This year I am “Indi-spired “ to increase my vocabulary as much as possible, so I looked up the dictionary for the meaning of vacation. We’ll look at it along the way.
Once upon a time Vacation began on April 11th and would be over on May 22nd.it fixed, and Bhima-ajja my grandfather’s brother would come home riding on the Java motorcycle he owned and we would zoom down the dread perampalli forest, ambagilu, over the Kalyanpur river, and turn right into Kolagiri to Belmaar, where all of us would collect, and vacation meant sugarcane fields (mouth ulcers due to over eating of sugarcane), mangoes off the tree (a challenged intestine due to over-eating again) cashew apples, and sore throat due to binging. Vacation meant stories from Kittadoddamma and Padmavati-amma. Jaggery coffee with Melmatta ajja, We would walk distances of 7 -10 kilometers, without bothering about the heat, while today I cannot think of stepping out without my two-wheeler.
We would move from one cousins house to the other, entire battalion of cousins, it was a peak into the adult world that was shut to us during school. The politics of Jayanthi who came to milk the cows, the romance of kitta and lakki who tended to the sheep and worked as farm hands. The proposed alliance between Mala aunty and the third son of Neelavara Udupa so things went on. there were weddings to attend, and Jatre to go to, night long Yakshagana it was a respite.
The rest of the cousins had absolute freedom, while my mother would insist on holiday homework of one page each of English, Kannada and Hindi copy writing and revision of maths exercise of the year gone and tables one each written five times. Of course we did learn how to bend these rules, yet we did finish the homework.
October holidays were shorter 3rd October to 28th October we visited some out of state relative or went for a conference with dad, that meant we got to see new places and meet a different set of people. That was fun in its own way.
By the time we reached college vacation took a different meaning, though it still meant travelling like true Indians we went to places where we could avail home hospitality and catch up with cousins our peer group. These were the days before summer camps and holiday “personality building” and “talent grooming”. We really relaxed, recuperated, and were rejuvenated. When we returned to school we were thoroughly bored out by the fag end of the vacation and were rearing to meet our friends and plan new horrendous activities to harass the teachers.
With motherhood vacation came to mean intermission and respite or time of respite from something, like the morning rush of packing two lunch boxes before 7.15 am, rushing to pick thick the kids from school, dropping them to classes, handing the cooking, laundry, tidying, dusting, de-cluttering, and my clinic I would just drop the kids at my mother’s place. While I interacted with other kids, as resource person for various workshops. that was my vacation time.
Since I seem to reporting instead of storytelling or narrating, its time I vacate this slot, that is leave this space until the storyteller returns… the last meaning of vacation in Merriam-Webster the act of vacating.