Saturday, February 21, 2009
Summer of '09
I reminisce those days of summer. Summers of 1993 to 2008. 15 years, long time. I spent these years at as many as 5 different places. So I experienced many shades of summer at different locales and with different set of people. We kept on moving to different places and I grew upon with various societies and not to forget the summers. I love winter & I hate Monsoons, and Mumbai has contributed a lot in hating Monsoons. But there is something about the scorching heat. It has given me moments that I will keep with for the rest of my lifetime.
We left our village when I was 9 and moved to a small town which was full coal mines. So you can presume the amount of dust & heat over there. I have faint of my village where I lived 5 years. Coming back to the coal-mines town where I have spent 5 years, it was a place where the majority of crowd was directly or indirectly employed with the coal company there. During summers we generally have the long vacation called as "Summer Vacation". My summer vacation starts badly after my exams as I again fair badly and soon I forget all those admonitions of my father and engage myself in playing Cricket. A typical day during summers at that time starts with my mother telling to take bath as early as possible for she always felt only animals takes shower after 12 noon. I sincerely did not follow this from my childhood and it is still there, though my office schedule forces me to be human ;) Once I take my bath the lunch will be ready on the dining table. The speciality of summers is rice in water (we call it 'Pakhala' in Oriya) and some fries and 3 other dishes. Mumma always made it a point to prepare as many dishes as possible and blaming my father for his demand for a lavish menu!!! My post lunch session includes two prime things: either irritate my younger brother or sleep, how exciting. Sleeping in summer afternoons after a sumptuous meal has its own charm. Miss those siestas, really. In this small town full of coal fields, I remember the siren notifying the shift change for the workers of the mines. It also made me wake up many times as well. I hate the siren for many reasons other than disturbing my sleep. The evening siren sends me the warning my home tutor’s arrival and the night siren tells it is time to turn off the television or else father will be doing the honours. It actually became a part of my life till I stayed there.
Then we came to another small township near to the coastal belt of Bay of Bengal. I loved one thing about this place, its education standard and awareness. One thing I hated was the people's thinking and lack of looking beyond the specific boundary. There we stayed for 2 years where I have completed my 10th board exams. My experience over there was very limited as my schedule was more or less the same minus the afternoon naps. Either I watched TV for long hours or go to a friend's place who has his huge bungalow that had a separate room only meant for him and his close friends like me. I always missed my personal room at all the places we stayed, I always shared my room with my younger brother with whom I never found anything common to discuss or share. It is like two aliens living in one room. Only thing we both did with utmost sincerity was to fight fiercely using all possible weapons. But like the siren of the coal city, I had some unforgettable summer moments of this place as this is where I got the platform to go outside the academics and dis something that made my father feel proud of me, finally. I participated in all the Quiz competitions and my practice of keeping myself updated of current affairs helped me to stand in top 3 of all competitions I participated in. After coming 1st in all the events towards the end of my 9th standard, 6 months in a row, I suddenly started coming in 2nd position. It continued and it seemed I could not reach the top position again. I started analysing and found out a student 1 batch junior is winning all those events. I never go to him to congratulate or wish him. I also started coming in 2nd in group events as well. One day I decided to think like a politician as I felt it was high time to set my ego aside to start a coalition. I had a chat with him and I made him my team mate. And then...no looking behind. We swept all the prizes that were there in the next year including one state level award. After teaming up, we made it a point not to compete against each other, thus giving each other fair chance of winning. We virtually decided who is going play and who is going to win. You call it my diplomatic step for ensuring my top slot or whatever...now I wish if Federer and Rafa could do that, there will not be any heartbreaks!!!
