Thursday, 16 June 2016

Again about Gulmohars

I used to love the summertime back then. There was the whole last-day-of-school ritual. We would just go crazy. I would warn my family that I would be back home late. And we would get up to something or the other in school - just silly things - like playing a lot. That one time we challenged each other about using the teacher's bathroom; or to throw something into the staff room and escape before we were caught... Random stuff.

Once that was taken care of and all the sundry people we would not really see through the summer vacation dispatched, my friend & I would return home slowly, on our cycles. Weaving in and out and trying out any cycling tricks we had mastered. And then, reluctantly, with regret, we would separate and go to our individual homes (that were two streets apart, so not like miles away or anything).

The evening brought much excitement as my sister & I ran to the library and checked out as many books as the guy would allow. He was always very wary about us, I guess he was convinced that between the three of us (my mom, sis & I), we were capable of making him go out of business! Which was rather silly 'cause mom was one of his biggest supporters and always paid him extra. IF he had shut shop during our Mysore years, we would have been devastated, so seriously, he needn't have worried. [Last month we walked past and yes, he has gone out of business now, surely].

I would make grandiose plans for the rest of the summer. It involved things like: borrowing all the books my friend Anu's parents would allow from their collection (mostly, P G Wodehouse, Agatha Christie); & checking out all the arts & crafts books from dad's college library (all those special things I imagined I could do, if only I lived in the U.S., and had access to pipe cleaners, double sticky tape, craft paper, & what not). I signed up for several hours of basketball. I walked over to houses of my seniors and begged them for text books and work books (seriously).

May in Mysore is really wonderful. It's boiling hot - something that didn't used to bother me as much in those days as it does now. The large number of Gulmohar trees in the city are all in bloom (they were, this year as well, no worry). The koels and other birds are in fine form. And the general atmosphere of laid-backness is only amplified. I barely noticed that people in jobs continued to rush over to their various destinations in the morning. There is a fresh smell that used to hang around in the air - and believe me, I have tested the air right from early morning hours (basketball) to mid-afternoon (cycling expeditions here and there), to early evening (play time with friends).

Most of all, it was time for renewal and to do all the things I wanted to do in my life, which the regular schedule of school & homework & exams and so forth didn't allow me to. Over the years, I have become rather attached to this, which is why it's a good thing that I am in an academic job. Whatever else it is or isn't, the summer is awesome. Except that over the years, it is losing it's charm. One year it's a house move, the other a school move, or it's house painting or a family function. It's some unanticipated travel. Or that pile of things left over from the semester.

Obviously, as a full grown (ahem!) adult, it's incumbent upon me to finish all those tasks. To use the summer, when there is no teaching, to check all those boxes. To make sure that, by the time the undergrads come back to the campus and life goes back to insane busy-ness, I am ready to give my undivided attention to just juggling the usual teaching-research-home-parenting-other stuff stuff. So no more dreamy lists and fun "projects"; no more 3 hour basketball sessions (or whatever). No origami. No writing. Just Nose To The Grindstone again. Fine, I will do it. But I am under no obligation to like it. Mind it. 

1 comment:

Vichar Lochan said...

Don't you mean "full-grown hobbit"?
Lol.
~Child