Recently, a friend of mine, who is still in college, asked me if I'd get a couple of days off this summer.
And just like that, the realization hit me.
This would be my first year in the 'adult' world, and well, it offers NO summer holidays.
For the first time in my life, I won't get any summer holidays.
Clearly, this means I'm not a kid anymore! But what have we adults done to not get a whole month off? If anything, I was raised on the steady motivation of 'Abhi padhai kar lo, bade ho kar mazze karna.' And well, I'm not having any fun yet.
This is when nostalgia hit me hard.
As kids, we'd start waiting for summer holidays to roll around even before the session started. The moment May arrived, we'd start our countdown to a whole month of freedom. We all had our own bunch of plans to make our summer a rather happening one. While a lucky few would visit a rather commercial hill station with family, most of us would end up at naani's ghar.
Taking a trip to another city would always be a good experience for us kids and a nightmare for the parents. But even they can't help but narrate how mischievous we used to be until adulthood got to us. From running after monkeys to throwing ice-cream at each other, summer holidays really brought out the wild side of siblings. We knew we could step out of the role of disciplined school students and be carefree kids.
Going to naani's house was always something I looked forward to. Meeting cousins after a whole year of separation, filling each other in on the developments of crushes and just watching TV with them felt like such an adventure. And the jar of pickle that my naani would prepare still makes my mouth water! She would prepare it just the way my mom liked it. Clearly, my naani longed for my summer holidays just as much as I did.
She would spoil us with ghar ka khaana, aam panna and home-made ice-cream. Maama and maami would take us out to adventure parks and movies. And my cousins and I would make promises to stay in touch when the time came to leave.
We're all grown ups now with different lives in different cities. My naani still craves for the same summer holidays where she would get to see us all. Frankly, so do I.
Now, as my family requests me to free up some time for a vacation, I almost feel guilty for having grown up too soon.
Turns out, our parents waited for summer holidays just as much as we did because it was the time when we could finally spend quality time together. It was also the time when they could enroll us for fancy summer camps.
God knows how many activities my parents enrolled me for during summer holidays.
Painting, acting, dancing, writing, singing and even Vedic math classes were just some of the things I learnt during my summer holidays. It is these skills that cultivated my creative side. And how can I forget the ultimate life-saving skill that most of us learn only during summer holidays: swimming!
It has been years since I went for a swim and I might be growing professionally every single day but I don't get the opportunity to pursue any other activities. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. But it would be nice to try out something different for a month and come back refreshed. After all, we all tend to perform better after taking a break and recuperating from our routine.
Isn't that exactly what happened even during summer holidays? We'd all go for summer camps, learn new things, gain new experiences and then look forward to sharing camp stories with our school friends. Some of us found our first love while camping, others found the pleasure of deep conversation with peers.
Summer holidays gave us stories that we could narrate till the end of time.
Working all year round has already worn me out and I'm wondering how adults keep up this routine without any proper breaks. With reduced family time, no hobbies to cultivate and a tiring routine, I wish to travel back in time when the concept of summer holidays still existed for me.