Sarah Dessen captures perfectly the essence of summers in her novel “Along for the Ride” when she says “In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.” So, this is how I spend the long summer days.
As is the norm, school’s off during summer (that’s one reason why I love summers!). So, as soon as school breaks up for summer, I pack my bags (Okay, that’s after I spend one whole day doing absolutely nothing. But you get the point, right?). Let’s wait over here for a minute. So, even this packing routine had its variables. At times when I’m feeling very lazy, I simply open my cupboard, take out the first five things I can lay my hands on and stuff them into a bag. And that totally works for me, because I have an extra pair of nearly everything at the place where I’m headed to. That’s just one side of the coin. There are times when I go into a frenzy and start putting my entire life’s existence into a bag. And surprisingly, that works for me too, because the place where I spend my summer is an old, rambling house with no dearth of empty corners.
So, let’s move on. As I was saying, I pack my bags and take the first bus to Jamnagar. For those of you who don’t know what or where Jamnagar is (and those who just searched “Jamnagar” on Google), it’s a small town in Gujarat. A small town that made it big time because of a Reliance oil refinery set up there. But let me tell you, it’s much more than that. It’s a town where everyone knows everyone, a town where whoever you meet knows your family history back to the ancestors. It’s a town where shopkeepers never let me pay for my purchases, saying “I’ll take the money later from your grandmother. After all, you aren’t running away with my money.”
While some might take it as interference into personal lives, it’s a great comfort for me to know with absolute surety that if I were to so much as raise my voice the tiniest bit, ten neighbours would come running to help me. Knowing that, people who don’t even know me would go that extra mile to help me, just because they know a person who knows my grandmother. It is a town where doors aren’t locked and where there’s always space at the table for a guest.
So, anyways, the first day is usually full of warm hugs, loud greetings and seemingly innocent questions about how my life is going. And then, life sets itself into a lazy, idyllic rhythm. The long summer days pass by with lazy mornings (with mom shouting, “It’s already 10! Get up!”), grandma preparing my favourite food, learning new crafts from aunt and heated political discussion with uncle. Time wraps itself in a very surreal fabric in Jamnagar, it might have been just a minute or a month.
A month passes by and by the time the vacation comes to a close, I’m left begging for more. The warm sunny days are going away and so are we, leaving just an empty house with memories of a loud, boisterous but cheerful family behind. And I, am left with an anxiety for the coming academic year and a heart yearning to go back to the summer, when I would spend hours on the terrace basking in the sun, captured in the idle ministrations of my mind.
Written by Aneri Doshi
What makes my heart race? Books, Coffee and Rain