Outdoors at last

As I watch the kids play with their neighborhood friends, my mind transports me back to my childhood. It reminds me of evenings spent playing with my siblings and friends in the open space in front of our house as our mother watched over us from the balcão of our Indo-Portuguese house. I remember the delicious evening snacks Mama used to serve us all. Potato chips, ground nuts, boiled egg, banana fritters…are a few I instantly recall. Those were the days when one could play on the roads and not worry about being run over. We would climb trees, compound walls and the adventurous ones would climb the roof.
The shouts and cries from outside bring me back to this moment. I’m sitting at my work table jotting down my thoughts as the kids play within my sight. The large window compensates for the small verandah. 6 yrs and I’m still getting used to a duplex with a tiny verandah. After all, I grew up in a lovely old house with a spacious balcão and 2 decent sized courtyards within. Our present location does have it’s perks. The house is spacious and yet just the right size for a nuclear family to maintain. We are surrounded by vegetation and animals. The kids can see buffaloes, hens, roosters, pigs, piglets, dogs, cats, mongoose, peacocks, peahens, monitor lizards, rats , squirrels and birds from our window. The lockdowns gave us an opportunity to notice many more animals and birds.
My mind seems to be doing a lot of time travel today. I need to teach these kids how to play 7-tiles and ring. I wonder what games they would have learnt from friends at school. This pandemic has given them a lot to learn and observe while simultaneously depriving them of the kind of play we enjoyed.
The pandemic locked us indoors and although it has not come to an end we cannot lock our kids indoors forever. I now let the kids play outside. We have come to an agreement that they can play outside but will obediently stay indoors when the viral load is high and when any of us or their friends show any covid symptoms. It is not worth risking the lives of all those around us. We are learning to enjoy life and make the best of what we have while keeping the health and safety of our loved ones in mind.

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