With schools closing for 3 months, summer vacation was something that we eagerly awaited. The pattern was set, getting up & sleeping late was the only constant. In between it used to be the usual television, movies & games.
Evenings used to be real fun when all the kids from the neighborhood gathered downstairs in the common courtyard. Me and khushi were no different. We played a lot of games but there was this particular game that me & khushi reveled in and that was lagoori, a game originally from Karnataka, played by two teams in an unlimited area. The game involves 2 teams with players spilt equally in two teams with a combination of both boys & girls. The objective of the game is to break a set of 7 stones with a ball from a distance Once you break the stone pack, the team is required to place them together while the opposite team tries to fetch the reflected ball and hit the opposite team member before the stones are placed.
Often the girls in the team were denoted as ‘kaccha limbu’ someone who is not an expert and whom the opposite team did not aim their throws at. Khushi was different she was no kacha limbu! When it came to games she was competitive to the core. She used to captain her team and would also braze the throws coming towards her as she used to be at the forefront while placing the stone packs. That was khushi brave, determined & sporty.
After our games, we used to rush to the Hari bhai who used to bring his cycle which we used to call ice cream walli cycle. Hari bhai was as sweet as the icecream. He used to park his cycle outside our society and watch us play lagoori with a lot of interest. It was only after couple of years that I realized that in us he used to search his kid Ramu who he had lost to malaria in his village due to lack of medical facilities.
3 months used to just speed away and going back to school was always a mixed feeling that of excitement & laziness. Vacations were always awaited with eagerness. We were in the eight standard 2 years away from our board exams. So me & khushi had decided to enjoy the coming vacation by going to my uncles bungalow in Goa! Little did I know at that point that it would be the last vacation we spent together. I wish it was different…..
To be continued….