Summers, in most parts of our country, are hot and unpleasant, but summers are also the time when schools close down and we get a long vacation. Though I hate the hot weather which is invariably accompanied by flies and dust, I enjoy the variety of fruits especially the mangoes and lychees. The cool drinks that the mother always keeps ready in the fridge are also very soothing. Above all, I look forward to my father coming home on leave. Being in the navy he is away at sea most of the time. When he comes, we leave for a long stay at some hill station. The cool climate, the greenery all around, the long hikes and the family being together are all things that I eagerly look forward to.
It was the summer when I was in class 7. One morning mother came and broke the news that her father would not be able to come home that summer. He had been put on emergency duty. My sister and I felt like deflated balloons. We sighed at the thought of not going to a hill station and not meeting father until the next holidays and spending 1 ½ month in the hot Delhi summers. On the last day of school, we dragged our feet home, not at all happy at the prospect of having to spend a boring vacation at home.
The first few days were not too bad, as we enjoyed the no-hurry, no-study schedule. The desert cooler, of course, was a great relief. Our family, being, very environmentally conscious. We do not use an AC. we were chatting over cool drinks when the mother waved two blue slips at us. They were the forms of the swimming pool nearby. We could start right away. What a surprise!! When we went there, we met many of our classmates. From that day the pool becomes the center of our vacations. All of us being good swimmers, the coach gave underwater ‘catch’. Mother always packed some sandwiches and fruit juice or a milkshake which we shared with our friends when we strolled back home. The days just flew by, though I missed father and our trip to the hills, summers in Delhi was not so bad after all.