Rohan's Wonderful Summer Holiday
By Yoginder Sikand
The schools had closed for the summer holidays and Rohan's classmates were all bubbling with excitement, for they were going with their parents to visit places they had never been to before. Rohan was the only one who wasn't going anywhere exciting, or so he thought. Instead, he and his mother were spending a month with his mother's sister, who lived on a small farm in a village far away.
'I'll get so bored there, Ma,' Rohan wailed as they boarded the bus heading to Aunty Renu's village. 'There's nothing to do there and no one to play with. Aunty Renu's house doesn't even have electricity, and so I won't even be able to watch all my favourite TV programmes.'
'Don't you worry, son,' Rohan's mother replied. 'You'll soon have the time of your life!'
'I bet I won't,' sulked Rohan. 'You're being awfully mean to me.'
Rohan had never been to a village before, and so after he got to Aunty Renu's house he was bored out of his wits for the first few days. He sat on his bed all day and sulked and even refused to talk to anyone. Aunty Renu cooked him his favourite dishes, and at night tried cheering him up with fairy stories that she invented herself (with some difficulty, for she wasn't really good at that). She even got a swing made of rope tied to a branch of the sturdy mango tree that stood in her courtyard specially for him. But all her efforts failed to make Rohan happy at all! How he pined to go back home, where he could watch all the TV he wanted to and play with his computer games. How he hated being in Aunty Renu's house! How he envied his class-mates, who, he thought, must really be enjoying their summer holidays, unlike him!
Aunty Renu was pained to see Rohan so bored and upset for she really wanted him to enjoy his first visit to her home. But one night, as she lay on her bed thinking of what she could do to cheer her nephew up, she struck upon a wonderful idea. The next morning, she took Rohan by his hand and led him into the fields that surrounded her home. 'Go into the fields, child, and carefully observe every animal that you come across. See how they amuse themselves, and I'm sure you'll find that really interesting!'
'Oh that sounds like fun!' beamed Rohan and he raced into the clump of orange trees nearby. At last he had something to do!
The first animal Rohan saw was a striped squirrel, with a long, bushy tail. Rohan peered at it intently. Although it was all alone, it seemed perfectly happy leaping about, cheerfully wagging its tail and occasionally letting out a shrill shriek, just for the fun of it. In and out of the trees it ran, stopping only to sniff at the fruits that had fallen on the ground.
'If a squirrel can have so much fun all on its own, not needing anyone else to make it happy, I don't see why I can't, too', Rohan thought, and then he trotted off into the rice field beyond the orange trees. There, he spotted Aunty Renu's buffalo, Bino, who was standing in a puddle of water doing simply nothing at all.
Bino stood very still, moving only her tail from time to time to shoo away the flies that swarmed around her. Occasionally, she lifted her head towards the sky, intently watching the clouds slowly pass by. Rohan was amazed by the sight. 'How happy Bino seems!' he said to himself. 'Standing in the water all alone and doing quite nothing, and still she doesn't seem bored at all!'
Rohan trudged further through the rice field, and stopped at a thorny hedge, where he saw a giant red-coloured spider sitting in a large, sheet-like web. Peering closer, he spied a faint smile spread across the spider's hairy face. Rohan sat down at the foot of the hedge, determined that he would not get up till he saw the spider move. An hour passed by and the little creature didn't budge an inch! How Rohan's legs hurt with all that waiting!
'My! What patience this little spider has! I suppose it really loves nothing more than enjoying the sunshine and the breeze and so doesn't need to get out of his web at all!', Rohan exclaimed to himself. 'I bet I couldn't sit five minutes like that without getting fidgety, angry and all so bored!'
Rohan spent the better part of that day strolling through Aunty Renu's little farm, carefully watching how the little creatures that lived there--goats, snails, lizards, wasps, ants, dragonflies, tadpoles, frogs, and many types of birds--all spent their time. Although the different creatures did different things all day--some flew about, others hopped around or raced up trees or simply sat still--Rohan observed that all of them were happy by themselves. While sometimes they played around in groups, most often they were alone, but that didnt make them less happy! None of them, Rohan noticed, seemed at all displeased at having to do what they were doing. None of them seemed at all bored, and certainly Rohan had not seen any of them complaining about having to do nothing, as he did. They didn't cry or complain about not having anything to amuse them!
'Aunty! I had such a wonderful day today, and all thanks to you!', said Rohan excitedly as he came back to Aunty Renu's house later that evening.
'I'm sure you did, child,' said Aunty Renu, as she gave him a tight hug. 'And will you tell me what was so wonderful about your day?'
'I met many little animals, insects and birds, Aunty,' said Rohan as he munched on the delicious samosa that his aunt had made specially for him. 'And do you know what? None of them seemed sad or bored at all. They were all so happy doing whatever they were doing, or even doing nothing at all, even if they were all by themselves!'
'Oh, that's an amazing discovery, child!' beamed Aunty Renu, quite pleased at what Rohan had learned. 'Now, I hope you won't be bored for the rest of your stay.'
'Bored? Not at all! I can spend all day looking at the many creatures that you share the farm with, and, like them, I can have the time of my life, even if I am all by myself, watching the clouds pass by or the sun shining, the birds chirping and the dragonflies buzzing about,' said Rohan as he gobbled on yet another steaming-hot samosa. 'And guess what, Aunty? That means I don't need TV or computer games to make me happy any more! And that, in turn, means that I'm going to spend every vacation with you, on your wonderful farm, and I promise I'll never get bored ever again!'
Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
A tree, a religion, a school, and parents are judged by the fruits they produce