Being Women

Summer Camp Craze Or A Stay At Grandma’s: Choosing The Perfect Adventure!

Gone are the days of spending an indulgent summer vacation at our grandmother's. Instead the pressure of enlisting in a summer camp is huge.

An ideal holiday

Holidays—the word has the power to move mountains. But I do not have the slightest inclination to move out of bed on a holiday. I equate vacations with being lazy, squirming around in my pyjamas, having half-open crocodile-like beady eyes, having hair in a bun, having fun, and saving myself from the run. No trekking or swimming classes for me when on vacation. Just spread out on the bed with my favourite book and food, breathing periodically so that people don’t garland my favourite picture hung on the wall. 

Vacation boredom

‘It must be the sheer fatigue of a fast-paced life that you enjoy your vacations like this,’ a friend once remarked. She must be right in a way, but vacations for me have been about doing nothing, so much so that many times, as a child, I have found myself stuck in the murk of boredom. I wallowed in apathy, boring my nose with a tiny finger, thinking, when will the next adventure appear on the horizon?

Enid Blyton was my only source of adventure. I lived in a city, and those were times when people didn’t leave treasures in their backyards for children to discover. They left scrap, and all I could do with it was weave a suit of armour and fight fictitious wars. 

Those Sitaphal days…

Lying under the sitaphal tree in my Nani’s building, I have watched green sitaphal develop black spots. I have watched the process so intensely that during my teenage years, when my nose sprouted blackheads, I had a feeling my face was turning into a sitaphal! What made me do such an aimless activity? Because the elders in the house had to nap, no child was allowed to make noise, there was no television and no chatter. Either you doze off or stare at the ceiling. The fruit-laden tree was my respite. 

Nightime fantasies

Evenings were all about playing and coming home with muddy limbs. Scrubbing and washing, making my bed, watching a telly show, and saying goodnight. Occasionally, I couldn’t sleep and sat on the balcony, talking gibberish to the stars. I was imagining some stuff in my mind of a crooked witch visiting me with a blanket drawn on her head. The witch tickled my cheek with her overgrown fingernail. The witty woman was trying to set a trap, wrap me in her blanket, and take me to a forest, where she made a bony broth out of naughty children like me. I would then fight her tooth and nail. Punching and kicking. Roaring to scare her. Until somebody would shake me. 

“Go and sleep with Nani. Continue with your theatrics in the bedroom and not on the balcony.” Masi would drag me out of the dreamy adventure.

Here, in these moments of doing nothing, I learned to enjoy my vacations at zero cost.

Summers at Nani’s

Summer camps were a distant reality. Were there any summer camps either? None. Summers were all about camping at Nani’s place so that Dadi could take a vacation from minding our business. But there was nothing like a summer camp to keep me entertained. Nobody was responsible for my enjoyment. I had to find means to do so on my own. That, too, in the limited resources, followed hordes of instructions. There was no compromise on discipline, but yes, punctuality took a backseat. 

An indulgent stay

I was allowed to wake up late. Ten in the morning. Occasionally, I could hop over to a breakfast of omelettes and bread without brushing my teeth. For bathing, the regular bucket and tumbler would be ditched, and a wobbly shower would fill the bathroom with my squeaky laughter. That is it. There is no more relaxation of rules than this. Ya, one more thing: I was allowed to have bread and jam in the evenings. The demonic Sabji Roti didn’t scare me every day. I could indulge in pav bhaji and sandwiches on some days.

This was my idea of a summer camp. We better call it the Nani House Camp.

Summer camp craze

Sadly, schools and event management companies bombard my son with pamphlets about ambitious, professional summer camps. Come March, even before the exam ends, there is a flier advertising mandala painting and horseback riding lying on my doorstep. Piano classes and swimming lessons are something my son must learn during the vacations to talk about later in school. 

Dictats of a summer camp

He doesn’t have the luxury of sitting idle because an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Even on a vacation, he has to get up at the crack of dawn and leave the house chirpy as a rooster to some summer camp. At the camp, he will have not one but fifteen different activities in a day. Then won’t he be called the jack of all trades and master of none? Supposedly, not. He would be called a genius for making the best use of his time.

Lost magic of a vacation

At the end of the vacation, I will have a child who can sing four notes of Beethoven, draw up to three circles of a mandala, swim two miles in a pool, and learn to sit astride a horse with one leg on the buckle but no mind of his own. My son will not know how to enjoy his own company, how to battle boredom, or how to stay still when nothing exciting is happening in life. 

The camp will drill a gaping hole in my pocket and a vacuum in my son’s life of being dependent on external stimulation to have fun in life. Even for a simple, mundane thing like entertainment, he will need a stick or map to navigate it.

Isn’t it scarier than the witch who visited me with a blanket?

The media and entertainment industries have pushed us under this blanket of ignorance. From within the blanket, we are trying to see a starry sky. How is it possible? Some parents are struggling with a lack of options to take care of their child as daycare centres are closed, but what about the other set? 

‘Nani House’ adventures – an obsolete word

Where are the good old Nani House adventures? The aimless running in the mustard fields and getting tanned in the May heat? Can’t we just let the child figure out what he or she will do in their free time without the aid of technology and summer camps?

Many of you might choose to troll me for writing this. But I will only request that you let the child get bored and do nothing. In this state of nothingness, one can find the veritable treasures of creativity. For those of you who genuinely do not have a Nani house option, I’m sending you a pamphlet about the cheapest and most creative summer camp I found in town.


Facebook Comments


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Veda's Exclusive

Get Ready to Turn Heads with Our Stunning Sarees!