Growing up, the word vacation meant coming back to India during the summers. Sadly, I can’t recall anything memorable about any of my vacations. Most of the summer would be spent in my ancestral home “Amroha” socializing with my relatives and family friends. I found this exercise rather futile because I forgot each one of them as soon as we left.
But now that I think of it, there was one such vacation where I did something that I still remember. I was 10 years old, I think, and we had rented out one of the floors in our “haveli” to a family of seven. Over the summer, I grew fond of them, especially their youngest daughter who they all called “Munni.” I never realized how quickly time passed that summer. When it was finally time to leave, I felt a deep sense of grief. My final conversation with Munni revolved around the time we spent together and if the family would still be there when we returned next time. Before leaving she mentioned how she and her sister would not be able to go to school, as they didn’t have money to buy books and pay the fees. To this day I still feel guilty for what I did that day, I somehow managed to steal 500 rupees from my mother’s vanity case and gave it to Munni. I really don’t know how much that money helped them, but I felt a bad deed if done for a good cause, was not so bad!