Saturday, May 19, 2012

Childhood Summers with the Sunshine gal....



Summers, sometimes they are annoying.. Annoying bcuz the scorching heat bakes the body like earthen pots and the sweat flows through the body like tributaries of the river.. Annoying bcuz you don’t feel like going out during weekends and annoying bcuz it doesn't allow you to go out for a vacation.. All travel plan sites indicate, all the destinations not to be visited preferably during April-May and hill-stations are all the more crowded, which would never give you the solace..But as Emily Dickenson Says, “ ..To see the Summer Sky is Poetry..”

Summer Sky - Monali's Photography
 So this summer I would take the sunshine gal Kyra to the journey of my childhood summer vacation, to the stories that I have lived, to the other side of summer vacation, to a place where fun and frolic rolled .. To a place unheard, place unseen, to a place where there are no exotic beaches but still the serene water and tranquil sky gives the peace of life, place where there are no expensive spas but the solacing effect of breeze, calms your mind. .Place that is away from the crowd, away from the commotions, away from those complexities, that have twitched life...Place where, there’s music humming with the waves and fun rolls with the sand.. 
Summers of my childhood is some 15 years ago, when summer use to come along with School summer vacations..All my summer vacations were spent at my Nani’s place..It's a place called Shirgaon, 100 Kms from Mumbai and at a drive of 45 minutes from my home in Tarapur..We kids, submitted the last paper of Annual exams and waited for my dad to come from office, so that he could drop us to my Nani’s place...My Nani, she's the most beautiful lady with the most lovely eyes, I have ever come across..Today also when I meet her, she gives the same smile and the same hug, I used to get as a kid...My Nani’s place, it’s a place, surrounded by orchards of coconut and supari (coming to the details later on), house from where beach is at a walk of 10 minutes, and there’s a pond at a walk of some 15 minutes..It's a lonely house, with no neighborhood..When there’s no neighborhood, you can shout, scream and laugh aloud, that’s the best part..Apart from coconut and supari orchards, the house was also surrounded by Mango, Jamun, Jackfruit and Cashew nut trees all being the fruits of summer season and so I can somehow manage to remember them...
Nani's House - Monali's Photography
Shoreline near the place - Monali's Photography
Our mornings started with the amazing tea and rice rotis made by Nani. Also, sometimes we had omelets and rice rotis for breakfast..For omelets, each kid had their own variety be it half-fry, beaten omelets or onion omelets and Nani made it according to each one's preference..After our breakfast, we plunged into the water tank..Yes, there was a water-tank in the premises, which was meant for the irrigation purpose in the fields, but we kids assumed it as our mini-swimming pool. Today when we look at it, we wonder, how come so many kids were accommodated in it....Everyday my Nanaji used to switch on the water-pump sharp at 8 O' clock in the morning and the water pump was off by 12 O' clock in the afternoon..We played a game of splashing water outside, and whoever jumped into the tank by splashing maximum water was the winner...

Pond near the place - Monali's Photography
Nanaji and Nani - old pic
 My Nanaji, he was a really strict and short tempered person…He used to yell at us for splashing the water out of water tank, for it disturbs the irrigation process. But we made those fish faces in front of him, and when he left we laughed like shameless pigs and again do what we wanted to do..Sometimes, he switched off the water pump, so that we get out of the water tank.. But then we kids had our Nani as our superhero, so we complained her and she declared it aloud; let the kids do whatever they want and that nobody would intervene in their summer vacations. And so happy faces we were again: D..But no matter, how much ever strict my Nanaji acted with us, he always kept basket full of ripened Mangoes and Jamuns for us and sliced the ripened Jackfruit (cutting Jackfruit stands the most tedious task) 
 
After our lunch, afternoons were pretty boring bcuz we were asked, not to roam around during afternoons and take a siesta. So while everyone took a nap, we kids sat across the fence-side, waiting for the ice candy man.. And thus; waiting for the candy man was like a daily siesta routine for us, and by the time summer vacation ended, candy man was our friend and we played some cheap bargain tricks with him to get free candies.. It was a place by beach side, but we kids were never allowed to go alone on beach..Nani was a master in narrating those threatening fake stories. She threatened us that those kids’ snatchers roam on the beach, and that they would put the kids in the gunny bags and take them along..So we always waited for our uncle to come over, so that we could go to the beach...                         
                                                                                                                                     
Legendary Wada-Pav - Monali's Photography

Going to the beach without wada-pav and coke was like a sin, even when we were kids and now, even when we are grown ups..Beaches, sometimes they teach us so many things...Those waves..They come back with a high tide again.. That breeze. It knows story of you and me..It touches everyone's soul without marking any difference..That sand on which, we left our footprints..Those sea-shells, for whom we waited for the waves to go back..The horizons, that paints our lives. Shoreline, it has a beautiful relationship with the ocean and as Sarah Kay says “….There’s nothing more beautiful than the way ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away..”

