-By Brave Flower-
My summer vacation started on the midweek of April. I had a whole month and a half to enjoy myself, without thinking about homework and exams. Most of my friends had signed up for classes on swimming, karate and public speaking, while the others were travelling overseas.
As I approached my dad to get his permission to join the classes, I learnt that he had already booked tickets for a 10-day family reunion, in his hometown. Seeing the disinterested look on my face, he declared that it was good to get acquainted with the rural lifestyle of the village sometimes and that I could still join the classes once I get back.
The train reached our destination at 8:00 am and we got off in a hurry, as it halted at the station for just a couple of minutes. We were greeted by the smell of the slight drizzle and my vacation had officially begun.
The railway station was deserted and I was left wondering how to get through the trip without getting bored. My grandfather had sent his driver to pick us up and bring us to the ancestral home.
Once at grandpa’s house, we were served delicious Dosas, Idlis, Chutney and Sambhar. I was halfway done with my breakfast when I heard excited voices, a sign that my cousins had arrived. By 10:30 am we were ready to visit grandpa’s mango groves and paddy fields. To our great joy, the mango trees were full of mangoes. We plucked and ate most of the ripe ones and also packed some for our parents back home. The farm help was already informed that we would be visiting, so they lovingly welcomed us and we revelled in their pampering. We visited a temple before coming home for lunch.
My intellectual cousin sister had the forethought to bring her indoor games to kill time, as there were very few activities in the village to keep ourselves occupied. We spent the late afternoon playing a long game of monopoly. When evening came along, we watched the cattle coming back home. We also helped to chase the chickens back into their coops.
The next day we proceeded to the biggest well in the village. On reaching there, we were told that every morning we would be taking swimming lessons from an instructor there. We were all thrilled and that is when we realised that our grandpa has his own plans to keep us busy throughout our stay. Each of us was given a floater and we learnt the basics of floating and swimming. Our swimming coach made us watch in awe as he suddenly swam in a way that gave an illusion like he was walking in knee deep water, whereas in reality, the well had deep waters.
The following day we went fishing but weren’t that lucky, as we just caught very little fish. The fish curry came out tasty and we ate to our heart’s content.
Grandpa had arranged a special puppet show on Romeo Juliet for us which was put up by the village students. Our next visit was to a dam in the nearby town. It was a different experience to walk on the dam while the cool water flows at a steady pace around our legs.
Every morning we used to go for swimming lessons, then carry out the activities that grandpa had planned for us and in the afternoon we played games like Jenga, Monopoly, Cards, Snake and Ladder, Ludo, etc. In the evenings we used to listen to Granpa’s interesting adventures from his days.
Towards the end of the vacation, the instructor taught us how to dive into the well from varying heights (using the well’s staircase). He also warned us not to swim in the rivers and beaches without adult supervision because it is completely different from swimming in the well.
As the holiday drew to a close, none of us had the heart to go back home. So we decided to have a reunion at our ancestral home every summer. Though we departed after planning to meet every year, this summer vacation will be the most memorable one for me.
Word Count – 700