On Tuesday, my editor told me to take Hindi classes during the summer vacations. Within seconds, she added, "Oh wait, we don't get summer vacations."
No. We don't. But we do get to write about them and rub salt into our wounds! We get to tell you about hobby classes and summer retreats, boat clubs, holiday camps and even special summer discounts. Don't get me wrong. Though writing about all of it is great fun, it borders on the masochistic.
What makes matters worse is that we all have some relative or the other who actually gets these magical vacations. Minakshi's younger brother, who's just finishing his final year exams, is already planning a road trip to Kasauli. Neha's mom, a teacher, is on leave these days and she's expecting a houseful of relatives soon. Upama, who's just joined us, is facing her first year ever without a summer break. She's still optimistic that she won't miss the hours of idleness, but confesses that the year already seems endless.
The lack of summer holidays in adult existence is not just depressing, it's also a source of daily tension for some. For a colleague, whose six-year-old son is at home all day, working hours are fraught with worry: "what's he doing now?"; "what will I make him do tomorrow?"; "which summer workshop should I enroll him in?". Another friend of mine, a workaholic executive, tries to wrap up early these days because his fiancÃ©e, a teacher, is on leave and bored enough to fight with him by the end of the day.
Come to think of it, for those who are on leave, a two-month vacation can be quite painful. You don't meet your friends everyday, and after a point, you get too lethargic to move out of the house and find them. There're only so many books you can read, only that much gossip to share and, seriously guys, it's way too hot for cricket! Don't forget the ever-present stress of holiday homework and the upcoming semester.
Maybe we are better off working all through the summer. At least, we have the illusion of a happier time. We can look back on idyllic summer vacations rather than wait impatiently for college to open and life to start again!