Remember the 2 month long summer holidays when the teachers wouldn’t let us be in peace? On the last day of the school, they would write documentaries on the blackboard that we were expected to dutifully copy in our school diaries, and then more dutifully and diligently complete in the next two months. Yes, I am talking about holiday homework, the assignments we were supposed to do amidst swinging from the trees with cousins visiting their maternal grandparents, and between eating mangoes during breakfast, lunch, and dinner? The teachers themselves would heave a sigh of relief because for the next two months, there would be no caning students, correcting piles of copies, and screaming at the miscreants who did not do their homework on time or confused themselves with the spelling of their and there. However, the poor students were expected to study everyday during holidays, the holiday homework ranging from one page of cursive handwriting daily, practicing five arithmetic sums everyday, doing a social studies project on the diverse food crops grown in India, and copying experimental diagrams of photosynthesis and refraction phenomenon from the science text books. Summer holidays were like being offered a huge bowl of yummy, deep brown fried gulab jamuns with one tiny fly dead and sticky on the sugar syrup of one of the janums. You could accept the huge bowl and eat as much as you like on the condition that you identified the fly on the correct jamun, clicked your fingers hard to get rid of the gooey mush that was once a fly, and devour the rest of the gulab jamuns without complaining. Summer holidays were meant to be for fun, for playing with neighbors and cousins without having to look at the clock, for not being in the strict schedule of coming back home at 6pm, washing the mud off your hand and feet, and start doing sums on algebra while mom shoved a huge glass of steaming milk with Horlicks under your nose. Most teachers tend to forget that they too were children once, or rather, they do remember that they were children once, remember vividly what sadists their own teachers had been and how they had spent their childhood doing holiday homework every summer, and thus had to pass the baton onto the next generation. I haven’t met a single teacher who would come to class on the last day before vacation started and would write something like this on the blackboard- “No holiday homework for you children ! Enjoy your summer and your childhood while it lasts.” Even the art and craft teacher had to give us homework of sticking ice cream spoons and making figures out of them, most of which the parents finished before the day school reopened.
Anyway, I just realized that it has been more than a decade since I was subjected to the torture of doing holiday homework during the summer vacations. So in order to relive those childhood days, I decided to think of some homework, and then to assign that to myself on the last day of the summer quarter, before the summer break started. So I went up to my newly acquired possession, my whiteboard looking all clean and pristine, and pretended as if I was the teacher. I took one of the marker pens and wrote this-
Holiday Homework- Summer of 2008
Go to the IMDB website.
Print the names of the top 250 movies, and then another list of top 50 movies based on genre (comedy, romance, drama, horror, etc.)
Go to the university website for the library page.
Look for the available dvds of the movies acquired from the list.
Place an order for the movies.
Every time you finish a movie, check off the movie’s name in the list.
Lot studied and miles already walked on the path of being an intellectual. Its summer time, and it is movie time now. Correction, it is fun time now, be it in whatever way.
Reliving the homework-free childhood I never really lived.