I am sure that each one of us have different memories of how we spent the Summer holidays as children. Back then, I remember there were 3 events that I looked forward to the most each year. One was my Birthday (the obvious reason being for receiving gifts), 2nd was Diwali as I just loved to burst the crackers & to see the whole town look so beautiful at night with Diyas* lit everywhere & the 3rd one was the beginning of the summer holidays.
I am talking about that time when kids didn’t had a busy schedule for their summer holidays like they do now (even more busy than the one for their school days), back in the day, when though your mom wouldn’t be shouting at you to wake up early like on school days, you would still be up early so as not to miss even a minute of your precious holiday. Those days, when most of your time was spent playing outside with a never ending energy reservoir or nary a care about your complexion or just sitting on your compound wall eating Frostee ice candies or loitering around on the street with the kids from your neighbourhood in the evenings, till your mother, fed up of calling you to come inside, would give a final warning that if you don’t, she would come outside! and you, registering the danger but wanting to maintain a cool image in front of your friends, bid them goodbyes with a promise to call them later to plan for an equally unfruitful tomorrow (when landlines weren’t yet shown the door by the mobile phones) or pleading/begging your mother to prepare your favourite dishes every other day or if you were a book nerd like me, then enjoying reading novel after novel sitting/ by lazily lying around in different corners of the house.
But I am sure that you guys would now be thinking about the best part of your summer holidays, shall I guess? It’s going to your Granny’s place. Yup, I am sure that each one of us could vividly recall the excitement that coursed through our veins when it was finally time to go to our granny’s place and how as soon as our father/mother returned from the office, we would pounce on them chattering non-stop about all the things that we were gonna do and give them a list of all the delicious food that we were gonna eat at our granny’s place and how, when our mothers would be packing the luggage, we would sneak in colouring books/ our favourite toys/ chocolates/ novels/ any other items that we would want to show our cousins. Of course, you wouldn’t find most of those items on unpacking at your granny’s place as your mother would have just as sneakily put back those items, she’s your mother after all!
In a way, I was fortunate to have the scenic hill station Madikeri as my granny’s place. If you guys are thinking ‘Wow, lucky!’, let me add ghee to that envy fire by telling you all that her place blessed us every day with gorgeous views of the mountains on 3 sides, a narrow pathway beside her house led down in a haphazard manner & then opened onto a mixture of fields & marshes that stretched as far as the eyes could see. But most importantly, the weather remained pleasant throughout the summer with nights so cool that we would use rugs even in summer. At that time though, for me, the main reason for looking forward to going to her place was not because of the scenic views it offered, but because of the chance of getting to spend lots & lots of time with my cousins & yum!!! also because of all the delicious food that our granny (whom we call as Dodammi) used to make.
At this point, it would be rude of me if I didn’t introduce you all to my co-conspirators aka MY COUSINS. This is us, sitting in a chronological order by age.
- Samskruthi aka Kruthiakka- the eldest cousin, who didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She was a favourite of not only our mothers but also of us cousins & was usually given the responsibility of making sure that we didn’t get into too many troubles. No easy job!
- Sambrama aka Sambramakka- 2 years younger than Kruthiakka, an animal lover (and also all creepy crawly insects lover) who had the habit of always bumping her head on door frames or on windows (or one time, while playing cricket, instead of hitting the ball, she whacked her own face with a cricket bat) right on the day before she would travel to any place.
- Hithyshi- 2 years younger than Sambramakka & older to me by 6 months. She was that quiet cousin amongst us who never questioned any of our ridiculous plans & possessed the super power of holding food in her mouth without swallowing or spitting it out, sometimes for even up to 1 hour, wow!!
- Then there was me. Though my hands are itching now to write about how much of a sweet & innocent kid I was, the thought that my mother wouldn’t hesitate to create another blog & dedicate an entire post just to say as to how I was the exact opposite is stopping me from doing so.
- Sukruth- 2 years younger than me, who, though was Kruthiakka’s brother, shared the most similarities with me. We were the only ones who stayed inside the house when the others played with the dogs outside (as we both were afraid of dogs), we also had this common hatred for snails & for all insects & were also the ones to get into trouble most of the times.
(Also in the above picture, sitting on Kruthiakka’s lap & managing to look like an absolute angel in spite of giving a weird expression is my sister Drushya, who I believe to this day, to have missed out on her chances to get featured in a Johnson’s baby powder ad! The boy who looks like he’s trying to free himself from Sukruth’s clutch is Hithyshi’s brother Sharu).
For many years, it was just the 5 of us, before Hithyshi’s brother, my sister & our Uncle’s son completed the whole grandchildren brood. The adventures that us 5 cousins had, couldn’t be completed in just 1 blog post. So, in the series ‘Summers in Madikeri‘, I would be chronicling many adventures and misadventures that us cousins got into during our summer holidays at Dodammi’s place. Hope you guys enjoy reading them as much as I am having in walking down the memory lane & collecting these stories.
Diya- oil lamp, usually made from clay with cotton wick dipped in ghee or oil.
Click on the links below for the rest of the stories in this series.