Ecstasy at beach - Monali's Photography
Beaches were always fun, making those tiny sand hills, carving your name upon the sand, running around the Suru trees, going behind the fisherman and asking them to show the catch for their day, jumping across the high tides and getting all wet...Besides the beach, there was a beautiful sand hill, it was carved out by the construction people for the sand required for construction purpose...
Sunset - Monali's Photography
We climbed the sand hill from one end, and had a freefall from the other carved end. There's nothing more exciting than falling down from the sand hill, rolling all over the sand, with the sand going into your boots, your hairs, your fingernails and your pockets.. By the time we reached home from the beach, it would be dinner time. And fish fry and fish curry made by Nani, still remains the best one's I ever had.

Suru trees near the beach side - Monali's Photography
 And yes about the coconut and supari orchards. Every summer, a coconut vendor visited Nani’’s place along with a truck, to upload the coconuts and along with a crew of the 8-9 people to pluck the coconuts..Chacha, that's what we called this coconut vendor, he was kid’s favorite..He was a tamilian and he had this amazing skill of making stuff with coconut leaves..Like origami makes those beautiful swans and roses with paper, he made a cricket ball and a bird out of coconut leaves..Whenever it was coconut plucking time, we kids were told not to roam around in the orchards, and that we would be hit by the falling coconuts..But who cared and we roamed around..

Coconut Orchards - Monali's Photography

Supari's - Monali's Photography
For supari, things were quite different. Supari is an orange fruit initially; it needs to be dried and peeled, to get the nut inside. This nut is used in paans, gutkas and all that stuff which spoils your mouth. Once dried, they are sealed in gunny bags and are bought by the vendors.. And I thank god that there was this entire process of supari drying; else we kids would never had the fun of playing cricket in suparis..Yes, playing in suparis. Usually suparis were spread over the terrace for drying in the sun, so we played cricket on the surface of suparis...The rules were pretty clear, the ball shouldn't go beyond the terrace boundary, and if does so, the one who hit it, ought to get it..There’s nothing more fun than hitting a ball and running over the suparis, at other end of the so called supari pitch, to get runs..

Supari Trees - Monali's Photography

Background is the dried Supari field for cricket :D - old pic

 And yes about the dragonfly story...Back then, there was a huge rose garden besides the coconut orchards..Now it's a bare land..No more pink roses with huge petals and yellowish pistils, no more butterflies and no more dragonflies..Yup dragonflies, during evening time the rose garden was flooded with the butterflies of all colors and dragonflies with a golden tail and sharp transparent wings..We kids were little evil and coward too..Coward bcuz we attacked butterflies and dragonfly from the back, while they landed upon the roses..And evil bcuz we catched those dragonflies and tied its tail with a thread and when the dragonfly made an attempt to fly, we pulled the thread..When my mom witnessed these evil activities, she called us and told us that imagine somebody snatching your freedom by tieing strings to your feet, and also god would really punish us for doing this heinous act..And so we released the dragonfly and that’s why, today when something bad happens to me, I feel it's the curse of the dragonfly, may be it was hurt that time and may be the concept of karma really works...

It's not just this but there are lot more stories other than this, stories of weaving mats from coconut leaves, stories of visiting bazaars with Nani, story of the huge shoe-flower plant, which we kids assumed as airplane, story of making clay toys, story of that Doberman doggie, who literally chased me till the air knocked out of my lungs and built the fear of dogs inside me and many more.. 

So the then good summers use to pass by, through the beaches, backwaters, roaming around in sun without the fear of getting tan, rolling over the sand hill without worrying about sand dispersing everywhere, riding over the high tides without the fear of getting drowned, biting tamarind and raw mangoes and making those sour expression faces, jumping on the heap of hay without the fear of getting any hay-particle allergy, taking a high ride on the swing with the feel of rising above the sky..Where's that insanity slipped down suddenly, where's that fearlessness and temerity disappeared, where those imaginations evaporated, where’s that carefree feel vanished suddenly…And that's why growing up is no fun…And that's why keeping that little kid alive in us is no wrong. I did really thank my grandparents for those priceless summer vacations, and so I indeed owe them a super vacation..Sometimes, we really ought to do a reverse engineering of life, just to figure out how many apologies are still pending, how many thanks are still to say, how many return gifts still we ought to give and how many vacations still we owe….


P.S: This post has been written for Indiblogger's ‘Lakme Diva Blogger Contest' - Tell us how will you live it up this summer with Kyra, have fun and enjoy sunshine like never before
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3 comments:

Rupertt Wind said...

Thast beautifully written! very nostalgic and absolutely stunning photography!

Monali Churi said...

Thanks for the appreciation:)

C. Suresh said...

Good write-up and great pics

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