By Nita Balani
TORONTO: Every year summer graces us with its presence for a short period of time and then flits away.
This summer, too, it was a similar story unfortunately it was too hot, too brief, and too rainy to really enjoy to its fullest. But I am not one for complaining at least not for the heat…..for me SNOW is a 4-letter word I do not want to hear. It was indeed a different kind of summer not only weather wise – read on.
The summer started full of promises of bearing fruit – my pear tree in the backyard had beautiful luscious miniature green pears (way too early in the season) tempting me with thoughts of yummy recipes I could make from them. Alas, too many heat alerts and over-the-top temperatures and then the heavy downpours and the big blow to the poor pear tree stopped it short of delivering bushels of the sweetest pear that would do an organic wine producer proud! The garden delivered some surprises of its own – dormant hidden Asiatic lily bulbs magically bloomed into creatures of silken pale pink beauty overnight!
To brighten up the mood the prodigal daughter returned home after spending a year studying in France. She was completely her own new person much to my delight (in some ways) having learned to cook some fantastic gourmet French and other European meals on her own. Suddenly she was exalting how creative the French are with their cooking and her theory of why they remain so slim. Apparently the secret lies in absolutely fresh organic food with no hormones and additives and no frozen manufactured factory food. I agree with her of course, but everyone knows the real secret lies in adding CHEESE to everything and in France you have the luxury of doing that as it produces over 500 varieties of cheese at a surprisingly low price! Remember if you feed them cheese they will not leave home!
Once she settled back to the Canadian routine and groceries, I was free to explore summer like I always do and enjoy all the cultural delights that we are blessed with – the multicultural arts and food festivals! Every weekend is a struggle to decide which one we (as a family) can attend or miss out on. Trying to keep it simple, the better half and I usually do a coin toss (my trick coin) much like in cricket which is the same on both sides! This year there was a new component to complicate life a bit – cricket. Cricket knocked me over much like a fast paced ball going at 80 mph! Cricket brought me back to life this summer and every weekend cricket would win over the other choices – even over my fortnightly dates with Formula One races. I made new friends, went outside my comfort zone into a predominantly male territory, but “the boyz to men” made me comfortable and welcomed me.
Cricket is like life – it teaches you so much about attitude, dedication, not giving up until the last ball is bowled. I enjoyed the season of international matches we hosted – we win some – we lose some. It was a splendid show of great bowling, fantastic strikes and strokes, sixers and boundaries and a host of great budding international players right here on home ground. It sure was a change over sitting in my backyard blissfully unaware of the world around me listening to the chorus of cicadas and honey bees and drinking tall glasses of homemade lemonade with honey or whatever cools you down and reading my magazines or a novel.
Summer also brought much needed glitz and glamour in the form of Toronto Film Festival and Hollywood and Bollywood stars and glimpses of them made many of us giddy at the knees. Whirlwind TIFF parties and the who’s who list at the doors, silly dresses and high heels sent many of us into a tizzy just thinking about it.
On a more serious note, our thoughts go to the Canadians held in Egypt and pray for their early release. And south of the border, a young woman of Indian heritage winning the Miss America pageant had twitter and social media going into a overdrive! The power of brown never fails to impress me! Amidst uneducated people with their scathing criticism and racist remarks in the “land of the free” proving once again that they are just pompous, delusional, and uneducated people who cannot distinguish brown, beige, yellow, or black or any other colour except white! It was indeed a different kind of summer.
As summer winds up, the CNE is long gone, school is back, university students gone back to classes, the chorus of cicadas is silent, festivals are no longer on the weekend agenda, and cricket is getting silent, one cannot help but listen to the silence and think of the dreadful 4-letter word beginning with S _ _ _ and think “Winter is coming” (Game of Thrones).
Even the promise of all the fall TV shows returning do not fill the void of the excitement that outdoor activities and cricket bring – and for now I will just have to resort to streaming international cricket live or watch it at unearthly hours as some exclusive TV channel brings it magically into the living room. Or maybe. just maybe, Harvey from Suits might do the trick and keep me happy!
Here’s wishing the whole Canadian team all the very best in their international games. May they make new friends, experience life and cricket on international shores, write their own stories and send us some stories to write about!