Summer of ’02
WINTER… my favourite time of the year… and yet I have never experienced snow ever in all these years. I guess I can say that I have always managed to be in the right city at the wrong time. March is nearly here and Spring is fast approaching. It’s that time of the year when everything comes to life… When colors radiate and flowers blossom and the warm light of the sun pierces through the ever so cold rigid layer of the atmosphere. Spring is here. Summer …just around the corner..!
As we grow older, we tend to stop appreciating the change of seasons… it becomes a part of daily life. The very thing that, when we were younger we valued so much more… Summer is on its way. That meant alot to me as a kid. It meant the end of examinations. it meant the end of a school year. It meant the beginning of months of freedom from studying or learning and to take time off from what would be called competing in a fast-paced crazy world !!
I remember staying up late… doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING..!!! But doing it only because… I could… since it was the summer break. Lazing around all day… or running around and playing video games and eating and sleeping and maybe getting into summer sports camps or meeting friends, watching movies and what I looked forward to the most… Visitiing my Grandparents!! Life was always simple, but like i said, everyday was highly valued.
If I know one thing about Life… it is that nothing is Permanent. Change is Inevitable. Summer of 2002. A milestone year in my life. I was advancing from Grade 9 to 10. The Final Year of Schooling and the beginning of some serious examination studying.
Even though it was a year away, thats just how it is… start early… Tutor lessons during the summer break is a must. Its not an option… its a neccessity.. whether you are the brightest of brightest or the dullest of dullest. Getting tutored was a must to succeed.
Mathematics, Sciences, History, Geography … and the list goes on. I guess the only fun part about these summer lessons was that you got to spend time with friends. To play pranks, be stupid but mostly to realise that you are not alone and that everyone is going through the same feeling of wanting to be out and playing and painting the town red but having to sit down in a dull room and feel its stagnant air envelope around us while we are trying to learn formulaes for algebra.
The only time we got to really experience the summer the way we wanted it, was when tutoring was halted in the last few weeks of May, the last few weeks before schooling restarted and before we took on our toughest challenge yet…
A few of my close friends and I planned a trip to a nearby town, about 5-6 hours drive just off the city of Mumbai to this really beautifully designed resort owned by a very close friend of my parents. A few of us had been there before… whenever we got a chance… i remember spending it there with my family or friends. It always felt great.
The drive was what got the excitement started. We drove down a newly built expressway leading into the nearby towns only to realise that we were headed in the wrong direction and that we never needed to get on to the expressway. It was hilarious. Having realised this, One of my friends and me decided to find and hope for a gap in the expressway to switch and turn around on to the other side. To my surprise, we actually found one but overshot it slightly as it was a small gap and not easily visible.
What happened next was the most bizarre thing we ever did. My friend decided to halt the car on the expressway where cars are moving at speeds exceeding 100km/h and not only did we stop, we reversed the car about 200 metres to go back to the gap, to switch to the opposite side of the expressway. Its one of those funny stupid exciting things that dont happen on a day to day basis. So after this small strange incident we were back on track and headed to the resort.
The best part about this resort was, having our own room and feeling like we owned the place. walk around and do whatever we want, order exceedingly large quantities of food which was extremely delicious. Go by the pool relax .. play games… and more importantly spend time with my closest friends.
I remember the manager of the restaurant there. His name was Michael Jackson. Fascinating. Although he couldnt dance like him nor did he talk or behave like him and I surely hope he didn’t like young boys like MJ did… lol… since i was a young boy then!
That summer is special. 2002. To me, it felt like this was the beginning of something and also probably the end of something else. Thats just how it felt. Having visited that resort countless number of times with my family from a very young age, when my parents used to make sudden plans of driving down there with friends late at night and spending the weekend there and enjoying the warm relaxed lazy summer weather with the occasional rain shower in that hilly region where you could see a beautiful waterfall forming from the rain water miles away on a vegetated part of the hill…which made the surroundings even more breath taking.
So here I was… packing up and getting ready to leave to go back into the city and to the new year in school. It was a Sunday. I hate Sundays. They depress me. They always have. Somehow all the fun ends on a Sunday and here i was, on yet another depressing day ready to leave The Windmill (that was the name of the resort).
Something made me feel very excited that day and veryy veryy sad too. It was an emotion I have never felt before. It was just a feeling… that I knew this was the end of that part of my life. The early teen growing years of fun and frolic and not having to worry about anything in the world. What made me sadder was this feeling that I may never come back to the Windmill again, not like this, not with friends atleast and as unbeliveable as it may sound. Even though i tried for years later… I never ever went back.
All good things come to an end. Thats just how it is. We did plan to make another trip here sometime soon but funnily enough we all knew that this would never happen again. We were uncertain, There was nothing to say, it was just something we felt. On my way back, the drive was quiet, all of us in a pensive mood thinking about the fun filled weekend. It was my last summer being in school and my most memorable.