Its been a month since Summer Vacations officially started and all I have done is sleep, eat and waste time. Though, in my defence, it has been very hot here. So there is no way you can go out and do anything outdoors. Summers in Qatar are like Winters in Alaska. Then came Ramadan and I was fasting for 16 hours. Considering all that I really did not do much this summer like always.
|Photograph by Saleha Jamil|
But summers used to be very different in my childhood back in Pakistan. I remember the excitement and anticipation of going to Wah Cantt from Lahore, where my grand parents lived. They would have already made preparations for us. My Nano would have bought crates of mangoes, refrigerated them, made plans for hunting, picnics and all sorts of things. That used be our fortress where the Piracha kids ruled. My Khala (Aunt) would have baked cakes, biscuits and all kinds of that good stuff. My Nani would have made the Pickles of Mangoes. And so would begin two months of bliss.
In the evenings, us three siblings and Nani would explore the hills around their house. Then she would ring a random house to use their bathroom, because she has Diabetes. And we always ended up drinking different kinds of Lemonade from different people. We could come back home laden, with Samosas, Jalibis etc. Late at night, my Mamo (Uncle) would make us watch horror movies in the basement and then get a scolding from Nani. One of the things we loved, was eating mangoes in the garden, wearing shorts, with Silky aka Nano’s dog beside us, and getting as dirty as we could. We rarely got a chance to do that.
Those summers saw frequent trips to the the Golf Clubs in Abbotabad, Bhourban, Islamabad and Rawalpindi. They saw the swinging championships between all the kids of that lane. They saw us, late night going out for a drink or chips in our case to the grocery store. They saw us sleeping outside under the magnificent sky laden with stars, asking Nani to tell a bedtime story. They saw us asking all kinds of favours from out grand parents. They saw us going all out when my other Massi (Aunt) used to visit us from Rawalpindi.
Summers at your gran parents house with all of your cousins and family doing whatever the hell you want, what else could a kid ask for ? That happiness and joy is very different. Growing up without a care in the world, looking forward to the summers, then finally sitting in that Daewoo Bus knowing that we are hours away from our fortress.
Those were the days. Now its hot like hell and I am lazy as an ass. But not anymore. I am going to make it worth wile by working on my pending writing and updating this blog, reading more books. Sometimes I do wish that those summers could come back but then I have the satisfaction of having all those beautiful memories.
Henry James has put my feelings rightly into words by saying,
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”