Then I moved into another smaller town, very calm and quiet. Nature at it's best. Open spaces and lovely weather. Just one problem, a big one. The people over there had more interest in the neighbour's affairs than theirs. Irritating, but I had no option as father was working away from home at that time. I was officially given the task to take care of house. I felt good about the responsibility I was given, but when I realised that I had to pay the bills, shop, call the plumber etc etc, I found enough excuses to get away from it. This is the first place where I roamed around outside home during summers, for many reasons than one. First, I was in 11th, no more schools, so the freedom. Then I felt like I am old enough not to listen to my mother anymore, also father was not there at home. All the teenage josh was running in the blood. My summer afternoons at this place were spent at college campus, friend's places, loitering in the market, spending time at a cyber cafe nearby. One of the places where I have spent a lot of time during the summers is the hostel campus of our college where I used to stay for long hours and studied an interesting subject called 'Love'. I learned its basics, and then went on to complete my PhD in it. After my completion of doctorate in Love, I also went on to become a start-up advisor for other aspirants in this field. It worked for many of them and my popularity increased. I was down with fever of love throughout my 12th standard. I did all the adventurous stunts like writing letters, watching my girl from the roof of her house, meeting her at the district science centre. What a phase that was! Everybody moved on, apart from me. Even the father of that girl went on to become the Principal of our college when I was in the 2nd year of my graduation. I felt like Raj Aryan whenever he (I used to call him Narayan Shankar of ‘Mohabbatein’) visits our class or I go to collect an award for essay competition from him. I was a Science student then and I was roaming more than the Commerce students. And the results of my 12th board gave the reply of all those precious times I lost, especially during summers. Finally, I became serious about my career and after a mutual discussion with my father I studied where my heart belonged to; English literature. The last 2 summers of my graduation was the best as I read a lot of books and felt good about it, which includes William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, John Keats, William Wordsworth & so many. But one guy whom I admired reading and fell in love was R.K. Narayan. I have spent many summer afternoons reading his short stories, novels and his autobiography.
Then we moved to a much bigger city and the capital, Bhubaneswar. It was a place I always dreamt of staying at. I always knew we are finally going to settle down here. We already had 2 homes here and that is the reason I convinced my father to shift here even I had my final year of graduation left at the last place. The next 4 years that I lived here before going to Mumbai were worth remembering as I lived a lifetime during that span. I have many moments spent there that includes summers full of fun. I wake up at 10 in the morning and then I go out before coming to have my bath & lunch. Then again I zoom back to friends at different corners of this beautiful city and come at 11 in the night. I hardly spent any time at home. Here my summer afternoons were less exciting than the evenings. I have got my evening planned out from the previous day. From datings to hang outs, everything was so perfect. I remember the cool breeze that brings the real charm of this city. It is a place where I found my friends pursuing their careers from the places I stayed in the past. So I felt very much attached to this place finding all of them at one place. As far as my exciting recollections of summers are concerned, I would say that I reached a stage where my friends ask me for some serious advice on relationships and I give them a prompt reply even if I had a big argument with my girlfriend 3 minutes back. They always saw me as a benchmark as I was very stable in my relationship. It made feel good and stronger to give better advices ;)
Finally I moved to another capital, a much bigger one compared to the one I lived in. I have been here for last 3 years starting from 2006. But my summer connection is very less with the city. The first summer after coming here, I spent doing my internship at my hometown and the second summer I was busy in my first job post my MBA complying with the orders of my bosses in an air-conditioned office. No more fooling around, no more datings, no more hang outs; thus fewer memories. Though Mumbai has given me a lot including some of the unforgettable night outs, but summers is one season that I am yet to spend here like I spend it in my younger days at different parts.
As I see the advent of another summer in Mumbai... I know I can not do it again...for sure...as that stage is past...as those years will not come back...and those memories are only going to stay in the past. Have I grown old? But I wish...I wish sincerely that I could live those memories again...I want to experience those moments again...those sirens...quiz competitions...those days of being a advisor...days with friends all around...and Mumma’s handmade dishes...ice creams she made...mangoes...I loved them all...
I wish to live it again...days of scorching heat...those days....My Days