Thursday, May 9, 2019

Beating the Heat

The heat was unbearable but the shade of the Jamun tree provided the solace. The nearby hedges were a perfect hideout for the game of ” Hide and Seek” in progress. We had lost track of the time but it was late in the evening.  After a while, the summons came from home to return as it was time to sleep. The fun of playing these outdoor games with friends is something that is difficult to describe. Later, we would spread out the cots in the garden that was fenced, outside our little flat. A slight sprinkle of water on the mattress added to the delight when we rested our backs against it in the night. The sky was clear and the stars studded the sky. It was rare to miss them as the sky was clear but for some dust, but pollution was unheard of. There were times when lightning and thunder would strike in the middle of the night sending us scampering indoors.

The sweltering heat during the month of June and the summer vacations were something we anxiously waited for almost the entire year. During the day time, it was impossible to step out of the house, as it was a blazing inferno outside. The only way I passed the morning time was laying my hands on choicest books by Enid Blyton or Capt WE Johns that were borrowed from the nearby Delhi Public Library. These transported me into the surreal world of adventure and flights of fancy. At other times indoor games like Carrom, Chess, Cards, Chinese Checkers, Ludo and Snake and Ladder provided the escapist entertainment for endless hours. After, a hearty lunch a snooze in the afternoon was interrupted by a call for digging into the watermelons, melons or mangoes around 4 PM.  It was joyous to experience the burst of taste in the mouth as the red flesh of the watermelon melted in the mouth. There were no TV programs worth a name except Chitrahaar ( songs and dances from Hindi movies) and a Hindi movie on the weekend.

Sometimes we would plan out for the morning shows in the movie theatres around South/ New Delhi with our cousins/ relatives who had come over to stay with us during the vacations. The DTC buses were a spoilsport as would rarely turn up when needed so we relied more upon to walk the distances up to 3 or 4 km on foot. For return, we had to fall back on the option of buses as it was impossible to walk in the blazing heat.

A lot has changed since then as I do not find any youngsters in the fields indulging in games in the neighbourhood. The malls appear to have filled the spaces where most kids can be seen accompanying their parents or friends depending on their age groups. Very few kids read anything beyond textbooks or newspapers and prefer video games and serials/sitcoms on the TV. Maybe they have more options than I had but I do not regret one bit that I missed much in the growing up years.

PS: Image Kind Courtesy Google

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