Summer times resurrect memories of abandoned fun with siblings, cousins, and friends during the long meandering vacations. Summer vacations meant getting up late, having an unhurried breakfast, engaging in indoor games like carom, chess, Chinese checker, and ludo, with ample dose of fights, chit chats, interrupted only by quick refill breaks, of juices, lassi, or mango ice creams. No matter how many mangoes we ate, the ones that tasted the best were those stolen from under grannie’s bed while she took a break from her sentry duty to enjoy her afternoon siesta. It was fun to see the green or half ripe mangoes turn a delightful yellow slowly as they sat on a bed of sand spread on a sheet below grannie’s bed. Granny, then too old to engage in her cherished household chores, derived great pleasure in her allotted duty of mango sentry. We would look forward to visits from our beloved cousins, or a trip to maternal grandparent’s house and then life felt like an endless joy ride. After lunch, we would take turns to press grandfathers aching old limbs, while he kept us enthralled with his electrifying stories, like the time when a princess had proposed to him or how he got married to granny or about his days as an army doctor. Grandmother had a different class of stories to narrate that ranged in the realm of fantasy. We would formulate plays of our own, practice, dress up and then enact them in front of the entire family. At times, we would make puppets and then put up a puppet show or play cricket or Kho-kho in whatever space was available to us. We would forget to watch the popular “Giant Robot” show on TV in the evening. We would go out sometimes to the beach in the evening or to a park and play till every inch of our body cried out for rest. The best part was to sleep huddled up on makeshift beds laid out on the floor and giggle and pretend to sleep whenever an adult checked on us. There was never a boring moment and we never ran out of activities to engage in.
When summer engulfs the desert paradise Dubai, hot winds and blaring heat threaten to roast and leave your body dry and dehydrated. The best option one would envision is to be cooped up in the cool comfort of the air conditioner at home. Nothing beats the outdoor pleasure that Dubai offers during cooler times, though- The endless barbecue sessions in parks, beach sports, or unrestrained fun and relaxed time on the rich green grass beds of the oasis, a trip to the Al Ain zoo, camping in the tranquil desert. For brand/ bargain hunters and shopaholics, the Dubai Summer Festivals (DSS) offers indomitable opportunity to raid the malls. The expansive stretch of shopping area inside the malls ensures that you lose a good amount of calories without indulging in boring exercise regimes. Whenever hunger pangs come haunting, you are spoilt for choice, by the range of cuisines in the high-end/exclusive or economical food courts housed in the malls. This is if you do not fall victim to the mouthwatering aromas and delectable displays that invite you at every point. Well, that takes care of the shopping addicts, but how does Dubai engage the not so enthusiastic shoppers or movie goers? For the kids and their parents, life here with extended summer would have been a complete spoilsport without the infinite summer events and activities.
A few days ago, I took the kids to the first ever cirque-style shows “Alice in Wonderland” at the Burjuman Mall. The show held each and every spectator captive by the indomitable acrobatic stunts, choreography, and music, reviving the adored Lewis Carrols classic tales magic through scintillating displays. It was also amazing to get a glimpse of the beautiful perspectives of well-known photographer Sumesh Senan, displaying his artistry in his exhibition titled ‘Kaleidoscope” through 20 of his best pieces, at Burjuman. We did not have to travel to Italy to be marveled by the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci. We just headed for this Master of Renaissance’s open for all exhibition and got blown away by the multi-talented sculptor, architect, scientist, painter and engineer. The children hungrily investigated from the miniature versions of the over 60 machineries brought to live from the masters drawings. I too was immersed in the history and explanatory notes accompanying the 3-D models and paintings. This exhibition was in partnership with Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Florence with displays on 5 topics, namely: Nautical and Hydraulic Inventions, Flying Machines, War Machines, Artwork and Principles of Mechanics.
When I stop to think over the difference between the vocational activities/retreats among the two generation (mine and my children) I find a glaring divergence. I am in no position to judge and declare if one or the other was better. However, given a choice, I am sure both generations would love to exchange (if only a little) a piece of their world and relish it.