Summer is almost here. I know this because when I turn the corner at the familiar cross roads, the heady whiff of jasmine greets me and tells me that brighter stars, sunnier days and cottony skies are going to visit sometime soon. But the jasmine is not my only messenger………there is a place in my heart that tells me what season it is and I suspect this has something to do with dormant memories that come into their own and take me on a trip down memory lane whenever they wish.

Memories, and I strongly believe in this, go through three stages, first they hurt, then they haunt and then one day they begin to heal. Sometimes they do this all at once………and I know this for a fact, for when the languid afternoons have their siesta outside my window and when a lone bird twitters to remind the world of its presence, I ache like the proverbial Peter Pan for golden summer holidays now relegated to dusty photo albums, and then I heal when I think of the simplicity of the childhood that was.

It doesn’t take me long to escape, all I need to do is close my eyes and like scenes from a sepia film unravelling, I see the dusty roads, gnarled mango trees, summer cubby houses and paper boats sailing down overflowing canals full with the first bounty of the summer rains. Summer was pitchers of “Rasna”, summer was reading Enid Blyton beneath whirring fans, summer was the distant and reverberating friendly shouts on hot, humid evenings till we were summoned indoors after a long day in the sun.

Summer was for catching up with cousins and for having mango eating competitions, summer was for songs sung with gusto on clear starlit nights and summer was for listening to All India Radio sitting on the patio late at night…there was always the friendly neighbour out for a late evening walk and there was always the friendly family from down the block walking back after an impromptu ice-cream session that stopped by for a chat.

When the first summer rains announced their impending arrival, there was the excitement of rushing out to get the clothes off the clothes line, and lingering around till a plump drop of rain teased you as it sloshed down past you to the ground. Long after the rains had disappeared after their quick visit, there was the walking around the neighbourhood with a best friend to hunt down the rawest and the tartiest of green mangoes that were later consumed with chilli and salt over giggles and secrets, as the evening shadows lengthened. Like melted icecream on dusty faces and fading hopscotch lines on garden paths that it was so full of, summer was a magical journey that brought forth a new adventure everyday.

One day just like that the season would change its moods, the summer holidays would end, bags would be packed, cousins given the fond farewell and the dog eared school books reclaimed from their holiday. Just like that school uniforms would make their appearance, and the monsoons would really and truly roar outside the windows and the summer just spent would find its way in a school essay and a letter written to a friend far away. But there was hope, for the cycle repeated itself…or atleast I thought it repeated itself.

It must have been gradual, now that I think about it, but there came an year when I left the dusty roads, the terraced house and the golden summer behind. It hurt first, it hurt because I learnt that you truly cannot walk some paths more than once…later it haunted me that the house and the summer and the garden I left behind were probably still going through nature’s serenade without me. And one day when a bird sang somewhere and disrupted the placid monotony of the afternoon, I suddenly realized that you never lose any summer you have lived and that the cornflower skies and the memories of the magical afternoons once savoured were forever safely encased in my heart. I also realized that my heart had its own seasons, waiting to be re-lived at will and that if I heard long enough, I could hear the muffled giggles, the patter of excited feet and clang of bicycles on the tarred roads that were hot with the unrelenting sun.

It was then that the healing began……


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. priyamvada
    Feb 20, 2008 @ 18:32:02

    This brought tears to my eyes. How beautifully you describe the summers, and how palpable is the nostalgia that throbs through these sentences!! “My heart had its own seasons…” I don’t know. Still too afraid to turn some sepia-tinted pages.



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