One thing from my childhood that I wish to preserve and pass on to my son is the experience of those long lazy summery holidays at that beautiful family street with all those heterogeneous cousins. [I call it a family street because it houses about 5 closely related families.] And here is why.
I attribute a lot of what I am today to those lovely holidays with those 20 odd cousins of ours. It is funny to recollect that we tried to do everything together to the extent of picking same hobby classes so as to maximize the common play time. I remember us being in a hurry to finish off our daily chores so as to assemble and start off our play routine.
We played, played and we improved our tenacity. We played so much that the rats in our stomachs’ escaped somewhere and we never felt hungry, so much that our eye lids forgot blinking let alone sleeping. We had to be reminded, pleaded and threatened to fill our stomachs and to catch that essential sleep. I think those long hours of uninterrupted engagement did help me while I slogged at the B-school J
We played, played and we innovated. Yes, we played cards so much and we innovated many variants. We learned to work around the limitations as we played paint ball with curry leaf seeds. We adapted to the circumstances – if it rained, we had paper boat competitions, if it was sunny we played shadow games, if there was a power cut we played hide-and-seek.
We played, played and we learnt group dynamics. Quite a bit of heterogeneous group we had which included kids of both the genders, across age groups from different geographical regions. While pitching our favorite game we learned to negotiate. We experienced all about team players, doers, leaders, extraverts, introverts and of course free-riders and even better we learned tactics to deal with each. We even learned to play by our strengths (choosing the artist / actor wisely) when we played games like Pictionary / Dumb-charades.
We played, played and we became tolerant. We had our share of differences, fights – both physical and emotional. We tried to deal with them through all possible mechanisms. I remember one incident where we even appointed a couple of aunts to act as arbitrators to settle our disputes. The important point here being we amicably settled our disputes and moved forward. Till date this experience comes in handy while dealing with people professionally and personally (read with husband ;)).
Today all of us did so well in our lives that our success has carried us farther away and the only place we meet now-a-days is on Watsapp. Today as one more of our cousins gave birth to a lovely baby girl I am reminded of our childhood fantasies that we would stick together when we grow up and admit our kids in the same school. Ironically, thanks to our busy schedules, my son has hardly met a quarter of my cousin’s kids leave alone growing up together.
So if I had one wish to be granted for my son, I wish he had those wonderfully fulfilling summer holidays with cousins / friends instead of those gadgets / television sets. Thank you guys for being part of my life!
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