The Rejuvenating Springtime Picnics: Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

I don’t know why, but the meals we have on picnics always taste so much nicer than the ones we have indoors- Enid Blyton.

Since yore, picnics have always been a lure for human beings. One of the greatest joys of a lazy summer is munching sandwiches and drinking hot coffee or a lemonade beside an enchanting beach or on a sprawling green patch of a lush garden. Of late, clicking a selfie at the earmarked selfie corner is catching up fast too.

As spring arrives, the pleasant weather goads you to plan a location and pack up the choicest food in your picnic bags and to go vroooomm for a long drive to a beach, a lake or a park setting.

Climbing up the slopes of Chinguacousy park or watching the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring at the Centennial Park or the Trinity Bellwoods Park in late April to early May in a 200–300 temperature helps you heal, unwind, destress and is the perfect getaway to forget the spiritually vacant overstimulation of our daily lives. 

With great relish, I recall chomping Indian delicacies, when we siblings were escorted to the Seminary Hills Garden of Nagpur, India, by our parents during the 80s. Mom used to fill flasks with hot water and picnic boxes with poha, onion bhajias and bread butter-the aroma of which used to waft in the surroundings when it was served on paper plates with green chutney and tomato ketchup. We used to throw dozens of milk, sugar, tea and coffee sachets in the picnic bag to have hot milky, sweetened coffee, once there. The water-sprayed green, velvety, inviting grass of the hills and the morning crisp breeze instantly soothed our senses. And we kids played Ringa Ringa Roses, Hide and Seek and frolicked all-round the place.

The fun and flavours of stuffed karelas, brinjals with puris in the first-class cabins of the superfast passenger trains (and later AC compartments) is something that will never fade from my memory. During summer vacations of my childhood, my father being in Railways, the whole first-class compartment used to be ours when we travelled to New Delhi, our native place. It was divine pleasure to be with the entire family. For lighter meal, during hot afternoons, mom used to peel boiled potatoes and chopped onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, green chillies and add thick cool curd to this medley of veggies and then sprinkled salt and red chilli powder to it. This assortment, along with overnight puris, as lunch in the train, used to taste like heaven for we kids.

During school-days, when we were teenagers with hearty appetite, the aroma of egg-curry or mashed fried potatoes with home-made soft chapatis and mango pickle that wafted from the school tiffins or the mouth-watering khasta kachoris, or gobhi and paneer pakoras vended at the landmark street joints of New Delhi, have etched their mark on our memories.

During my prime, sites like The Champ de Mars park behind the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France or Superkilen public park of Copenhagen, Denmark, provided the same rejuvenation and I rocked in the company of my precious family.

Droughts of hot coffee and luscious mayonnaise laden lettuce, bell pepper and cucumber tortilla bites intoxicated us with satiety and gaiety. 

It was sheer bliss.

Same way the spring season walks through the trails are as exciting and invigorating as outdoor picnics. Strolling through North American trails it’s no surprise sighting beautiful American Robins, dark-eyed juncos, three-toed woodpecker, American Redstart or American Goldfinch across the trail and to hear their mumbled cuck or tuk or trill or po-ta-to chip. They perch on trees so admirably as if wanting to be photographed. Spring season revives this natural flora and fauna and reinvigorates the dormant plants after the colder winter months. They begin to grow again; new seedlings start sprouting and beautiful colourful birds throng your backyards.

Same are picnics. These outdoor drives, locations and short stays revive and reinvigorate people who have become more like mercenary automatons working relentlessly forgetting the essential truth of human life.

I'm really big on day dates. If you go for a stroll, have a picnic or lunch with a glass of wine - it doesn't get better than that. Meghan Markle


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