Childhood · Happiness · Life · London · Memories · Seasons · Sunshine · Travel

What’s New This Summer?

Summers are a promise of activity, cheer and adventure. It is that beautiful time of the year when everything around us is in full bloom – be it the gardens, or the massive sales in the mall. As the bright sunshine sprawls all around, refrigerators are stocked with bottles of juices, ciders and white wines. All the parks look greener than ever before, and are dotted with people soaking up the sun, walking their dogs, or just playing with kids – the colourful sights we don’t get tired of! Picnics with friends and prolonged outdoorsy evenings crawl back into our routine; all those stylish dresses, skirts and tops make a much awaited come back and suddenly, days seem so full of possibility! I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said people seem happier in summer – they actually are!

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August sun shining on Lake Windermere!

That’s how the last three English summers have been for me. And, in all honesty, all of this wonderfulness lasts about two weeks every year. Maybe three, if you can put up with the downpour during the third week, without a scowl.

In my tropical mind, it is not summer if I am wearing a coat to work, or walking to Waitrose with my umbrella receiving some pitter-patter! Unless I spend at least two months sweating it out, drinking copious amounts of Rooh Afza and gulping down scores of mango pieces after every meal, it does not qualify as a well-lived summer. As a kid, the summer season was synonymous with vacation time with family, and that meant long train journeys to Granny’s towns. Splitting our time between the paternal and maternal sides of my family, these vacations were all about reconnecting with parts of me scattered in many places, within the lives of so many. The emphasis also used to be on learning something new each year. From learning to sow, to making own paper envelopes, to writing letters, to learning to recite morning prayers in Sanskrit, to mastering the game of Brainvita and Solitaire! A new skill, something exciting, and spending time with people to create fond memories of, perhaps to look back upon on a day like this.

I am sitting in my balcony having the last bite of what was a delicious Coffee & Walnut flavoured cake that I bought from Waitrose. I almost want to keep this post aside and look for its exact recipe online – it was that yum! A light breeze ruffles my hair, and I get back to thinking about summers in India. While I don’t particularly miss the scorching heat that envelopes my country during these months, I have definitely missed doing something new, as the season swung by year after year.

So, this summer I decided to bring into our home six little and lovely living beings. (That’s how my brother framed their arrival!). Having never been an animal lover, I inclined myself towards flora and picked some hardy flowering plants, an ornamental citrus fruit tree and to give my English home a touch of traditional India, a pot of basil leaves too! I wish I had a huge courtyard to place it in the middle of, but I make do with our 7th floor balcony for now.

It feels good! To stand in the sun with them, smiling and happy. Just how India Knight put it, ‘when the sun is out, it’s the smallest adventures that can bring the greatest pleasure.’

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Osteospermums pose for a happy picture!

 

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Childhood · Life · Memory · Nurture · Philosophy · Quotes · Thoughts

Perils of having a good memory

Quoting my favourite, Nora Ephron, from one of her essays as a journalist :

“I will tell you something else: they didn’t drink wine back in the early fifties and sixties. Nobody knew about wine. I mean, someone did, obviously, but most people drank hard liquor all the way through dinner. Recently, I saw a movie in which people were eating take-out pizza in 1948 and it drove me nuts. There was no take-out pizza in 1948. There was barely any pizza, and barely any takeout. These are some of the things I know, and they’re entirely useless, and take up way too much space in my brain.”

Such ease in her self-realisation.

If you identify with what Nora Ephron says about knowing and remembering (what’s usually perceived as) the useless, then you’d also agree how no one really knows why certain people are able to remember the mundane like they do! I, for one, fit the bill perfectly and have never figured the ‘how’ either (having given up on the ‘why’, a long time ago!)

At work, I know by-heart random 6-digit identifiers, exact folder locations, long names of documents and database tables, exact figures on a report, to the second decimal sometimes. I am the walking-talking reference book for my colleagues to look up such information from! As much as I try to look sheepish about it, I secretly pride myself at the marvellous memory I’ve been blessed with. Like, the other day, I related a search analysis to another we did almost 8 months ago; I recollected the details and later confirmed I was right, at which point of course, my colleague gave me a side glance with a raised brow that probably dubbed as, “Why, Ramya, why, why on earth would you remember that?!”

Continue reading “Perils of having a good memory”