Wednesday, April 04, 2007

And I Thought It Was Called "Adder"...

UPDATE: Added Glossary of terms
Sorry, that was a very bad, geek-worthy joke. So let me start again...

When cold coffee is more enticing than a hot steamy cup, when you do eat (too much) ice-cream and get a very bad case of cold, when the reason you're sweating is not (only) that you are facing exams... yes, summer is here.

And as we have (unfortunately) "grown up", there are many things which we used to do in summer which we cannot do anymore. That's why The Great Silverine's Summer Tag is such a nice opportunity to get all nostalgic and emotional... and sigh, "Those were the days..."

So I am supposed to write 8 things about summer/summer holidays I enjoyed. Here goes (in chronological order, after end of exams to end of vacations)...

  • Cricket: The preparations/planning would start from the second last paper, and everybody would carry bats to the last paper (which used to be of drawing/handicraft or some such non-study subject). Fortunately, our group rarely slipped below top 10 positions in the class, so nobody really had any tension/pressure. After paper, it was directly to somebody's house to keep drop the bags, and on to cricket ground. Luckily almost everybody of us had a ground near their house, so there was very good choice of locations for us. These would start in the afternoon and carry on till evening, when we finally got home to "report" about the paper to our parents.

  • Early morning matches: Sorry to repeat this, but there was a major difference between these and the end-of-year cricket. These used to be scheduled to start at 7 am (normally meeting point would be my home). I would wake up and get ready by 7.15 (it is a universal truth that you get up quite early in vacations when there is nothing to do), people would start trickling in by 7.30. By 8.30, the strength would still not be enough to go to a proper-sized ground, and then we would start the round of calls to absentees. I remember waking people up at 8.30, when we were supposed to start at 7. The matches would finally start at 9.

  • Birthdays: Note the plural. In our immediate family, we have 5 birthdays within a week in April (now 6, and that too are shared within 4 days over a 10-day period). Within our friend-circle, the number was 4, starting with mine which fell within a week from the end of exam to the last week of holidays. An excellent excuse for cricket, full day parties and a nice packed lunch while picking on each and everybody.

  • Mangoes: Do I need to say anything more? OK, I will... This would be the dessert of choice on most days after getting the "basket". And one of those days would be the day to make aam-ras, which (I can't say more entertaining but definitely) equal fun to eating it.

  • Rasna: One morning in the the first week of summer holidays would be designated to make Rasna, by opening the pack, adding a lot and lot of sugar, adding the liquid thing and the powder, and then mixing the whole thing with water. Drinking Rasna was fun, making it was "children special" activity.

  • Printing: Summer would be the time for getting major orders for our screen-printing "business". So, we had a whole room with every horizontal surface full of big printed papers (wet ink), boxes of wet scree-printing ink... Then there used to be the smell of the ink and the "cleaning solution".
    One of our major "clients" was a local 'pepsi-cola' maker (hence the summer orders), who used to give us 1-2 bags full of pepsi-cola, which brings me to the next point...

  • Pepsi-cola and usacha ras: Staple food for the summers. On some of the days (specially after 8th std), replacement for lunch. No words can explain the fun in sitting down in the gurhal with the machine sounding nearby, with a BIG glass of ras in front of you. A definite recipe to drown out all your exertions after playing for hours on end.

  • Trips and evening "treks": At least once in the summer holidays (near the monsoon time), a trek would be scheduled (again, this is after we "grew up" a bit). Otherwise, many of the evenings would a trip to Parvati, which people climb for exercise, and we would climb for the fun and talks.

  • Nasik Trip: Kept last, but the high-point of summer holidays. It was a rare summer in school days when I didn't visit my cousins in Nasik with my mother and sis. And even in those rare summers, (except in my 10th std, after which all our schedules started clashing) they would visit us in Pune, or sometimes come with us back to Pune for reminder of the vacations.

Now, I know I have gone over the limit of 8, but once I started writing, the points just kept coming...

Now for the part where I tag people... so, usual suspects get ready. You know who you are, so don't make me start the list, as this post is already long enough.

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

  1. aam-ras: Mango shake (at least, that's the closest description. Mainly, this is mango - seed - skin + lots of sugar)

  2. usacha ras: sugarcane juice

  3. gurhal: the place to get usacha ras

  4. Pepsi-cola: No connection with Pepsi, this is flavoured ice packed in small plastic bags.

  5. Rasna: Check this out. Though admittedly, the packaging was less colourful in our days.

Quote of The Day:

Summer afternoon - Summer afternoon... the two most beautiful words in the English language.
- Henry James (1843 - 1916)

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Day Is Here

Know what day it is? Of course, there is a high chance if you have put one foot out of your house or have any contact with outside world today, you already do. It is the day most of us look forward to more than any other day of the year like 1st January, 15th August etc. It is the apt birthday of the Troublemakers-in-Chief, (perhaps) the best practical jokers Hogwarts has ever seen, the proprietors of “Weasley's Wizard Wheezes" Gred and Forge Weasley. I can go on, but I guess you got the point.

Now, before all of you in India say anything, remember that I am almost 9.30 hours behind you, and look at the date of the post...

On a separate note, can anybody answer the puzzle, “What does one and one equal?” (Answer somewhere in the post)Question

Now, you must have guessed by now that this is the second anniversary of the day when I wrote my “Hello World” post on this, my “Hello World” blog (anybody who has learned any computer language ever will know what that means).

Two years have gone by since that day, when I converted from a reader and a wannabe writer to a blogger and (later) reviewer. I started three more blogs, one of which is dormant (feared dead), one has surpassed this in number of posts, and I have the highest hopes for the latest one.

I don't know if I have grown better with the years (well, I have grown, you know), that is for you to decide (Check out the “This Week in History” section). I would really like comments on this...

Of course, two years means that I am a serious blogger now, and I am (hopefully) here to stay. That is to say, despite what you say, I am not going to give up writing.Winking 3

And for all those wondering why I am sounding so “prosaic” and there are no songs in this party... as I said, I have grown up. And as you grow up, you get dignified and serious. So, even though my blog will continue to live up to its birthday, this is the time for introspection and thought.

Also, I just remembered (thanks to Dan Rydell) that the most popular song for this occasion is copyrighted, and I am in no mood to sing “Hum Bhi Agar Bachche hote”.

Which reminds me, you can expect my best and heartiest wishes on your and your blogs' b'days, but don't expect me to sing...

OK, now let's see what gifts you got for me...Birthday Cake Candles

P.S. Are you still looking for the answer to the puzzle? Really? First grade maths? OK, then here's one more puzzle for you, “How can you keep a fool wondering for 5 minutes?”

P.P.S. Had to mention the word “fool” in the spirit of The Day...

Quote of The Day:

To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.
- Bernard M. Baruch (1870 - 1965), 1940