Before the summer of my 15th year, there had been only two types of summer vacation: first the one where I would be parked evermore on my bed, watching the ceaseless repeats of Doraemon (for lack of anything to watch) and Phineas & Ferb (because that was primetime in our household), with sides of Disney movies like Tangled, in constant competition with compilations of Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid’s finest innings. The epitome of this sort of summer was the summer of 2012, when it was just me, my sister and my grandmom. Ah, that was the stuff. The second type is, of course, vacationing out of this god forbidden, sweltering country. Sweden, or even anywhere north of Mongolia, was a prime candidate, and add a good dose of theme parks and ball-thwacking to that, and voila, you have my summer of 2013.
2014 was spent parked for a large part in my room, which would have been really nice if not for two important factors: a nine o’ clock French class, which is way too early for anything, and my mom. You know my pain.
2015 was spent on rollercoasters in Florida (an essential, mainstream vacation. Well, so was Paris: two of the most visited places in the world) and enjoying the greasy delights of the like found only in Bill Bryson’s America.
Add to all this the IPL, which, for all the reason I want it to be scrapped and drawn up again with Shudh Plus Atta not sponsoring the Gujarat Lions and the Mumbai Indians to be renamed to something more sensible and less obnoxious (Mumbai A-Fourth-Grader-Could-Name-Us-Better, for instance. I also have a fantasy about someone walking up to the owners and asking them to buy a team named, say, Dhaka Bangladeshi or Colombo Sri Lankans. They’d laugh, call it stupid, and then be caught on tape as their eyes become rounder than a Saxon shield), and the summers are nicely rounded off.
Which type do I like more? That depends on which part of my psyche feels more desperate- the part that does not want to move further than the bathroom door, or the part that wants to get as far away as possible from mom, and this city, without her, or this city, snapping my head off.
That is why the first half of this year was so perfect- an amalgam of these two, which allowed me to get out yet sit on my ass all day. Ahhhh bliss.
Then I took the Bhopal Express on the evening of 15th May back home.
Turn the Big Ben hour arm back roughly 8760 times. The summer of 2016. This was the lead up to our trip to Bangkok for the World Scholars Cup. We had to study, of course- something we actively shirked. I had to study with my friends who we’ll call Aditya and Vaidik- for no other reason than those being their names and me trying to be clever- and it was therefore fun. It was also a syllabus that allowed for imagination let loose, especially as we were never expecting to win and weren’t half-assing it either- a mix that allowed us to goof off for a large part while also helping us come back home satisfied (well, two-thirds of our full contingent at least). That was between my eighth and ninth grades.
Bring that hour arm back 8760 turns clockwise (well, I’m sorry, but I wrote all of this, and you, dear reader, need to make some effort). Already in the tenth grade, with my board exams six months away, with the clock ticking, this summer, to quote Maroon 5, was gonna hurt like a *CENSORED* (I don’t know how many younger kids read this).
Half my summer break was a break. The other half, a rightful break, became a prep leave for my terms in June. Sometimes my school is ruthless, and not in a cool, vigilante-ish way, but a weird-girl-from-Nemo way. In a crazy-Roman-emperor way.
I really don’t understand why we need four term exams, a unit test and a culminating board exam in the space of fourteen months. A bit extreme, don’t you think? I don’t need an exam to prove I know jack about the square root of polarized phosphoric amphibians industrially manufactured in Soviet Russia called complements des objets indirects. Just look at my past results, man. It isn’t very probable that my fifty percent in chemistry is going to become a ninety any time soon. Unless I get the most susceptible-to-bribery examiner ever.
The fag end of this summer isn’t worth mentioning in that reminiscing first paragraph of summers gone by. That being said, the summer after I graduate is going to be legendary. I’m only going to be fourteen when tenth grade ends, after all. I can afford a few years spent on a hopelessly angsty, alcohol-induced run across Europe with anyone other than my mother and sister, or maybe even alone.
For all I know, that run is going to pass while I Airbnb a place in Hamburg or Copenhagen or Lisbon, or maybe even an obscure corner in Greece or Bulgaria where I have rented off a swab of land and acquired a TV to watch the gadget cat from the future.