The Summer of 89


Summer season is fun because …

It reminds me of amma and grand mom making karuvadams . To women in the Southern part of India , summer means not putting to waste the sunlight and churning out vadams or home made fryums using tomatoes, garlic, green chillies and rice flour
 
It reminds me of watching over the vadams as they get sun burnt  on the terrace lest the crows eat them
It reminds me of peeling off half cooked vadams from the terrace and relishing them
 
It reminds me of bringing in the vadams during dusk, mom cooking the sun-burnt ones over oil , relishing and providing feedback to mom
 
Summer reminds me of mangoes, the banganapallis, the maa-vadoos and Vadu mango pickles and the mouth watering , spicy Aavakkai , a speciality of Andhra
 
Summer reminds me of Rama navami and preparing Paanagam ( a sweet drink done using jaggery and pepper) and Neer moru  , to beat the summer heat
 
Summer reminds me of Tamil New year where we plucked neem leaves off the trees to make a spicy, tangy sweet pachadi – signifying life is comprised of sweet sour and bitter memories
 
To most South Indian girls, summer reminds them of learning to draw elaborate rangolis early in the morning or playing a game called Pallan kuzhi using tamarind seeds on hot summer afternoons
 
Summer also meant learning to plait your own hair , the rettai jadai it was called, though amma did it on all school days nice and tight
Summer also meant spending hours together in weaving  a basket, was it nylon???
Summer also meant learning to string together flowers from the garden.Not sure if the December poo was available in summer, but I remember now  the flowers in light pink and dark violet. The kanakambaram , orange flowers. What a craze that was to sport december poo on neatly plaited and oiled hair.
For boys , it would mean playing cricket all day long.
 
It would mean climbing guava trees and pulling down guavas
 
To boys, it would mean chasing trucks carrying mangoes and trying to steal a few, and getting chased away by the driver
 
Summer also meant gulping one glass after another of Rasna
 
Summer also meant waiting for the post man to arrive on the day the exam results get declared. A brown color post card that carried the word “PASS” would thrill us beyond words
 
Summer also reminds me  of “Panam Noongu” , the fruits of the plam tree, the juicy viscous fluidic substance  that was gulped down
 
Summer also reminds me of another sweet fruit called the melon, cut into bits  , mixed with sugar , it makes for a mouth watering dessert
Summer also meant taking the only train from Neyveli to Bangalore,relishing on Kovaikai curry because we never got Kovakkai or capsicum in Neyveli.It also meant stuffing some of these on the journey back home.
Summer also meant sitting in the balcony in grand ma’s home in Basavanagudi and watching the street vendors go “Sopooooooi”
Summer also meant the walk to Lalbaugh and enjoying the greenery and the tall trees.
 
Summer also reminds me of  purchasing lekhak  books , brown paper covers , colorful labels and sitting down as a family and wrapping up the notebooks and textbooks for the next academic year
 
…and finally
 
Summer meant buying new canvas shoes and school uniforms to be flaunted on the first day of school