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Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

08 April 2011


I think my title says it all. It’s only Day 3 of Caitlyn’s school holidays and I’m already waiting for them to end. She’s got a tea-party, a visit to see farm animals, a birthday party, story time at the library, and a couple of play-dates lined up. Surely school holidays were not that stressful for my parents when I was a kid. What happened??? Thirty-odd years of so-called progress, that’s what!

For the next 21 days, I need to keep Caitlyn occupied – and myself sane. It’s not that she’s a demanding child – far from it. But let’s face it, our kids live in a society where info-tech rules and entertainment is available on tap. They expect to be enthralled and engrossed in something 24x7.

I’m not deriding modern living; that’s just the way it is. Each generation develops technology (and therefore, opportunities) far advanced to what its predecessors had – they’ve got Blu-Rays to our VCRs; iPhones to our obsolete rotary dial telephones; Wii 2 to the real-life games we used to play. That’s evolution for you.

When I was a kid, school holidays meant a month or two of relaxing, taking a breather, busy doing nothing. I’ m not saying we sat on the couch watching TV all day – far from it. In any case, all we had were two lousy channels (Doordarshan 1 & 2) and a black & white TV to watch them on! So how did we spend our time?

These are my memories of school holidays:

• Learning to cycle in the street. Grazed elbows and knees (no pads or helmets) were my badges of honour – and one unforgettable fall into a mucky gutter which ruined my new pants.

• Spending one day a week with my other grandma, Nana Violet. After a filling lunch of fish curry and rice, my grandma would retire for her ‘nana nap’. That’s when my cousins and I would scrape out the red mud from her potted lilies to 'cook our own curry’.

• Playing with the neighbourhood kids in each others’ compounds, jumping over adjoining walls and even running through the lanes with not a parent in sight. Raucous, riotous games of Dabba Gool (Kicking the Can), Kho-Kho, badminton and Chain-Cook were punctuated only by short 'water-breaks'. And then it was back to our fun (and fights!) till we were summoned home for lunch.

• Going to the “khandi” at Bandra Bandstand (our local beach, if you can call it that). We’d climb over the sharp but slippery rocks – trying not to stare at the couples making out there – to collect cockles which were taken home to be boiled and prodded out of their shells with a pin. Rubbery morsels of delight.

• Collecting kairi (raw mangoes – sure to set your teeth on edge), tamarind (ditto) and love apples from the neighbourhood trees and then dividing the spoils.

• Joining the Summer Holiday Camp at St. Peter’s Church (in Bandra, not Rome!). We could spend all day at the Centre, immersed in the gazillion comics and books, playing games like carom, Ludo and Snakes ‘n’ Ladders with new friends, trying our luck at throw-ball and dodge-ball... And at the end of the month, a contest for the best and brightest!

How did you spend your school holidays when you were a child? Any shenanigans that stand out? Tell us!

1 comment:

  1. Going to a hill-station like Mahableshwar or Matheran to escape the Bombay heat and buying those jelly sweets over there... Brings back memories!


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