Vacation was the best time, when we used to play the whole day. Going for morning walk was a big enjoyment, those of us staying in the ground floor houses would spread cots( known as chaarpais, and made of wooden legs , frame and choir ropes) outside the house. Those who stayed in the first floor would sleep on cots spread on the terrace. You know what, the terraces were connected,and we felt secure and not scared of intruders, as we had all friendly neighbours around. Thus, in the mornings, whoever woke up first would wake up the rest of us and we would go in group of 8 to 10 children for walk and to play in the park. we used to return by 9 or so, and after our bath and morning rituals would assemble at one of the houses, and indulge in different indoor games, reading or simply gossiping. There were no televisions those days, so we connected to our friends and cousins beautifully. We also read a lot and once or twice during the vacation we would be taken for a picnic to the zoo or for a movie. Another ritual we followed was, in the forenoon, a group of us would go to the local baker and get cookies made. We used to take sugar, milk, vegetable oil and wheat flour and come back loaded with big tins or canisters of cookies. Such wonderful cookies you can't get now. no adulteration, no artificial flavour… wow Namya,,, that was heaven!
Guess what my love, we had no maggi or burger or the fast foods you get now, to curb our frequent hunger pangs. We however had lots of fresh fruits like blue berries, guavas, and mangoes in almost all houses and then of course we made quick snacks on our own, like panjeeri..a sweet from wheat flour sugar and a dash of clarified butter, in a jiffy. Life was much simpler and smoother those days my dear. The air was not polluted, water we got was pure, and the fruits and vegetables totally fresh..so much so that we didn't fear eating from the local sweet shop or snacks corner..which of course was not a regular affair, but an occasional treat. Well..those were the days... We never felt the need to travel just with the family in a car, for us going in public transport was true enjoyment of travelling. Entertainment was, to play indoor games in the hot after noons and park games till late evening, or going for watching movies or circuses with lots of friends, or even visiting places like monuments or zoo. Newspapers gave us all the news we had to know, as reading newspapers was a regular morning ritual for us at home and also in school morning assemblies.
In school too we never faced any bullying or problems, but enjoyed our time there. Learning was not a task. I enjoyed school and college and studies so much that till my late 50's I found learning a thrill.Regular studies, and attention in class was a common thing and tuitions after school hours was not anyone took pride in. I don't remember going for any special coaching to prepare for any examination.
It was in 1968 that I crossed from school to college life. College , friends and teachers constituted a beautiful world for us . Our generation had no fear of going out to local markets alone, we had no fear of travelling in local transport from university even late evening or 8-O clock at night. Totally secure we girls felt. Compared to what insecurity and fear of molestation or assault the youngsters face now, we were very secure and socially well cared for.Till 1975 I spent beautiful years learning, enjoying and empowering myself. Believe me my love, learning was an enjoyment and not at all a strain.
The two plus decades of life in a middle class family in Delhi and that too in a government residential area was something I wouldn't have traded for life in today's metropolis , today's Delhi/NCR. How I wish my darling Namya and her friends too would have such a carefree socially secure and enjoyable years of school and college life!!!