Back when we were kids, school picnics were eagerly awaited, even though they would only be to the zoo or the lake garden or the temple atop a hill, year after year. Fathers or elder brothers dropped off the kids on their scooters or bicycles and sometimes we even walked if the place was not too far.
There were no soft drinks or readymade chips in polybags. Our mothers packed homemade crisps and namkeens and gave us some wholesome stuff like parathas, idlis or thalipeeth in a steel tiffin box. Some would bring treats like a packet of biscuits or sweets. We drank water from the taps at whichever place we went to. Either the water was not so contaminated as now or we had tougher constitutions to fight infections. We played games, got dirty, got hurt – but what fun we had!
Today, schools take children on ‘trips’ out of station for several days and sometimes even out of the country. And of course, families have a day out – chilling out in a mall or in a resort! With organized activities and sight-seeing or shopping, I wonder if they have as much fun as we did.
Talking of picnics, have you ever had dinner by moonlight? Oh, those used to be so much fun! It had to be on a full moon day, of course. If you were lucky to live in a riverside town, you carried all the stuff to the bank and had the best picnic ever. The cool breeze and the resplendent moon which turned the water into molten silver, bathing everything else in its cool soft light, made it magical, no less. We would play games – tag, antakshari, building castles, telling stories and even playing a game of cricket by the moonlight! But if there was no river, there was no worry. We had it on the terrace. We didn’t have bright street lights in those days and so the moon provided the illumination. Sometimes imagination ran riot and we would spy ghosts and ghouls and scare the daylight…oops…moonlight…out of each other! Do try it sometime, if you have not, already.
And before closing, I want to share a cute story I had read long ago.
It was mother’s birthday and someone suggested a picnic. As the others began planning, she busied herself making all the various goodies to take along. She cut, boiled, baked and fried and got more and more tired with each job. The ‘helpers’ were more a hindrance than help and she shooed them all out. Finally when everything was ready, the old car was packed with the food and other paraphernalia needed for the picnic. Everyone squeezed and squashed themselves in, the older boys kicked the scooter starter, all ready to leave, when the youngest kid noticed that his mother had not yet come.
He ran inside. When he didn’t come out, the others came in, one by one. ‘Why don’t you all go ahead? I will rest till you get back,’ mother said. The others began debating the idea, some for and some against.
The youngest kid snuggled close to her. ‘I will stay with mother. She will be so lonely on her birthday,’ he said.
‘I’ll stay too,’ said his teenaged sister. The others quickly added their voices to hers.
Someone ran to unpack the car and bring all the stuff inside. Someone else began moving the furniture to make space in the living room. In no time, the picnic came right inside the house with the birthday girl laughing and cutting the cake she had baked earlier in the day! Needless to say, it was her most memorable birthday ever.
Do you have any such picnic memory?
The author is your regular neighborhood granny. Loves cooking, feeding her friends and family, telling tales and reading children’s books among others — on her Kindle. She is comfortable with people her age, older than her and of course all youngsters right down to infants. And oh, she is in tune with the times too. She has seen the telegram transform into Twitter and telephone into WhatsApp. You could call her Gadget Granny Seeta, if you like. She loves saying that the tip of her tongue is in the fingers on her keyboard!