Summer vacation was just a mere two weeks keeping in mind that schools remained close for two whole months in winter. I never minded this arrangement after all who wants to have school works during the festive season and also, it would be torturous to sit in a classroom without a heater or fire. Like everybody else, I still looked forward to this break though there was never much to expect. Out of these fourteen days, at least nine would be washed out by the incessant rain and the teachers always took this opportunity to dump all sorts of assignments. There was little choice but to tether oneself inside the house and look out of the window waiting for the rain to stop. But I was never that stupid to ruin my Summer vacation by finishing my assignments on time. I always saved for the last day before school opened.
I used to envy my classmates and friends in the neighborhood who would visit their villages during this time. Any long break meant days without friends because they would all be gone. I wished for my village to be located somewhere far away and complained to my mother who tried to convince me of our good fortune. It was a misery those days to be just fifteen minutes away from my village.
My mother would take me to her workplace one of these days and that was supposed to be a treat. It was like visiting family and friends, with familiar faces and voices everywhere. She shared a room cramped up with five outdated desks and five outdated steel lockers filled up with files and maps for they were in the department of land revenue. I could never understand what kind of work they did in that room though from time to time, two of the ladies would start hitting the keys of their type-writers. And after a couple of hours, I would ask her if it was time to go home yet.
Summer break is also the time when paddy is transferred to the water-logged terraced fields. My family didn’t cultivate but we all felt the importance of the transplanting season. Each year we were invited to help in our Grandmother’s field which was always a big picnic. That day would be a happy day for everybody, young and old. At first, we would all try to stay clean but after a fall or two from slipping from the mud, we would just give up and not mind the mud or the rain. Her field was huge and required a lot of help. There would be people in the dry field uprooting the rice plants, somebody would be transporting them to the main field, some would be overturning the mud with their spades and some planting the paddy. The grand-children were just there to have fun. At lunch time, everybody would gather outside the small hut in the midst of the field and enjoy the meal cooked there itself by an aunt or two. It would be a feast. It was so peaceful, no sound of machines, just the songs of birds and water flowing all around. After the work was done, the children would head to the small stream where we pretended to wash off the dirt. The day at my Grandmother’s paddy field had been the echoing highlight of all my summer breaks till the year she had to stop visiting her field.