We have to wake up at 4:30 AM tomorrow and it’s 1:00 AM already.
Yet, NO PLAINTIVE CRIES.
After all, each year, we would hanker for this day and this time of the year when we would get some good amount of “Dust-tasting” and our bile juices would churn nice and proper!
Finally, the much-awaited annual event has arrived and we have like always, very religiously packed our bags (and tried our best to make sure that the parents don’t accompany and we have succeeded 😜) and are heading straight for Dhaula Kuan (New Delhi).
Our eyes would scan the surroundings for that one giant box on wheels which would be painted in white and blue (read Haryana Roadways interstate bus) with a “Narnaul” written on the top.
We spot the box on wheels for Narnaul and we squeal in happiness!
The journey would be filled with two things in abundance-
1. Excitement of Going to Narnaul.
2. Eagerness to Re-Achieve the “Independence.”
Re-achieve because rest of the year we sisters live a prisoner’s life which is confined to the 4 S, Sleep, Supper, Sports and Studies (and in that order) (I mean that is what each FRESH teenager feels right)😈 Parents are our biggest nemesis at that age!!!
Once, we are settled in the bus, we start to dig into our bags! I take out my comic I just bought off those counters at the bus stop! My favourite!
I am on that page where The Chachi (Bini) would stand on the ladder to make halwa (https://deepasuhag.blog/2018/04/12/marriage-cooking-food-blogger/) in that huge karahi for Sabu (the giant Alien from Jupiter)!
The Halwa in the picture in front makes us crave for something nice but this heat! Halwa is definitely not something we want!
On cue, the sister instantly dives into her bag to get the carton out! Our summer staple! Our go to drink!
The carton, a beautiful green with Frooti written on it!
Just the sight of it is so refreshing that “mango frooti fresh and juicy” starts playing in our heads while we leisurely sip in our mango drink!
(Frooti for us is synonymous to summers and memories of the summers that have passed!)
3 hrs later, our Frooti stock has ended and the Dhosi hills are visible now from a distance!
Our excitement rises! We are nearing our destination!
A few minutes later, from the semi-grilled, rusty window of my bus seat,
WE SPOT the Bhool-bhulaiya aka “Chor Gumbad” which is infamous for having swallowed several Baarats (groom’s wedding procession) (its fabled that if you enter this four walled fortress atop a hill you wouldn’t find your way out).
How cool! I wanted to go there but no one let me! I wanted to get lost! I thought I was living a life of misery and see the irony, today, decades later, I look at those days with longing! Best days of my life!
Crazy eff-ed up me!
Anyway, getting back to where I was…THE BHOOL-Bhulaiya spotting means-
We have reached Narnaul!
We look around and our hearts begin to sink! We can see no one we know anywhere!
We have no cell phones (in 1990s cell phones hadn’t plagued our lives yet).
Gingerly, we get off the bus!
Two little girls, all alone! Standing in the middle of the crowd, looking for a familiar face which is no where in sight!
Right then, a jeep takes a sharp turn! It has this really loud music on!
The Haryanvi Song! Typical Ragnis!
If you want to know what that really means then Google Sapna Chaudhary or “hatt jaa tau paachey ney or byah di anpadh haali ke https://youtu.be/FUIWYgubeYQ🙈😉! I have to admit, I like them!
A young man in a sparkling white Kurta Pajama and shiny black Juttis, steps out of the Jeep!
Jeep so dirty that you could not tell if it was a white coloured jeep or a brown coloured one!
The man takes a step towards us and then behind him steps out another man!
Older this time! But same clothing! Same white kurta pajamas with shiny black Juttis!
It’s like they have this whole dress code on!
We look at them intently and step back!
Step back to pick our bags and run!
Run as hard as we could!
Run into their Arms!
Our Maama (maternal uncle) and Nana (maternal grandfather) had arrived!
We hug each other while our maama and nana slap our our backs and tell us how we have become so tall!
Then they rush us into the Jeep and tell us how Nani (maternal grandmother) is waiting for us and so are our cousins!
We sisters quickly settle in and give each other the WIDEST GRIN EVER!
THE SUMMER VACATIONS HAVE BEGUN!
And the countdown begins!
Countdown to our month of Freedom from “parental supervision” (read discipline and routine) because Nani (maternal grandmother) won’t let the parents say a word to us (not even on that black landline where my parents would call each evening to lecture us over the untouched homework)!
note: all images are from google. Alas! I had no mobiles then 😖