Summer-Vacation

Breaks that bring life with it.

I am in a very happy phase of my life right now. My life  presently is almost perfect though there are a few thorns on the way, they don’t seem like a huge mountain from my present view.

I am on my semester vacation for two weeks, which was a break that I was waiting for from a very long time. I wished to revive my summer vacation memories from my childhood by visiting our ancestral home where my grandparents had lived. I remember the days we went around and played hide and seek and the whole gang of cousins who rushed down there for vacations sat by the pond munching mangoes.Granddad used to tell us interesting stories and tales from the famous epics, from Mahabharata, Ramayana and stories of little Jesus and stories of Krishna’s. We would fight to get a spot next to Granpa just to hear his stories more clearly. Granpa and Granma would make us homemade chips and out of which Granpa was the head cook for all the delicacies that were cooked for us and were our favourites. The way he treated us, the way he treated my mom and the way he behaved at home would be the standard that every man entering our lives  and wishes to stay would have to match.

But this was the story from my childhood days but the situation now is very different. The house now lies uninhabited along with the neighbouring houses that were rustling with happy noises in the past are now replaced with a silence that echoes of memories from the past. Every door, every corner that I revisited talk about the people that once lived there, of the family that grew up there, of the children who were married off from the same house, of the little kids who were cheerfully welcomed by the grandparents, of stories how they grew older together and so did their grandparents. The households in its heart stories of a young man who was essentially  self-made, honest and loving. The man whom the entire village respected and came looking for advice.The house had seen a man who was an adored teacher and headmaster to every child who grew up in the locality, he was also a man who loved his land a farmer. The house was also home to a woman who was again above most common women of her times, a woman who was a teacher that too of a language that is not native to the land she stayed in, she was the one who supported the man of the house who looked after his mother who lost her memories like her own along with being a working woman, a mother and a farmer herself.

But comparing the present situation with past will mostly lead us to disappointments.My cousins and I have now grown up.Our timetables don’t match each other’s anymore. We no longer get  summer vacations. Everyone is getting a hang of responsibilities and each one of us trying our hardest to get used to being ‘an adult’. It is painful to see closed doors. But life has to go on and it is imperative that we change. It is important to grow up.

With time changing I have realized that I am no longer a child whose opinion is gullible. I have developed strong opinions on different subjects. Though I feel I should know my roots but I no longer am able to love people I once loved so dearly. I find them to be so disgusting at times that there is no point trying to convince them to open their closed brains to the bigger better world,  to get to know people from all walks of lives without prejudices and lame biases.

I used to see people previously either in white or black light, but I have over the years learnt no one is completely black or white, everyone is grey sometimes maybe with either of the two colours taking prominence over the other.  I now see People in different shades of grey.

There is also another thing I’ve come to realise some relationships in life are much more than blood relations. I have come to realise that after my family, it is not any relative that I would be willing to do anything for, it would be my neighbours and my friends.

I always wondered if it was possible to stop loving someone, I now know it is possible.  This break so far has taught me a lot of things that no textbook would ever. The life experiences I saw, people I met and the situations that changed the whole meaning of living for me was my biggest takeaway from my semester break.

Breaks and holidays help us grow into better human beings because it often takes us far from our mundane selves who are self-obsessed and selfish, Breaks help us reconnect with ourselves and others and makes us rethink our priorities.

Travel.

I love travelling. Not from today, from the time I was very little.Major travelling which took place in my life was the time when my sister and I went to my grandparent’s house in Kerala during our summer breaks. I used to look forward to the travelling the most.My dad seldom booked tickets before hand, in short we had unplanned journeys,which we loved of-course!

‘ Pack your bag I’m taking you guys to your granny’s’ , my dad would come in unannounced and order us.

‘Yay! we’re going by bus!’ we would squeal.

Here by bus, we did not mean the super cool volvos, here bus means the govt transport buses.We used to travel 700 kms by splitting our journey into five parts: Bangalore to Hosur, Hosur to Salem, Salem to Coimbatore, Coimbatore to Palakkad, Palakkad to Kottayam. Now the best part of this break journey was the food at every station we got down in: the filter coffees,the saravana bhavan masala dosas and idli vadas with the yummiest sambar and chutney,then the chicken kebab and fries from palakkad and payam pori’s of thrissur , just imagining these food makes my mouth water even now.

