It all used to start off the day we went to school for collecting my final report card. Then along with a yellow sheet full of ticks and marks, the teacher would attach a list of books for the next class. Did I care about the list then? What do you think J? For me the list would be forgotten during the all too short eight weeks of summer holidays. The scorching hot afternoons scented damp by desert coolers, the balmy evenings spent watering the plants in our backyard, watching clods of soil soak up water and decompose in effervescent bliss? taking my dogs out for walks all over the school campus where we stayed? and endless games of monopoly and Ludo? the holidays could not have seemed shorter and more inadequate !
Then one fine day? around the first week of July every year, standing tall in the front of the scooter, I would lead my parents to the local bookshop. I guess we bought stuff from the same bookshop every year, for me as well as my brother.
And as I would peep over the counter, the uncle at the shop would haul over a readymade set of books,? Class 4 Na, Colvin College???. And suddenly, I could not wait to get back home.
Its not that I was in love with all my books, I mean who wants to look at yet another book on arithmetic, or science, or grammar !! It was the literature books which I could not wait to read from cover to cover. I still feel that some of the finest stories I have read were found in my text books, Hindi and English. The Radiant Readers, Gulmohars and Hindi Sahitya Shrinkhalas? But I guess, the opinion could be just mine?
And finally, one afternoon, my mother would dump a large pile of books and notebooks on the carpet, and the entire family would be busy for the next couple of hours, covering the books with brown paper and sticky labels. Guess it was a scene repeated in every home with kids at school? the entire family sitting in a circle, the hum of a cooler and snips of scissors punctuating requests for passing the tube of glue, or a label, or a fresh roll of brown paper. There was always a dispute between my and my brother, about which labels were meant for whom.
Eventually, on a (usually) wet July morning, I would find myself standing in front of the school gate, suitably attired in the school blue, smelling of shoe polish and boroline, hair neat parted and a shining new water bottle in hand, weighed down by my school bag but excited on seeing so many of my friends at once.
The first day of school after vacations?.the welcome address in the morning assembly, the choir singing ?Vande Mataram?, the sequential reciting of names in the class, a new class teacher, a new time table, a new class room and the same mad rush for the gates when the final bell rang?
When the focal point of the day would be a plastic toy one got free with Binaca toothpaste, and a relaxed evening would involve playing hopscotch with the local gang till the time our mothers threatened violence?.
When a trip to the market meant excitement and a toffee was something you saved money to buy? I guess all of us are some distance away from it all.
Let me get back to my work now ?..
Comments from the past:
29 Mar 2007, 3:37pm
Hey really gud one and it?s very true. This happens in every summer vacation in every house:)
29 Mar 2007, 4:34pm
It can’t be any different for me also:)
29 Mar 2007, 5:30pm
Its the story of my life too :)…Seems like u wrote about me..lol. But what amazes me is how you could bring it all out from the back of your mind and like an artist with his brush,bring back all those memories, as if it happened yesterday—Refreshingly fresh!!! lol (please don’t kill me for my garmmar,Literature Champ) 😉
29 Mar 2007, 7:26pm
Ah! Got too nostalgic ….At once made me remind my summer vacations…Wondered how could it be the exactly same everywhere(aftr reading the fellow-comments). Reading all the literature books, non-details(donno wat u call it) and enjoying the class when u know all the suspense at the end 🙂 Lol
30 Mar 2007, 10:31am
same feelings here 🙂
31 Mar 2007, 3:40pm
Am nostalgic!! i loved those days & we are really far away from those days now…
Its really written well!!