“Faster!” Adi squeals when I give his swing a gentle push. ” I want to touch the sun! ” he exclaims in delight as he rises higher. I smile as he spreads one hand out as if to grab the sun . A few minutes later , he runs off to jump on the merry-go-round. An older child pushes it round and round while the younger ones sit inside , giddy with excitement. Afterwards, he wants to see the ducks. So we stand by the side of the pond in the park , watching the ducks and geese swimming in the water. An occasional swan glides past , arching its long slender neck gracefully. I then sit on the grass , watching him kick a ball around till he is exhausted and joins me on the grass for a drink of water.
Somedays , we bring a picnic to the park – spreading out our picnic mat , we enjoy a grand feast of sandwiches and fresh fruits. On other days , an ice cream van stations itself in the park – we spend a few minutes debating on which flavour to choose and then enjoy its refreshing coolness while the warm English sun beats down on us.
Though short lived , summer in England is a glorious affair. The parks come alive with children playing , cyclists whizz past on the roads , the beer gardens in pubs are packed with people enjoying a cool pint of ale , cafes put out tables on the sidewalk and the ice cream van makes a daily round of the streets. Of course , it rains occasionally but the grey clouds cannot dampen our spirit as we wait for another warm day. On such days, the sky is blue and white puffy clouds float past, looking like candyfloss. Bees buzz on laurel hedges and clothes are hung out to dry in the backyard. Flowers in hues of pink, red, yellow and white spill out from baskets hanging over the front door. Afternoons are languid and the stillness is only broken by the whir of lawnmowers.
Growing up in Mumbai where sunshine is a given almost throughout the year and summers are unbearably hot, the thought that summer was something to be excited about never crossed my mind. How wrong I was! After a bleak English winter of grey skies and short days , when April arrives, there is a general anticipation in the air. Summer dresses and sandals make an appearance, salads and pitchers of lemonade replace soups and pies , sand buckets and spades are sold by the dozen as families make their way to the beach.
Now it is September and autumn is around the corner. Soon the leaves will turn golden and red and it will be time to get the coats out again. As the days become shorter and the breeze turns chilly , the memory of those warm glorious summer days will linger and then grow distant. Till it is April again.