Surviving the summer holidays

Surviving the summer holidays
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First Published: Sat, May 24 2008. 12 04 AM IST

No treat: This Panda will land in India after the summer break.
No treat: This Panda will land in India after the summer break.
Updated: Sat, May 24 2008. 12 04 AM IST
Last night, while reading up on Cannes, I was momentarily delighted to know that Kung Fu Panda would release in India. Of course, when the movie’s website flashed 11 July as the release date, I gritted my teeth. Someone ought to tell these studios that summer holidays in India are the best times to get repeat audiences. I, for one, would have watched the movie at least twice at the nearest multiplex, with child and a couple of her friends in tow.
No treat: This Panda will land in India after the summer break.
As a parent of a feisty four-year-old, I am out of ideas on how to entertain the little one, and we have only finished three weeks of vacation time. It’s too hot to let her go outside, swimming for us is a weekend pursuit, she is too young to be enrolled in an activity class (everything is for the six-and-above age group) and we don’t have neighbours who have children with whom she can spend the day safely.
Summer holidays were a busy time for me when I was a child, and it was not the activity class that took care of the time. In that pre-TV, pre-DVD era, reading was a big way to deal with the day, and I was enrolled in the neighbourhood library at the start of every vacation. I would pedal away on my little blue bicycle to the reading room and get a daily dose of Enid Blyton, Amar Chitra Katha and Judy comics.
I think the secret lay in the fact that our parents never obsessed about how to keep us busy. I was bathed, fed breakfast and then left to my own devices until the lunch gong (mom yelling out, same thing). I had to come up with ways to entertain myself. It helped that I had a friend in the building who was the same age, but even when she was not around (unlike me, her grandparents lived outside Delhi), I don’t remember my mother taking time out to keep me engaged. You see, every time I complained I had nothing to do, she would thrust homework books at me, ask me to write an essay on ‘Why I love Summer Vacations’ and, grossest of all, get me to dust the house…eeks!
Now, I can’t really get my firebrand kid to do any of the above so, like obsessive moms of my generation, I have to come up with things for her to do that I hope will help us survive the next 37 days till the little tyke is back on that school bus. Here is what I have come up with (after help from a friend):
# Make sure your child has a couple of “best friends” who live nearby and can come to spend the day or invite your child over at least once a week. That’s a whole day taken care of.
# I know a water crisis is looming in most parts of Delhi, but I find that letting your child have a long bath on most days eats away into the morning. That leaves post-noon to tackle, and that’s not so bad.
# Get (beg might be better) the office to chip in and organize a kiddie day for employees with young children. That should be a day a week during summer holidays when children can spend some part of the day with you at work. I am still thinking about how to pitch that one to the bosses.
Any other ideas will be welcome.
Meanwhile, if you ever wondered how and why art, fashion, music, movies always seem to have a link with each other, you can find that in my colleague Sidin Vadukut’s fortnightly column ‘What are you saying?’, which begins this week. When I finished reading the column, I couldn’t help asking Sidin how in the world he found the connection between ‘Jones and Bones’?
That is the reaction he hopes to get from you, too.
Priya Ramani is away until August. Catch up on her travels at Blogs.livemint.com
Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, May 24 2008. 12 04 AM IST