" Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again..." Only it was not Daphne's Manderlay nor was the mood so gloomy and intimidating. On the contrary, it was of my home that I dreamt of, for the last six to seven months, much like the desperate seeking even the faintest signs of succour. Much like Scarlet O'Hara's well of strength in Tara or the promise to herself " After all ...tomorrow is another day."
Err... I may not be in as complicated a situation as the two protagonists whom I invoke, but let's face it there are times when many of us just want to throw up our hands and scream " Enough is Enough", to whoever cares to listen to. And so I did. And no sir, I did not feel guilty of making my daughter bunk two 'working days' before the school closed for summers. It was a choice between waiting decently like a good mother for the school to break off for vacations or me breaking down. I chose to avoid the latter.
Oh yes! These books within whose pages my imagination took flights into exotic lands and fantastic possibilities, were stacked neatly to be devoured by our children. They already have plans of lazing on the hammock squealing away with Archie, Tintin and Obelisk for company and climbing the Faraway Tree. The younger daughter has already warned me she is in granny's territory so my 'no TV' edict does not hold good. I let her be. It's vacation time for all.
As dusk set in, we sat in the verandah sharing the oft repeated anecdotes, never tiring of the repetitions. My father, of his childhood days about the self made bunkers, the World War soldiers travelling by, the Great Big Earthquake of 1950, the naughty antics. And me, of our childhood spent in our granny's home, of loitering around her fields and fruit orchards like vagabonds, of catching fireflies in the evenings and squabbling and sharing secrets with cousins, of granny's partiality towards the grandaughters and shooing away the grandsons. Old friends gathered and we talked and giggled away treading the leaves in the nostalgia filled lanes. Uncles and aunts descended to look up the girls and remark, " Oh! How they have grown!", " Look at you, you have lost so much weight and colour!" although I weighed a sack more than I did in my last visit. Between the sips of the red liquor brewed from garden fresh tea leaves,( always a complementary for almost every household from a relative working in the gardens) hushed tones and sideward glances were dying to share the latest family gossip, scandal and politics. When there is an extended gargantuan family, be assured of interesting notes replete with the unmentionables and the 'tsk tsk' inspiring, straining to tumble out of the closet.