‘I loved having chaat and ice cream at little bandis on the streets of Vizag’
I spent my early years in Vizag after which we moved to Chennai. So summer holidays each year meant coming back home to Vizag. And that was my licence to go eat my favourite chaat and bandi ice creams. I had no money of course, but whatever little pocket money I saved went into eating muri mixture, ice creams and panneer soda from bandis.
‘I discovered pizza for the first time during summer holidays’
One hot summer day, when I was watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV, I discovered for the first time that there was something called ‘pizza’! I was so fascinated by the visual of cheese dripping off this triange bread, that I had to have it. Obviously, this was a time before pizza joints. So I forced my parents to bring home an oven just so we could make pizza. And we did, though we had no clue what the real pizza tasted like. We’d invented our own version and I was so thrilled. Later, on a family trip to Delhi, I found a pizza outlet. I begged for one, but my parents thought it was ridiculously expensive. I sulked all the way to hotel and fell asleep sulking. Later, I woke up to the aroma of the first ever real pizza I had in life. My dad sneaked out in the night to bring us one. That’s a special memory I’ll never forget’
‘Summer heat? What’s that?! I’d jump into any pool in sight and beat the heat’
Swimming was my favourite pastime during summers. Because it used to be so hot, I’d love to go and jump in the pool. While growing up, I spent most of my time in Chennai and Vizag so I used to frequent the beach regularly. However, my parents wouldn’t let us swim in the sea as they felt it was unsafe. So instead, they let me swim every summer in swimming pools. There isn’t a pool in Chennai, Vizag or Hyderabad I haven’t swam in. Swimming was what made summer so special…I’d wait for it all year long.
‘Travelling to tourist destinations in India was an annual summer ritual’
Most of my summer holidays were spent in Vizag but my dad ensured we went on at least one vacation during the holidays. Instead of trips abroad, we used to go visit all the states in India, one by one. Ticking off must-see sights from our long list was such a thrill. It had become an annual family ritual.
‘No summer is complete without films’
Summer holidays were incomplete without watching films. I watched most of the films at the single screen theatres in Gajuwaka, Vizag. My uncle had an office there, and I would tag along so I could go watch films. I was only 12 or 13 when I started doing this. Back then there were no smart phones or Internet, so watching movies in theatre was the biggest entertainment for us. I would book the morning and matinee shows and watch them with at least two packets of popcorns and cold drinks, both pre and post-interval. Aah, those were the days.