Father wanted to take me and my siblings to our grandparents. They were staying at the ancestral house at Puri. I was 7 years old. I got thrilled to meet my grand paa and grandmom and their beautiful house with a garden.
We called grand paa Jeje bapa and grand mom jeje maa. Each morning after breakfast both of them used to go to the garden. That day they plucked shining brinjals and ladies fingers from the plants. They put them in the basket. In excitement, I ran inside the house with the basket to show the yield to my parents.
There were many coconut trees near the compound wall. After lunch, I went to the garden to play under their shade. I collected the tiny fruits, which had fallen from the trees. I sat there and started counting them. At that time some creatures came there whom I had never seen before. I got scared and called Jeje. He came there and said they were mongooses. He also said there were no snakes in the garden in the fear of the mongooses. That day I learnt that mongooses could kill snakes.
The squirrels attracted me the most. With their thick tails up and down, they were running on the coconut tree trunks. I loved their chirping. At that time jeje maa came there. She got angry seeing me playing in the sun “look at your brother and sister. Both of them are playing carom inside the house. Why are you here ?” She then took me to the cowshed. She gave some straw to the cow to eat. She then put some green grass on my palm to feed the little calf. I fed her the grass. I hugged her. I played with her for sometimes.
As jeje maa was worried for me playing in the sun, jeje bapa brought a straw hat for me that evening. When I saw the hat I danced with joy. Jeje bapa said to jeje maa, “Let her play in the garden with this hat on her head. Nothing will happen. Don’t scold her for playing. This is her age to play.” I thought how nice was my Jeje bapa.
One day when I was running after butterflies my father came there with his camera. Jeje bapa asked him to take my picture with the hat on my head.
The day was approaching for us to leave grandparents. Jeje bapa brought many things for me and my brother and sister. Jeje maa got busy packing homemade ghee, badi, pickle, and homemade sweets. The day we said them goodbye we felt our hearts heavy. I was very unhappy to go from my loving grandparents.
That summer vacation,the sweet memories still lingers in my mind.
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