond any pleasure in the world. She would carefully select dishes each day to ensure she has included atleast one favourite for each of her grand children.
The small pocket money each one of us would get, was a small incentive from our nana ( maternal grand father) so atlest we’d wake-up before he leaves for the day. Rs.5 everyday to each one of us. The foodie would rush to the juice stall or the ice cream cart. The gamer would go spend it on a slot machine playing tekkin and smash down, and then their were the girls who would collect the money very diligently and then purchase a game or lots of candies. A trail of followers and snatchers through the house – through the day. And the family game of lotto to add to our saving, the hoots and the boogie calls at the end of the day . It was always chaotic, but my grandparents wouldn’t have it any other way.
…And then we grew-up; had kids. Vacations are a challenge now. It gives me sleepless nights to work our the intricate details for trotting a new global holiday destination. Their are no lazy mornings or leisurely showers or hut-tub baths. We wake up to the morning alarm from the hotel staff and rush-rush-rush all day to explore gorgeous new cites in the world. I am not complaining, trust me if I had a choice i’d travel the globe already once by now and be set to explore it yet again. But it’s the pressure that the society puts on the parents that puts me off. Suddenly holidays are about who is going where, for how many days, with whom, staying where, which flight has been booked & it has to be reported on a daily basis to authenticate weather you are really enjoying your holiday or not; by constantly posting pictures and streaming online videos.
By profession I am a marketer I know we built social media in a way to get everyone hooked on to it forever. But in general I miss the privacy, I miss the simplicity, I miss the innocence. The giggles have been replaced by pouts, the cheers have been replaced by mug shots, the selfie stick has taken over the family photos and the relaxation has been overhauled by this desperate need to constantly be within WiFi coverage area to be able to upload the pictures. We hashtag food pictures as #foodporn but we forget to savour the flavors while the dishes are served hot. And if this is not enough the school project is also based on what you did on your vacations this summers. We are catching them young – we are getting them glued on to talk about holidays and extravagant spending – we are training them to talk about what people want to hear and accept rather than feel and enjoy the small yet very important pleasures of life.
Travel is beautiful. It is the true medium of learning.
The right exposure at a young age can shape up the personalities of growing up children beautifully. Let travel be uninhabited. Let their be no strings attached. Free us all of the pressure to justify our holidays to each other.
Just so you know how crazy it must have been i’ll tell you – we were 9 children and 7 adults and the house was really a chatter house with extended family dropping in like hot potatoes. Summer vacations as I remember used to be about meeting family and friends and relaxing. It wasn’t as competitive as today. It wasn’t about #Facebook or #Instagram. I might have few pictures of our childhood but none are online. Being a mom and growing up in a joint family I know I had more fun.