It’s May. My school exams have ended and the summer vacations have begun. My class teacher handed out a big list of holiday homework that has to be completed in the next 1.5 months. But I cannot wait to get home. Once home, I change and switch on the TV. Today mom won’t ask me to turn it off. As soon as it is 4 p.m, I run to my friend’s place and we play our hearts out. In the evening, we go to the ice cream vendor nearby and get orange candy. At night, me and my sister fight for the best place in front of the cooler. I watch cartoons all day, everyday. Mom expects me to start working on my holiday homework from the very first day, but I don’t.
It’s May end. We are at the train station, waiting to go to my maternal grandmother’s place. It’s an overnight journey so I tug my dad’s hand and ask him to buy me a book. He takes me to the book vendor, I stare at the plethora of books and the titles that don’t make any sense, and settle on Panchatantra. As soon as we board the train, I immediately rush to the upper berth, as if it’s my home for the next one day. I try to read but cannot stop looking around at the different families boarding the train. While at Grandma’s place, I play cards with my cousins all the time. We sometimes go to the nearby market to get chocolates or Faluda. Sometimes the “kulfi-wala” passes by and all the kids rush outside, and then have soar throats for weeks.
It’s June. We are back home. Dad brought mangoes yesterday so that is what I eat all the time. My sister is small and hardly interested in eating anything so all the mangoes are mine. Mom let’s me eat mango after every meal. Instead of drinking milk every evening, now I get to drink mango shake, with strawberry ice cream and a little Rooh Afza on top. On Sundays, when dad is home, we fight for the last piece of the mango. Guess I know where my love for mangoes came from. Mom forces me to eat watermelon and muskmelon as well. She even puts some sugar on muskmelon to make it sweeter but I don’t oblige.
It’s June end. School is about to reopen and I haven’t even opened the holiday homework sheet. We were told to write both Hindi and English essays everyday, which will now be done over a weekend. Mom helps me in some of the homework because I cannot complete it all alone. We even have lychees at home now and now they are what I eat everyday. It’s raining today and so me and my friends go out to play in the rain. It has rained after months. I have even become a little tanned due to playing in the scorching sun these past months but I don’t mind. This was the best summer of my life.
It’s 2019. I am 24. I am in a different city, away from my family. It’s 3 am, I am sleep deprived, and am trying to finish off some office work. May has started and am thinking of home, thinking of summers, thinking of the best time of my life.