When I read Gayatri’s note on summer camps and how Veda chose cooking among all the options available, it reminded me so much of those years when we would keep teasing Vidur about summer camp. So much so – the very phrase seemed like a threat to him. Between his play-school year and LKG we thought of a summer camp because it was not only the buzz word – it also seemed like a good idea. Good idea = fun.
We had this place called “Small Wonder” right opposite our apartment complex. We checked them out and they seemed nice enough. And we thought, it would be good company for Vidur since there weren’t too many kids his age in our building. We enrolled him there – and phew! for the first week, Mom and I accompanied him – and after I left to work, Mom hung around with him because he’d start bawling the moment she said ‘bye. As it turned out – the people who were running the summer camp had absolutely no idea what to do. They were just a bunch of young women who thought it would be lucrative to get a bunch of kids together. Only AFTER we paid up, did we come to know that there was one big group of kids ranging from ages 3 to 12. Together. How gross is that. 
Ok…so Mom, being Mom, set about trying to bring some order there, dividing the kids into teams as best as she could. Then – we found out that the toilets they had shown us, along with the lovely play area with lots to things for kids to spend their time in was for display only. They had no intentions of using those. So what happened when kids wanted to su-su or – ahem! do the big job? Sadly, some of the enterprising kids just “went” out in the ground. While others silently stayed smelly. One indifferent ayah was completely useless. For us, it looked like a nightmare situation. Most of the young kids bawling their head off – it was not the nicest way to spend two weeks of summer. So Mom demanded our money back. To which they obviously said no, and smirked. Mom threatened to report them. I had no idea to whom, but it seemed to work. Mom demanded they let the kids use the bathrooms they had shown us, and they reluctantly obliged. Weird situation. 
Oh well – after all that – and after three days of the “summer camp” Vidur flat out refused to go. And endearingly hugged Mom and said “Paati – you conduct a summer camp. I’ll come”. I can only imagine how much Mom must have wished she could. In fact, we even discussed it. But too many logistics problems and with her unpredicatable health – we dropped the idea. Hey, but that did not stop her from doing a “Paati summer camp” for Vidur. She made a schedule and the two of them followed it meticulously. They certainly had fun! Vidur learned a lot of slokas, songs and produced a lot of art work. Mom even got him to help in the kitchen, putting away washed vessels on the shelf and discussing simple recipes with him.
After that – any time we said “summer camp” Vidur would instantly get his defenses up. 🙂 Not that we were crazy about them, but it was fun to tease him about it.
And so – when I asked him what plans this summer just to see what he’d say – he said he wanted to learn cooking, among a long list of other activities. 🙂 I rather suspect he’ll make a good cook. His Paati would have loved to be his coach.