Thursday, April 23, 2015

Under the starry skies

There are so many things that we give up doing as we grow up.
Many little things that we do as kids and then life takes over and suddenly there is no time or inclination to do those things.

Recently i had gone for a sleepover at my cousin's place and we slept on their beautiful terrace, under the starry sky in the crisp summer breeze, cooling and calming everything.
A ritual of getting the mattresses out of cobwebbed corners, dusting them, putting them all out in a line, covering them in washed, clean bedsheets, laying out the pillows and soft blankets. Putting up mosquito nets and lathering copious amounts of odomos.

And then the joy of lying down and gazing upon the sky. Nothing between you and the sky except for the light breeze like a lullaby. No ceiling, no fan, no paint and no concrete. Just you, gazing right up at the millions of stars looking down upon you. And choosing the brightest star that you would like as your diamond. My uncle used to promise us the star of our choice if we behaved ourselves. How did we never ask him for it the next night when we were off to sleep again and he made the same promise is really surprising. Maybe we were not as smart as kids are today. Maybe we really did believe in fairy tales and never looked for logic in stories. Maybe phones and videos were not as important as good old grandma narrating a story we had heard a thousand times before. Gently being lulled into sleep with the "happily-ever-afters."

And you are left wondering why did we ever stop doing this? Sleeping on the terrace? Since when did an air conditioner become preferable to a gently blowing breeze rustling your hair? Since when did an alarm wake you up instead of the early sun rays at dawn?
And the thrill of predicting if it was going to rain at night, and sometime, just sometimes,  .your predictions going wrong and big splashes of rain drops on your face in the middle of the night waking you up, urging you to quickly bundle up your mattresses, bed cover pillow and blanket and carry it inside. Sleep would then be a far way off. Watching the rain drops fall down on the very floor where you were sleeping peacefully a minute ago, dreaming about yellow sunshine and green grass.

In the course of work and family and home and social commitments little joys of life are forgotten.
Which was the last summer you had pepsi cola -  as, the flavored iced in plastic bags, was called? Which summer was it when you decided you were too old for it?

When was the last time you participated in the society's Ganesh Mahotsav games and cultural programs? When did they get boring for you?

When was the last time you played hide and seek with your cousins and friends? The scary anticipation of determining who the seeker would be, the feeling of relief that it was not you, the thrill of looking for a place to hide. I am sure as adults with the weapons of deception and manipulation tucked in our belt, we would excel at this game now.

When was the last time you sat down with your family, the whole extended family, for an amras party. Getting everyone together and assigning responsibilities - prep team, peel team, squeeze team, and the aamras. The bigger the mess created, more the joy on the faces of the company.

All these things seem golden again, when we are longing for the comfort of the familiar, the security of the known.

Phases of life take us through a journey which is varied and interesting, sometimes happy and sometimes sad, but in the end the roots never move. You come right back where you started - on certain, familiar grounds of  your childhood. We experience the world, and we travel. But all our travels remind us of home. The one place where every journey begins and ends.


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