Another one thing that stuck to my little mind was the liveliness of the bus-stands when the rest of the world would be sound asleep.The bus-stands and the out-skirts of these bus-stands rustle with the sound of shops and travelers at all hours of the day and night. People selling flowers, snacks, toys, books,men gambling away to glory in one corner,ladies with bright red/pink lipsticks and fragrant jasmine pinned into their hair standing in a group and laughing at some incoherent jokes that someone cracked are the scenes so clear in my memory.This was my encounter from my initial trips during summer vacations with my dad.

As I grew older I became more fond of studying the co-passengers in the bus we traveled along with my love for food at different places. Every bus journey had some women who would push me and my sister into a single seat much to our annoyance! So what if we were small, the conductor didn’t let us sit there for free, we had to take half ticket! How dare that aunty with a huge bum pushed us and sat in our places while we meekly complained to our mother. The worst part about this thing is that it would often happen when we would have finally got some sleep. Apart from this annoying aunty I remember another brave lady, who sat next to my mother.

This lady held her one month old infant in her hand and was breast-feeding it, while she had goods for business that she had brought from Cochin to her home in a village somewhere between  Coimbatore and Salem.She got down in a deserted place at one thirty in the night!That too when her husband was away at some other place for business, and she had to walk back to her home about a mile away from that bus-stop all alone holding her infant in one hand and the luggage in the other. All this she does with a bright infectious smile on her face.

 

There are more such little but important incidents I remember from my usual trips of summer vacation but the journey that is closest to my heart is the one that I went on last October. I was thrilled beyond words when this email popped in my inbox, for you it might not be a big deal but for me it meant the whole world.

 

Dear INKster,

Congratulations! You have won a free pass to INK Live 2013.
We have good news for you. Due to the overwhelming and excellent responses for ‘All That Matters’, INK Live has selected more winners, and your entry is one of them.
Looking forward to see you there!
 
– INK Team
This was the best news I had heard in a while. I was sure that I would have a tough time convincing my parents to send me to INK by paying 3K, so winning a free pass to INK LIVE 2013 definitely went a long way in convincing my parents to let me attend it. This competition ‘All That Matters’ required us to fill in 4 words after ‘ ALL THAT MATTERS IS —— —— —– ——‘
and I wrote ‘ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE WAY I SEE MYSELF’  These four words had somehow managed to get me  a chance to travel alone for the first time. INK was happening in Ernakulam, a city that I have been to innumerable times but never alone, and when you are alone even in a city you’ve been before it makes you see the city in a new light. I traveled alone to get to my destination in a train filled with strangers and it is one of the best journeys of my life, I went to a place where I had no friends and no one I knew of. When I returned I returned with the confidence to write, the workshop by Lavanya Shankar  was so empowering, for once in a long time I felt I belonged in a crowd, I felt at home amidst strangers. I found so many like minded people who shared my passion for writing and travel.Within a short period I became friends with three awesome people Danny, Sundar and Surbhi.All three of them wonderful writers and excellent human beings. Spending just three days with them made me feel I knew them for a long time.Even now the fact that we are in touch makes me believe in the power of accidental encounters in accidental journeys. Even though I was a little nervous before I went to INK, I knew I had only gained a lot more than I ever expected. The new technologies, the common people who had the guts to do the common things which the rest of us are ashamed to do, the unconventional ideas,the different life stories from different people from all walk of life, the inspiring talks, workshops and the drum jam session made INK top the list of perfect trips in my life.
Well, before INK was my beautiful journey with my family to Munnar, which was perfect too. I went on a trip with my friends recently,during last semester break but even as the trip was completely crazzy and fun-filled , I missed the solitude and space I got to retrospect during the train and bus journeys I went on before.
I feel I am missing a very important part of my life by forgetting to travel, so I seized the oppurtunity when it came my way recently. You can learn so much from a journey than you can ever learn by spending a year amidst text-books.Well at-least for me this holds true 😛 😀 😛 🙂 😉  So grab a book, ear-phones, your mobile phone,some cash , pack your bags and set out to the place you always wished to get to.(Before that make sure your boss approves your leave application 😉 😛 )  IMG_20140731_093620403 (1) )
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