Summer vacations were the most awaited holiday for us. Planning it for months in advance to get ourselves on Purushottam Express.
Close to one and a half month was to be spent in the coastal town of Gopalpur. That’s where my Granny lived, and where my mom’s home was. And is.
It used to be an overnight journey and then a little more, due to train delays and the commute from Berhampur railway station to Gopalpur via bus. Now, let me tell you, the whole journey from Tatanagar Railway station (Jamshedpur’s Railway station is named Tatanagar), on one side and this hour and a half journey in this bus on the other side, but I’ll still say the train journey is easier. We would dread for this, more so because of the dry fish smell and the fishermen themselves giving us company. Still remember us all carrying lemon or even medicine to avoid vomiting.
But the moment we would get off at the bus stand, the excitement and tiring commute would vanish into the air. Not only because we have finally reached but to see our cousins, waiting for us. Exchanging the Salaams and refreshing ourselves with cold drink in the hot humid afternoon weather, we’d be on.
Family time it was. The 7 of us will be inseparable for the entire vacations. Most of the evenings were spent on the beach, or on the terrace overlooking the sea or playing something or the other. From hide & seek to Lock-and-key to even Fancy dress competitions, where I’d dress up like a clown most of the time. There is one famous “Court-court” game which makes me laugh even now. 😀
We even used to have birthday celebrations, fake ones of course as most of our birthdays were spread on the later part of the year. Cake was made from grinding biscuits and garnishing it with chocolate. Gifts would be given (and returned later so that it can be rotated to others 😛 ).
Let me introduce all 7 to you in particular order. It was Badi api (zabin), Mobin Api, Sony Api, Me, Arzoo, Nehal and then Shahrukh. One little secret, my name in gopalpur is Anees instead of Farooq (Keep it a secret, will you ? 😛 )
Every night before sleeping, mobin api would tell us some story, something new or something she would make up every night. The following morning, we would all wake up with Duck tales playing on the tv in front of us. What we also had, was a “Who woke up first” competition. After having our Pre-Breakfast of Laddoos or biscuits, we’d wait for the breakfast while watching cartoons. Once it was finished, we’d all head upstairs and apart from any snack-emergency, we’d rarely come down.
There are hundreds of tales of what we would do, and probably a book can be written about the fun times.
Still recall how I used to cry when they’d leave when their vacations used to get over before us. Hated those few days in Gopalpur. Although, before heading for home, we would always stop for a day-or-two at their place in Khurda road, before boarding the train for home. But it was different, Gopalpur became the place for us, because of our togetherness. For 7 of us.
Today, all 7 of us are at seven different places, across countries, states and cities. Our Watsapp group, “Gangs of Gopalpur” keeps us together, thankfully.
There are of course plans to meet soon, but that magic of being those children, being there with little fights, games and fun, can never be replaced.
When I see housing.com with its #Together campaign, it just takes me back to those times.
Here’s to all of you, who have been blessed with amazing siblings, that togetherness is irreplaceable.