It is the time of the year when vacation plans jostle for space in our minds as shopping lists get longer and suitcases brim over with gifts and goodies for loved ones back home, but here I am trying to find a quiet place near home.
A place where my children can go cycling while I socially and physically distance myself from them after a day of playing referee to their fights, judge to who is right, engaging in silly games and tweaking routines to keep the spirit of the summer break alive alongside sending reminders that summer vacation or not, I am still the boss!
Come summer, we take-off from the lands that are drenched bright by the desert sun and make a turbulent landing onto a green scape awash by the monsoons.
The drumroll of thunder, the melody of droplets mingling with the earth, the warm hugs and the scent of food laced with Mother’s love is the welcome we are treated to.
After the initial excitement of greetings and the chaos and confusion of trying to decipher one voice from the excited babble of others, we settled in for serious catching up
I can loosen my Mummy hat as my children are spoilt under the warmth of their grandparents’ love while I treat myself to the carefree joys that can only be savoured under the canopy of my parents’ home.
Over the days, my children get treated to a taste of tradition and stories that had once lulled our little eyes to sleep.
They accompany us to our ancestral homes that are now testimony to the generations who had once dwelled and made it home while every moss-covered brick under the overgrowth, every stepping stone in the pond, every coconut tree that dances to the tunes of the gentle breeze surrounding the brimming well takes us back to the many summers spent in their midst.
We time travel into days when we failed to understand what grandfather treasured in the voices that crackled out of a radio just as much as my children cannot appreciate the nostalgia of playing ‘Battlelands’, and ‘Clash Royale’ running bare feet between stretches of tall trees in the company of cousins rather than on a gizmo.
This year around, a gizmo with the Zoom application has been colouring our summer days.
Breaking the ice
A cousin broke the ice with an invitation to us cousins all over the world for an evening of getting together virtually. From my brothers in the UAE to the others scattered across the globe, some having excitedly dragged themselves off the bed while others stifled yawns with a twinkle in their eye, as we joined the grid.
After the initial excitement of greetings and the chaos and confusion of trying to decipher one voice from the excited babble of others, we settled in for serious catching up.
In a while, we were traversing many summers — revisiting instances that are now bedtime stories for our children, spilling secrets, laughing at the tricks that got us into trouble while one was resourcefully added fuel to our nostalgia with pictures of our silly old selves.
In those moments that we reminisced the beauty of our shared past, it felt as if in time we had remained a constant while everything around us had grown up.
This summer of 2020 throws before us a choice to either sulk and fret about the virus that stung our holiday plans or we could use the time to stay safe while loosening up routines, indulging in ourselves and family, discovering a new hobby or pick up an old one that was lost amid tight routines and create memories to talk about in the summers to come.
As for me, I had planned on spending the evening sipping on my coffee a little longer but Little Princess has made a dramatic entrance post a Zoom birthday party insisting that we bake a chocolate cake that the birthday girl was seen relishing.
Now if you will excuse me, I have a cake and some memories to make!
— Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha