Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy holidays!

Summer is here and so are summer vacations! With most schools closed for two months starting this weekend, you can almost feel the holiday euphoria in the air!  Bye-bye to school work, homework and the frenzied mornings and hello to summer sports, camps, summer travel, unstructured play sans curfew and lazy mornings! Seriously... I envy our kids who can take a two month from their regular schedule and so wish we could do the same! Well.... that's what adulthood means! Right???

Like every year, this year too Abhay will spend some part of his vacation at "Shristi", his grandparents farm at Dharmasthala. We are already at Shristi where Abhay will spend his next two weeks after which he's back in Bangalore. Abhay's first day was as action packed as if it were a summer camp of sorts -Sanna-ajji in charge of nature exploration, reading, arts and crafts and dishing out his favourite food and Sanna Ajja  in charge of pet and outdoor play, getting him to eat his favourite food and of course responsible for what might become a daily hazard..... retrieving his origami flying plane from the coconut tree! 

So as a start I read "Holidays have come"  by Rabindranath Tagore and illustrations by Partha Sengupta. Originally published by National Book Trust in Bengali titled "Chutti", this story has been translated into English by a panel of eminent literateurs overseen by Tagore himself. 

Although I picked up this book for its title, (and it's author of course) it's got nothing to do with holidays in that sense.  I am not sure if Abhay fully understood the depth of this story, but the perceptive and poignant narration make it a delight to read. This is a story of the rebellious fourteen year old Phatik Chakravorti who is sent off with his uncle in Kolkotta. A village lad that he is, Phatik feels unwelcome in his uncle's house and is unable to cope with the regimented school life in the city, he then starts to miss his mother, brother and his carefree life in the village. He pleads with his uncle to send him back when his uncle asks him to wait till his holidays. An unpleasant incident at his uncle's house has Phatik trying to escape to his hometown. But as he gets stuck in the storm, he falls terribly ill and the police locate him and bring him back to his uncle's house. Phatik's condition gets serious and his mother is brought in. Phatik who longed to go back home during the holidays, hears his mother's voice and says that holidays have indeed come! I love the author's insightful take on early adolescence and particularly the confused mind of the fourteen year old Phatik, who is many things rolled into one- a rebel, a bully, an affectionate but non-demonstrative brother, nervous student, an unwelcome guest eager to please his exacting aunt and a doting son sorely missing his mother! Ideal for kids aged six and above, this is a moving story of a boy too old to be pampered but too young to understand the hard realities of life! Anyway, on this reflective note.... I take a two week break from blogging on Onestoryaday (a much needed one!) and here's wishing everyone, including Abhay a very happy summer holidays! 

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