The summer of 2020, that never was

As a restrictive lockdown put paid to our plans for the summer, kids take time to reminisce about the vacations gone by and holiday stapes that came with it
The summer of 2020, that never was

I miss getting drenched in sweat after hours of playing with my friends. I would usually collect money and use it to buy ice-creams. Because children cannot step out of the building alone, the security guard would buy it for us. We would just give him the money. Also, I am a foodie. So, I would make impromptu plans to go out and eat quite a lot with family.

Be it the backwaters of Kerala or the pristine beaches of Goa, my family and I have always headed out of the city as soon as summer vacations begin. This year, we had already planned to go to Alibaug. We had already checked out the activities and restaurants we wanted to experience. This is my favourite part of planning a vacation. I get to experience so many new things and have fun with my family. Both my parents work, so summer vacation is the one time in the year when we are with each other, having fun for an entire month. The lockdown has kept us inside the house for over a month now, but it is different from spending the same time vacationing. I miss the excitement of travelling.

This is the last year I would have been able to fully enjoy my summer vacation. From next year onwards, my extra classes will take up most of my time. Had the corona outbreak not happened, my family and I would have visited my grandmother in Tuticorin. It’s my most favourite place in the world. I love the beaches and blue waters there. Her house is a little away from the city and on the coast, so I would have been able to spend all my time on the beach without worrying about social distancing. My siblings and I have been spending summer vacations at my grandmother’s house ever since we were little. All my cousins also come down from different cities and we have a big reunion. This year we have to make do with a Zoom call. My grandma showed us the beautiful beaches on her cam recorder. I can’t wait for it to be safe enough to even visit the beaches in Chennai. For now, I can pretend I’m with my grandmother and be happy at least.

As we are experiencing a global pandemic and dealing with surreal invasiveness, it’s safe to say that most of us are missing our perpetual summer holiday plans. I know I am. I miss those trips to places like Vienna; riding on a chariot on cobblestoned streets; cafes across every corner and the afterglow of sunsets prolonging the horizon, feasting my eyes on majestic shows led by gallant horses waltzing across the stage.

Summer holidays have always been special. We usually take a trip to our native — Pattamadai, a village situated 30-odd km from Tirunelveli junction. It is set right between lush green fields and on the bank of Tamirabarani river. From spending time with my cousins, playing on the road, taking a dip in the aathangarai to just sitting on the thinnai and enjoying the breeze by a 100-year-old banyan tree — I miss it all. Apart from that, summer means that I get to play cricket and football with my friends the whole day. I miss that too. I also miss not having to study during summers. This time, due to Corona, I have to attend online classes.

I love my school and my friends. But if there’s anything I love more than that, it’s my large, loving, crazy family! My family lives in different cities across India and so we only get to meet when we go on our annual vacation to Kodaikanal. I have eagerly looked forward to this reunion for as long as I can remember. I am very sad that I won’t be able to see my family this year. This trip means a lot to us and none of us ever like to miss it. The laughter, the endless games and fun times we have cannot be replaced by any amount of Zoom calls, or Facetime sessions. I always come back refreshed, a lot calmer and relaxed. Even though I fill my time with other hobbies now, it doesn’t feel the same, because nothing can replace being with y o u r family in person.

Summer vacations are the longest and best school vacations. We would go to Marina Beach with my cousin and build sand castles there. Often, we would dine at a pizza restaurant. I would visit my paternal grandparents’ house where my grandfather would narrate tales of castles and kingdoms. Then I would go to my maternal grandparents’ house where my grandfather would indulge me with yummy snacks whenever I was peckish. Also, there is a swing there, on which my little brother and I would swing all day long. Since the lockdown started, I haven’t stepped out of our house. I miss my cycle rides.

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The New Indian Express