Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Summer vacations and mangoes

All my blogger friends across the world are writing about their summer plans with their families and I get particularly envious and nostalgic when I see status updates of friends of facebook, holidaying with their children. As grown ups, among the many other things that I miss about school,summer and winter vacations are what I miss the most. Parents were forced to make plans to take us out of town, no matter what. In India, it is a tradition in all families, come summer vacations you're packed off and sent to your grandparents. We hardly had an option, the same place, same people, but there was always something new to explore on each trip. My sister and I shifted schools a lot when we were kids so we have a variety of memories :) If that means anything. My early memories are of our little cottages in Mombasa by the beach. We drove down in our car from Nairobi all stuffed with our beach gear and spent two weeks wasting ourselves :) My parents seemed so much more relaxed and "romantic". I guess they had more time to spend with each other without worrying too much about us :)

That's Meera and me in the summer of  1981 in Mombasa (I must ask Roopa for some more pictures of us)

Once my sister and I were sent to India to study, we were now four sisters instead of two because we then lived with my uncle who also had two daughters. On our first summer vacation, we all traveled two whole days by train to get to our respective grandparents. We got to go to my cousin's grandma's too. My Aunt was one brave woman traveling across the country with four little girls. My grandparents lived in an old huge bungalow, with a lawn, lots of rooms to get lost in, tons of helpers around the house and the highlight - a mango tree of our own. Oh! how we guarded that tree. Children across the street would try getting on to the tree and pluck the mangoes even before they were ripe, but we sisters formed a gang and guarded the tree even on hot scorching afternoons. Mangoes were all over the place in summers. They were bought in sacks and crates, unlike today when you pay per dozen. They were soaked in huge basins in the backyard during the day and then free to be gorged after lunch. I really miss the mangoes up in Bareilly. Here in Bombay, they just don't taste and smell the same. 
Summer vacations were so simple and easy when we were young. Now after growing up, planning a holiday takes so much of your time and energy. 
How are you all spending your summers this year? I'd love to know :) 

P.S. I must share my grandfather's mango ice cream recipe with you all soon. 

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