The Gentle Breeze

Some of my most cherished memories of Dehradun are from the spring of 1995. It was the year of my grade ten boards, I used to wake up early in the morning so that I could get more done while the world slept. To avoid the temptation of crawling back in the warm razai, I used to go and study in the verandah. This verandah was an ideal spot to see the world wake up. The dark starry chilly night sky used to turn grey, pink and then pale orange as the sun started peeking out from behind the trees. The dawn used to the best time for observing the plants. The flowers of myriad varieties and colors, geraniums, begonias, phlox and my favorites the roses, shimmering with pearly dew. The rosebud drenched in the morning dew would slowly dry off as the sun rose, one by one the petals would unfurl until by ten in the morning it would be a full-blown rose. The transformation used to leave me mesmerized and in awe of the power of nature. The garden would become noisy, full of birds, parrots, mynahs, sparrows, hopping, chirping creating a din that reached a crescendo at dawn. They seemed to be chattering, eager to go on ahead with their day.

Afternoons were spent on the roof, where I used to sit in the shade of the overhanging branches of the litchi tree. The mild breeze and the swaying green leaves would make the afternoon sun a little more gentle. The birds now had softer chirps, as if they too felt drowsy with the heat. The trees, the chirps, the breeze, all conspired to create an atmosphere most conducive for teenage daydreaming, the books open but their words not really registering.

The sunsets were a marvelous show put up by nature, the shades of orange, grey, pink and all in between, bleeding into one another, creating a new painting every day. The pigeons and parrots, cooing and squawking, almost as if they, too, were singing praises to the Lord. The colors stayed for a long time in the sky after the sun slipped behind the mountains, till the stars started twinkling and the sky was covered with millions of them, covering the deep dark sky.

Alas, the year I became aware of the beauty of nature in spring was also my last spring in Dehradun. The magical mornings, drowsy afternoons and glorious sunsets are now lost. The lack of time and rampant construction all around means that we hardly get to breath fresh air, let alone see the blue sky. Even when we go on vacations it is now hard to just sit still and observe, the brain refuses to switch off the to-do list in the mind.

Sometimes, however, these elusive gifts of nature seem tangible. The smell of neem flowers in the summers of Dubai, the bees hovering over flowers in my mother’s garden , a single butterfly coming out of no where , asking you to follow her, or like today, when I am sitting under a tree with the wind caressing its leaves and cooling me in this heat, the birds are chirping merrily, the woodpecker flitting close by, the deep red of the flowers a deep contrast with the green of the leaves.

If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine myself back on the roof in Doon.

8 thoughts on “The Gentle Breeze

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