Any adult reading this will vehemently agree that childhood was marvellous. As kids, the last day of school before the summer holidays would fill us with excitement we could barely contain. We had a good two months ahead of us to play in the sun and lounge around lazily, all the while shunting holiday homework to the last day before school reopened.
Our biggest worry at the time was catching the ice-cream van on time. It was a time when we were all happier getting muddied under the sun and euphoric about nothing at all. With summer here, everybody looks back at that glorious time wistfully, bowed over laptops in our respective offices. Here’s a little something to take you back to your childhood for a few minutes.
A - Aam
Sliced, diced, pureed or whole, this luscious, juicy fruit is synonymous with summer. Every summer, mangoes would magically appear in our fridge for us to gorge on and leave mango stains behind on our t-shirts.
B – Banta
Banta would appear as a saviour in disguise to provide relief in the scorching summers. A cool marble bottle of banta; sweet soda mixed with lemon juice, crushed ice, chaat masala and kala namak had a lot of takers before Coca Cola held sway.
C – Coca-Cola
Toilet cleaner or not, the brownish-red tinged effervescent drink had become a hit among people in the 90s. As kids riddled with constant cravings for unhealthy junk food, Coca-Cola fit the yummy but unhealthy junk criteria perfectly. Parents would give in because of the summer heat and let us relish a chilled glass of Coca-Cola once in a while.
D – Darjeeling Toy Train
Anyone who's been on Darjeeling's famous toy train knows that it's an experience that'll stay with you. Navigating through impossible curves and slopes of hills, the toy train creeps along at a slow pace affording passengers time to marvel at the soaring Himalayan mountains. It also gives passengers a glimpse of local life by passing through villages with kids waving at the train!
E – Enid Blyton
We built our appetites for adventure with Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five series. We would will against the bad guy in the books, hide in secret caves and uncover great mysteries along with the characters. We would also drool reading her descriptions of feasts in the books.
F – Falooda with Kulfi
Extravagant ice cream sundaes are all fine but a good plate of falooda with kulfi is nearly irresistible. Rich, creamy, frozen kulfi in a pool of silky falooda and gulab syrup spells sweet satiation each time.
G – Ghost Stories
A hit among kids (and adults), we’d huddle in clusters around campfires or during power cuts around a candle, listening avidly to spooky stories with chills creeping over our shoulders. We’d get scared but deny being scared loudly, only to sleep with lights on later at night.
H – Holiday Homework
Holiday homework exists to be ignored until the last day of the vacation before school reopens. We’d have fun in the last few weeks with the thought of holiday homework at the back of our minds, procrastinate until last minute till crisis hour and then the family would emerge to turn it into a group project.
I – Ice Cream
We all know how high up ice cream was on our priority list. As soon as we’d hear the ice cream cycle van approaching with the ice cream vendor trilling out “ice skeeeeeem”, we’d race to our balconies to flag him down.
J – Jamun
Climbing trees barefoot, plucking fruit and wiping them shiny on your t-shirt to eat them is one of the better ways of whiling away time during glorious summers. Jamun off the thela or freshly plucked were eaten idly. Piercing through the shiny skin of jamun would flood our mouths with a sweet-sour taste which would leave our tongues purple.
K – Kaala Khatta Chuski
Chuski is one of those simple pleasures of life you never want to let go of. We all had our favourite flavours, but kala khatta chuski with its tangy and sweet flavour was a clear winner. Part of the fun of sucking on kaala khatta chuski was watching our lips turn bluish-purple.
L – Load Shedding
Yup, summer load sheddings were an actual thing during which we’d swear, sweat copiously, fan ourselves with newspapers, light up candles and frantically call the electric company. A lot of people would resort to standing in balconies to watch people crowd around the electric pole. We’d all hurrah when the lights would flicker on and the fan would start turning overhead.
M – Manali
“Kaha chalna hai?”
“Kaha chal sakte hai?”
“Toh Manali final.”
N – Nani Ke Ghar
Summer vacations feel like vacations because of our annual trips to nani ke ghar. You’re treated like royalty by your kindly grandparents, all your demands are met and you’re basking in a constant shower of love and goodies. Not to mention the yummy food and bedtime stories.
O – Orange Bar
Who says money can’t buy happiness? These little packets of happiness were available back then just for five bucks! These orange ice lollies would taste heavenly on a blazing day. We’d be left with sticky hands which were promptly wiped on our clothes.
P – Picnic
The early stages for summer are perfect for picnics. We’d pack a ton of food along with frisbees and head to India gate or some other scenic spot to lay down on a sheet on the grass and spend time. As kids, we’d be whizzing around with excessive energy as the adults relaxed for a bit in the grass.
Q – Quick Trips to the Hills
Amidst constant demands for outings from restless kids, parents give in and take a few days off to make them happy. We'd be whisked off to the hills for a much-needed break from the heat and excitedly point out interesting things to our parents who'd good-naturedly pretend to be equally excited about it.
R - Rasna
Rasna was a summer fixture in most houses. Chilled glasses of Rasna would emerge in summers when we’d come back from playing in the sun or when guests would arrive.
S – Shikanji
Shikanji is one drink which even picky kids loved drinking. Mothers would whip up batches of shikanji with ice and pour them out for everyone. We'd always come back for seconds!
T – TV
With summer holidays and literally no work for us kids to do, we'd promptly camp out in front of the idiot box to catch up on our favourite shows. We'd be sitting transfixed by TV and often forget that we were eating or that mom had hollered for us, until parents would pass by and scold us soundly for wasting so much time in front of the TV.
U – Umbrella-Sharing
Now this is how bonds are created. If you were lucky enough to have an umbrella-sharing friend, you'll know how warm and fuzzy this feels. We'd use the umbrella to escape from the blazing sunshine even though the umbrella wouldn't be big enough to completely cover both.
V – Volvo bus
We'd bounce in to the bus and immediately grab the window seat. We'd be busy staring at the rushing landscape from the window for the first couple of hours. The only downside of travelling in Volvo buses is that person in your group with motion sickness who starts regretting his decision of eating aloo paratha before the bus ride.
W – Watermelon
We would crowd around when the watermelon was being cut and take off with a huge slice. The seeds were to be thrown at siblings’ heads to annoy them.
X - Xplore
Yes, we were born explorers and acted out elaborate mysteries in our backyards or pretended like we were in the middle of a grand conspiracy and had to escape. Our exploring streak never faded and here were are, a bunch of inquisitive travellers.
Y – Yearly Family Vacation
Summer vacations provided us with ample time to travel so most of our travelling plans were on hold until summer. After a few fights over whether or not it's necessary to pack that remote controlled car, we'd all set off in high spirits to our travel destination.
Z – Zzz... Afternoon Naps
Sleeping is one of the joys of life but sleeping in front of the cooler or under the fan on a hot, lazy afternoon after a heavy meal? Incomparable. We’d fill up the cooler with water and lie down in front of it to feel tiny droplets of water on our faces with the cool air.
If you’re in the throes of nostalgia after going through this; live up this weekend by doing everything you’d do as a child in summers. Play a game of football in the sun with your pals, get muddy, get tanned, buy an orange bar and pick up your fave childhood read. Make some new memories this summer!
Design Credits: Gaurav Sharma
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