The summer vacation looms large

Being a child at home alone in the summer is a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you.
Erma Bombeck

Its that time of the year again when the child starts dreading the arrival of the postman and conspires along with his fellow three foot highs to waylay the unfortunate soul who valiantly bears the missives from their schools informing us parents of the fact that them kids have been spending the entire 10 months of the year gone past by making paper aeroplanes of their assignment sheets and winging it to the back of the teacher’s head whenever she stands back towards them, in an attempt to get something written on the blackboard. Honestly, I think things are going to reach a horrific situation wherein the teacher will no longer dare turn her back to the class, but instead write out what needs to be written on many blackboards from home itself and lug them into class rather than risk being zinged with a stinger of a rubber band. Okay, I exaggerate. My kid has not yet reached that level of instant expulsion behavior yet, but I have heard of the older children in the school reaching such zeniths. But yes, the spawn of my womb is quite capable of way laying and trussing up the postman and robbing him of all his load. I grew up in innocent times. Times so innocent that the self addressed stamped envelope which had to be handed to the class teacher for the final examination results to be mailed home was personally handed over to the teacher by the mater herself and it bore her office address. I tell you. We have always had trust issues. It has scarred me deeply, and had I been capable of not drifting off into deep and dreamless REM sleep once in supine position, I might have probably considered therapy for it.

Coming back to the moot point, which is the summer holidays coming up in April, you see me watch the days tick past on the calender with the kind of unspoken horror that is primarily seen on the faces of them blonde types in spaghetti strapped vests and tight jeans who are put into horror movies for the primary purpose of running around smack dab straight into the vile undescribable horror and then being slowly and painfully dismembered, when in truth, all they needed to do and which of course is plain common sense to anyone watching the movie fascinated (including yours truly, who by now has earned herself a doctorate on the horror genre, much of which could be shared by the cushion from behind which half the movies are watched), is to run in the opposite direction. And then they go and break up the group and go in different directions which makes it easier for the ghost to get them singly, rather than tackle them in a group, anyway…I digress. I digress enough for the husband to suggest that I missed my calling as a speechgiving politician. The point is that I look forward to around two months of the child being home unfettered in a way I would look forward to a frontal lobotomy without anaesthesia. I’m sure the child would beg to differ. And the fact also does remain that one is so broke these days that spending a few weeks out of town on holiday is not an option to keep one sane, and off the brink. I’m thinking positive. I’m thinking the schools will declare that they’ve had a rethink about this system of a two month summer vacation and decide to scrap it. They will start with the next grade tout de suite and the children can spend maybe a couple of weeks making us tear our hair out from our scalps by the fistfulls. Keeping it up for two entire months might make the wigmakers happy, and boost their business but would sure have a definite impact on the sales of shampoos and conditioners.

Most parents will spend the first week of their summer vacations manically enrolling their child for summer camps. Now these are wonderful places where you can pack your child off to if you want him or her to learn valuable life skills like papier mache, best of waste, robot making, drawing free hand, speaking extempore, dancing the hip hop hustle and making even more accurately designed paper planes with improved aerodynamics for the next grade. These are also wonderful places where you stand in line from the wee hours of the morning on a single day to grab hold of a registeration form, pay through your nose and nostrils right upto your deviated septum to ensure that you have at least two hours in the day when you dont have the child going “Why?” on a loop in close proximity to your eardrum. You also spend time frantically calling other moms in your schoolgate mom circle and arranging playdates at each others homes to ensure the child can spend at least half a day taking potshots at his friend and vice versa from behind your curtains. You enroll the child in workshops to develop his singing and dancing skills, and if he shows any signs of promise immediately decide to rework his entire daily schedule during school days to include dance and drama class in the hope that even if he manages to graduate by the skin of his teeth, and go no further in the field of professional qualifications, he can still earn his living by being a professional in entertainment. You scan the listings columns in the newspapers with the quiet desperation that comes from seeing the child vegetating in front of Oggy and the Cockroaches and realising that the child knows every single character on CID, and can give you a blow by blow account of how a murder investigation is conducted, down to the dishum dishums which need to be dished out to extract confessions. You figure out interesting kiddy events being held at various malls in the immediate vicinity to which you can drag the brat to, kicking and squalling, to realise, once you reach that the only thing that interests the child is on the top floor of the mall, adjacent to the food court and has noise levels sufficient to fell an unwary water buffalo.

Therefore, I am currently planning out the approaching summer vacation with a great deal of gusto. Plans are afoot to take the spawn of the womb to the native place and have him throw up infinitely on the ride up to the native village nestled deep in the Himalayan mountains. Plans are also on to do a travelling theatre troupe like tour of all the homes of the cousins. Native Pahad land. Pune. Bangalore. These dates are being carefully coordinated with the holiday plans of best friends from the building complex we live in to ensure that we are not left high and dry and alone in the park with the rest of them whooping it up on holiday. I’m chalking out four weeks spent this way. Which leaves me with one month of tearing my hair out in Mumbai. I see one month of deadlines missed, assignments submitted in late and one month of working to a steady stream of calls from home on very important issues regarding the location of a crayon box, or the permission to eat cake instead of lunch, or whether I could come home right now to take Batman out of the commode where he has been flushed in the process of an important scientific experiment to determine whether Batman can be flushed down the commode.

How do your summer vacations go?

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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6 Responses to The summer vacation looms large

  1. Meira says:

    Till 2-3 years back, my summer vacations were like the brat’s . I did have a lot of fun, though you would naturally agree more with my frenzied mother. Now! every weekend is a vacation. Long weekends are a gift of the almighty.

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  2. And don’t forget to let them read. Get some good books and take them to the wonderful world of reading.. Happy vacations…

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  3. 9-12 town recreation camp, 12-2 swimming pool (I carry a picnic lunch), 2-4 at home cooking dinner, reading, showers etc. After 4 till dinner is kind of hard to fill in. Thats when the kids get super bored unless a playdate is arranged. They watch TV and play wii all evening until I am ready to scream!

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  4. Poppy says:

    Only one word stood out for me in that post – Bangalore. Ahh!

    Come come! :)Plans for my summer vacations?
    1. Move house
    2. Do up house
    3. Have people over to show off house.

    LOL.

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  5. kenny says:

    ugh. this is the stuff of horror stories indeed. i had grand plans of a month each with each grandma, learning good things at their knees, but they have both begged off based on various health issues. i am now begging my sister; its just a matter of convincing her she will hardly notice that a third one is amidst her two already existing monkeys… oh well.

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  6. Oh my gosh. I feel so lucky that UK summer holidays don’t start til June/July (so offspring are sufficiently knackered by then) and only 6 weeks long. We usually drag our dear little “angels” off on holidays at some point. Last year we took them up to London for a few days, and I would definitely recommend something like this as we had peace and quiet every evening after they were tired out. Success!

    Lorraine

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