(Do you remember how you felt thinking of the summer holidays when in School. Read what Rameshinder Sandhu (J-0441, 2005,ICSE) felt. He is a staff reporter with Hindustan Times based in Ludhiana. He has written for The Hindu, The Tribune, Outlook Traveller Magazine etc. Picture is of Rameshinder Sandhu.
My younger brother Tejinder and I who have wrapped up entire school life in boarding can certainly not forget high fascination we all hostelers carried for summer holidays –the longest break of the year from the hostel world that seemed more like a prison in those days. Going home was as if a bird has been released from a cage after ages. That’s why my heart has always felt that real charm and warmth of this break can always be rightly tasted by hosetlers.
Thanks to my mind that still holds those memories and moments. Birth for this excitement usually began right from the little school calendar we got each year for keeping a tab on various events and exam days but instead of using it as per its purpose, we religiously used it for counting days for commencement of holidays. As only few weeks would get left, more actively these calendars got used where everyone simply ticked off each passing day and later gleefully exchanged dialogues on the number of days left to go home followed by sharing special plans for the holidays and lot more. Interestingly, packing began weeks before and finally with arrival of parents, air always got enthusiastically filled with high doses of exhilaration. Believe me, some even jumped up and down like a monkey for not being able to hold excitement on going home with parents.
How can I hold myself back from sharing –the kingly hospitality and care throughout the holidays. After all, parents were also excited to welcome us back home. Our lovely mother made all those dishes that our tongue loved the best and to pamper us more, she went to make cakes, cookies and exotic desserts after every few days.
Heading to maternal village (Butala) for several weeks to stay with grandparents was no less than a ritual and a cynosure of our every break. I remember how ebulliently they rushed towards our car as it entered the home and then go on to hug. Within minutes, all neighbours and friends too joined them to give a rousing welcome. ‘Get ready to be pampered by all of us now’, they all would say as one. And, here we also completed all our holiday homework under the guidance of our grandparents. Grandfather helped us with English and gave several assignments to brush up our language skills while grandmother took responsibility of all other subjects and their zeal is beyond compare.
Every morning, we completed most of the work and in the evening, we were taken to the farm and sometimes to historical gurdwaras or relatives. Of course, there was freedom to play with friends or may be roaming around with them in the village. And, nights there were also special -right on the rooftop under the grand sky dotted with shinning stars and the beautiful moon. Under this setting, they rolled out many inspiring stories that not only entertained but also gave many morals for life. On leaving, it turned out be a nostalgic affair and like every time, grandmother handed over several jars of traditional homemade delicacies for taking to hostel.
As culmination time of holidays approached, all our enthusiasm and gusto always lost its sheen. During the last day at home, I felt like a dead fish. On way back to the hostel, silence remained at its peak and parents did try to cheer us up but it bore no fruit. While they bid adieu, we all had teary eyes and butterflies flying in the stomach. Even in the hostel for the first few days, silence followed all the hostelers and it took several days for all to break this quietness. I was very particular in writing a letter to parents and grandparents at maternal village to tell them also on behalf of my brother how much we miss them and jovial experience of the holidays. In groups, we wondered how can so long holidays end so soon.
The other day, as I shared this entire experience with my same hostel mates –we all conceded that none of us will ever forget these holidays and wished to return back to those days that introduced us to the best and most nostalgic moments and experiences!