REMINISCENCES OF SUMMERS PAST
As I peer out of the window at the bright and hot April day outside, memories of childhood flood my mind.
During those years, believe it or not, the favourite time of the year was not the cooler winter season abounding with the festivities of Diwali and Christmas, but invariably the summer months of April and May. Of course, the two months long summer vacation free from the hustle-bustle of lessons may have had something to do with it. Those were the two months we totally dedicated to indulging in our own whims, be it playing with friends or just day dreaming.
For those like me who simply love the outdoors, it was the ideal opportunity to explore the hillsides in their natural splendour. The extreme summer notwithstanding, we ran about barefoot, words like Adidas, Nike, Reebok, Puma were just not part of our vocabulary.
On the plus side, it was an exercise which had its own rewards. For one, it was the fruit season, the heat lending its helping hand in the natural ripening process. As a result, one got to gorge on blackberries and a wild variety (which turn reddish when they are ripe and which we used call ‘Snake Berries’ because of the belief that snakes would be lurking around them. If at all a snake was seen in their vicinity, it would be more of a coincidence rather than that false belief). Then, there were the delicious cashews, abundant and with an unbelievable variety. One could list several more, including jambool (or jamun), guava, jaamb (love apple), taad gul (ice apple) and above all, the king of fruits, mango, in its numerous varieties. So, if you were a fruitoholic, it was virtually a paradise and you couldn’t ask for more.
For those of us addicted to cricket, football, kabbadi, or even the good old “vitoo and dandoo”, time meant nothing and it was just play, play and more play till the cows came home. Thirst and hunger played second-fiddle or were nearly non-existent. Those who had been disciplined to partake in a family meal, merely dashed in and out, forced to obey rules, their heart not in the food but the game awaiting them.
I cannot sign off without a word of caution. Those of you unfortunate to have missed out on experiencing the above delights during your formative years, brace yourselves for the snide remark by St. Peter (or whosoever) at the gates of heaven (or his counterpart on the other extreme end if your karma takes you there) as he peruses your dossier –
“Here comes a soft one! Take him to the back rows.”
Walter Salvadore Pereira
9th May, 2019