Till my 12th standard, summer holidays meant a trip to Amma-Mothe baba's, my grandparents' place. A small village in Karnataka, Secunderapur spelled heaven for us girls.
The countdown for traveling to Secunderapur used to begin much before the annual exams. While studying we used to dream about all the things to do during the summer holidays. Often, Mothe baba used to come to accompany Mom and we three girls to Secunderapur and Dad would come for a couple of days at the end of the vacation to bring us back.
A typical day of our vacation used to start very early in the morning. Secunderapur, like any other tiny village wakes up early. We used to laze in the open living room called “osri” watching cows being milked, calves hopping around... We loved drinking fresh milk (without boiling) and loved making white milk "whiskers".
Amma is the world's best cook (my mom shares this honor with her). She used to ask us of our cravings and used to cook every single meal accordingly. She used to painstakingly prepare our all time-favorites like mudda-bhaji-bhakri, bhisi-belle-bhat, pulao, gulab jamun, shrikhand, kheer, basundi (rabdi) and a whole load of goodies. We were treated like little princesses in the huge red-stoned house, where not a single thing happened against our wishes.
Afternoon was play-time for us. Those were the days when my Mom used to try every trick in the book to get us take those afternoon naps. For us that was waste of vacation time. We used to invent our own games and play endlessly. Even a simple thing like blowing soap bubbles from the terrace would keep us occupied for a day.
Evenings were mostly spent on the terrace eating dahi-bhat (curd rice) out of Amma's hands and waiting for the cattle to come home. While we sang songs, poems and learned new shlokas/bhajans it would be dinner time.
To sleep next to Amma, listening to her bedtime stories used to be one of the star attractions. Usually our discussions of deciding whose turn it was to sleep next to her ended in big fights. Counting the stars in the clear night sky, sleep used to be just a blink away.
The last day of our vacation has never ever gone dry. Clinging on to Amma and Mothe baba like baby monkeys we used to cry our eyes out and our parents used to drag us to the bus. Any by-stander watching the scene would be convinced that we stayed with cruel, heartless foster-parents.
I know I tend to get nostalgic whenever I get a chance but these “memory-breaks” are my coffee-breaks. I can so easily go back anywhere in time and re-live those charming, innocent days, without even getting up from my seat.