‘Summer’ is the hardest season to survive in the Indian subcontinent. The scorching heat, sweat trickling down your spine, those occasional heat waves almost make me think now that this season should never exist… well almost! Because Summer means much more than that!
Summer means vacations spent on my Aunt’s small countryside house; crisp, unpolluted countryside air! Summer means cousins, coups carried out to get away from the elder’s condescending eyes and go out in the afternoon. The conspiracies, secrets, catching up with each others lives.
Summer means pelting Badam, Guava, and Mango trees with sling shots and enjoying the fruits of all our hard work – some ripe, some still raw.
Summer means playing Hide and Seek, Blindfold, Tag and many more games I’m sure my kid will never get a chance to play. It means playing cards till 2 am and getting thrown out for it, then making our beds on the terrace and sleeping under the roof of endless skies with stars shining down on us.
Summer means sneaking away in afternoon to play cricket or watch a movie, and trying hard not to get caught by the Aunt. And when you do get caught, making the best ‘Cat ate the canary’ face.
Summer means the smell of ripe mango, the numbness a Popsicle would temporarily give to the tongue, and it also means all fried things you wouldn’t get on normal school days. Watermelons, Ice Creams, Kulfies and Rasna, Roohafza. It means prickly heat rash and Nycil.
Summer means the time when cousins were not cousins, they were simply brothers and sisters from the extended family with whom we shared the deepest secrets and desires, made plans for the future and believed that we will never grow apart from them.
Summer means ghost stories, sneaking up to climb abandoned old forts despite of the scary tales surrounding it, hoping – only partly – that we don’t encounter anything scary, and when we didn’t – feeling disappointed that, after all it was not haunted. It also means making toilet trips at night in pairs, just in case if we encounter anything scary in our own not so haunted house.
Summer means watching movies (that are not pirated) on VCR’s. It means listening to songs on taped cassettes(official released cassettes, not downloaded from torrent). That was a time when pirates were limited to ocean.
Summer means the time when landline telephones seldom had caller ids, and we could freely play pranks without the risk of getting caught. It also means originating and spreading all kind of spooky rumors to scare the younger lot of our gang.
Summer was the season we used to wait for, not caring about the heat or sweat. It was the season of togetherness. Summer was the reason we have so much fun memories. It’s the time which made our bond stronger, showed us that sharing and caring is important, demonstrated that if you fall it hurts, but if your younger sibling falls it hurts more. It’s the time that has taken roots in my mind and whenever one memory comes up, it resonates through the heart and stirs up all the other memories.
Summer means all of this and much more. This six letter word, if I tried to explain fully, would take more that 6 pages, or 60 (or maybe 600, you never know!) And still I wouldn’t capture it fully.
And that’s why,when summer approaches, in my mind I call out – to my cousins, to my aunt and uncle, to the tiniest village where we spent most of our summer – “Hey guys, Its not summer without you.”