Summer of 2022 is here and and the school summer break are around the corner. The temperature at my place has just touched 37 degree and the air conditioners (AC) are functioning full blast. The heaters had barely been packed and the ACs came into action. Fans on their own could not provide the comfort even for a month.
My mind goes back to my childhood. How much life has changed in last 40 years? There was a time when one could play cricket all day long and not feel the heat and now, I just do not feel like moving out of the home during daytime. Age off course is a factor but bigger reason is getting used to the comfort provided by the ACs.
The summer break and travel….
Back then summers were the time for family bonding/ reunions and travels. The school summer break used to be eagerly awaited by all families. This was the time when most people travelled back to their roots, their villages to meet the parents/ grandparents/ relatives. Packing for the travel was an exercise.
Deliberate planning was needed to pack stuff for a vacation of one/ two months. Going on vacation for two months Train reservations used to be done well in advance to travel back to villages/ hometowns. Trains used to be overloaded with people with most travelling in second class (Hardly any train had AC, or First class compartments those days).
Second class train travel had its own charm. In 24 to 48 hours journey so many new relationships started. There was so much to talk to that one did not feel the need of an ac even when the sun was burning at 45 degrees outside. Today when even a few hours flight seems so long undertaking a long train journey is out of question.
Bonding at home….
All uncles, aunts and cousins could adjust so easily. The size of the house or numbers of rooms did not matter. All day long we used to be playing and at night the beds used to be spread on the floors on which all 5/ 10 kids would sleep together. Today a guest arriving/ staying for even a couple of days becomes a headache.
Most homes had just one toilet which could suffice for 10 to 15 members during the summer break and now even a bathroom attached to every bedroom at times appears less for a couple.
Power cuts were an integral part of summers. The power used to be cut religiously at 10 pm every night for mandatory load shedding. As soon as the lights went off all the kids would run out happy as they got that extra one/ two hour to play. The dark nights favoured the game of hide and seek.
All the ladies would sit in one corner exchanging the daily notes as the kids played. The men as usual utilised that time to discuss politics. Today the backup generators/ inverters deprive the city kids of this fun moments of bonding. Where the power backup facility is not available a suitable/ safe area is not available for kids to play. Anyways, hardly any parent would let the kid step out of the home post 10 pm at night.
Gone are the days when happiness was not dependent on the availability of an ac or a generator at home, when even a power cut at night could be a reason for joy for kids. We are getting more and more confined to four walls of our own homes not willing to share our comfort with anyone else. People look for reasons for not travelling back to their villages. Family re-unions only take place during some marriage function. The annual ritual of going back to ancestral home to meet parents/ grandparents during summer school break has long been forgotten. The breaks are utilised for attending extra coaching classes to get a better score in exams. How many students actually benefit from the coaching classes is a matter of separate debate.