Summer for me meant bringing the neighborhood alive with our shouts and screams, playing as if there was no tomorrow and being around friends all the time. Our neighborhood though quiet would turn into a mini riot of sorts from the afternoon with children pouring out from three neighboring buildings and the bungalows nearby and from way down the lane.
We would have a format of sorts for our games starting with a warm up hopscotch leading to langdi, a round of gully cricket sometimes and my favourite game King even though we bruised our knuckles silly with it. The games of course would change every day depending on what our hearts felt and what was the unanimous decision taken by the group. I could mention cycling here but I never could so was always left out of the ride around the block with friends.
It is always as though we had to jump into another game and never tire till we played to our heart’s content. Yes, we would have conversations in between and teasing our summer crushes. It is as though the summer would never come to an end. Our neighborhood store would always be available for replacing shuttle cocks and giving ourselves the occasional treats.
We were quite taken up with a programme on the Star World channel called Crystal Maze and started devising our very own treasure hunts around the neighbourhood. Visiting the corner library would fill up our days with magazines and comics.
None of us knew that one day the summers would come to an end. That we would grow up and life would take us through different summers where for me they were so much about a hidden desperation. I would long for those days when I could play for hours and forget about the world. Where summers were all about joy. I do not think as a child I ever took those days for granted but cherished them dearly. The way the days just slipped away was much too heart-breaking.
I see the same vibe now when I sit on my balcony children yelling, playing, running and the sheer joy on their faces and the sound of their happy voices. It always makes me happy to see children playing. I think we all must have similar memories of summer and that deep within there is that summer child in us longing to come out.
Summer in my mind is innocence, childhood memories, naughty boys and girls, true and pure happiness one that I’ve never felt again in my heart.