Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The very thought of no school, no studies, brings an unsaid joy onto any kid's mind and in my school days I was no different. The last day of final exams was like the ultimate D-day. The first thing I remember doing was to get back home and put tick marks with a red pen on all my notebooks with "Good", "Neat", "V.Good" remarks.
During my primary schooling, I was out of India along with my parents and during then, we had 3 long months of summer vacation and this time was when we made our annual trips to India and these trips meant fun, fun and only fun. We would be pampered to the core. And going back we had the loads of goodies to take.During one such trip, we made a big tour of Tamilnadu. It was more like a truck van with the tarpolein cover. My uncle made seats at the back and other than that, it was mostly mats and beds. We went till Kanyakumari starting from Madras and covering a whole lot of places inbetween.
Another place which we used to often take retreat was Chidambaram. I know summer in Chidambaram is not a good idea but the load of fun that was in store did not deter us even a bit. The excitement started the moment you got down at the kanji thotti bus stop. What else? A horse cart ride!
The house we headed to was the the ever charming - tiled roof (oattu veedu) type with a centre courtyard. Cooking was done by sitting on the floor. The toilets were outside the house. You had to draw water from well, no pumps or taps (again, an indication how exercise inter-twines with daily chores in villages). But the best of all was the huge swing in the neighbour's house and we were a big cousins' lot and the neighbours were kind enough to let us in all the time. This was the typical traditional oonjal with a wide and long teak plank hung with metal chains. We would look foward to touch the ceiling everytime and few years down the line, we realised there was another version which is the kappal raatinam. In this the chain are criss-crossed and the oonjal swings sideways as against the normal front and back motion. This was just too thrilling and ultimate. The plank would literally touch the ceiling with a jerk leading to shreiks and screams.
Another best thing here was the kuchchi icecream. The little ice factory was not far off from the house and fresh ice was made at around 3 pm and so we would all gather at 3 and our aunt would lead us all with a big ever-silver bowl. Grape ice, orange ice, semiya ice, rose milk ice, paal ice... yummy. The rose milk flavour sticks came in trainglular shapes, the orange ones the normal shape. I liked the kuchi paal ice the best, which came in a thin cylindrical shape. All the big ones used to be wrapped in short butter papers. Probably the manufucturing methodology was hygienic, thats why we had no problem even after eating them day after day. Costing just about 25 or 50 p, each would grab atleast 2 and slurping, licking all the way back home :)
Is a trip to Chidambaram complete without visiting the Natarajar temple? We would head to the temple just an running errands especially during night times. We felt the temple was our second home and not to miss the puliyodharai and sakkarai pongal served hot on lotus leaves at the Lakshmi sannidhi. The sound of the huge bells during the kala poojais cause goose pimples and transforms you to another divine eternal world.
The best of all during summer vacations would be the regular days at Madras. Being in Besant Nagar, it meant a daily evening trip to the Elliot's beach and getting drenched and coming back with loads of sands in pockets. And in the day time, all the indoor games would come out - trade, monopoly, scrabble, carrom and cards. Almost the whole street would ensemble in our house. We had to use 3 card packs to play Rummy.
I could just go on and on with summer vacation but I have listed just the instant few which flashed right away on reading Sree's posts. Thanks Sree for helping me take a ride down memory lane (yet again!).
Thinking of all those now, I can only envy the school kids. I wish if offices also follow suit and declare a month long, okay-let me not be too greedy, maybe atleast a week!