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Friday, September 09, 2016

Of Shapes in the Clouds and other things..

The other day, me S and lil D were on a drive, and since it was a long drive, and D was being uncharacteristically quiet, and it being a glorious day, I was staring at the sky. Azure blue with clouds floating by languidly, it looked like a beautiful canvas to me; and then, my brain started to find patterns in the clouds and I was transported back to my childhood. 

It was the time before mobile phones and gadgets, before even cars had the mandatory "entertainment consoles", back before automobiles had air conditioning in India. Our family had a zippy little blue Maruti 800. I was around 7 and the sister 2. We were stationed in Kozhikode back then, but for every vacation or long weekend, without fail, we'd head to either Achan's or Amma's ancestral home. It was quite a long drive- almost 7 hours if I remember correctly. And making the journey with two kids without many avenues to keep them occupied was even harder. These days, with D only being two, I still have to pack a myriad of things to keep him from getting bored on even the usual grocery shopping expedition. 

But my parents made the journey back then, without anything to keep us kids occupied other than their wits. We'd sleep for a while, then wake up, roll the windows down, feel the wind in our hair and face and then the incessant questions would begin. When would we reach? Where had we reached now? How many more places to go before we reached? We'd play with each other for a while and then boredom would set in. And then Amma and Achan would come up with fun games for us to play. We'd sing songs. We'd spot things along the road and talk about them. And then sometimes Achan would casually look up at the sky and say, I see a rabbit in the clouds, can you? And then me and the sister would me mesmerised by the sky and thus would begin a competition to see who could spot the most outrageous shapes on the horizon.

The sheer joy of doing something so inane, and trying to outdo each other doing i,t is something I find hard to describe now. We'd scream with laughter and giggle at each other's descriptions. During the monsoons we'd look up in awe at the grey black clouds and watch in wonder as it poured. We'd trace the water drops that trailed down the glass. We'd make bets on which water droplet would make it down first. And the smell that wafted in when you rolled down the windows after the downpour, was sheer heaven. Or if it was only drizzling, we'd roll the windows down and lift our faces up to the spray. And in all these little shenanigans, we wouldn't even notice when we got to our destination. 

These days, with the advent of technology and air conditioned cars and mobile devices, all this is lost.  The inside of the car is always at the perfect temperature. There are too many things to keep you occupied- music, movies, your mobile phone, your kindle- you name it. And in the midst of all this who has the time to look up at the clouds or the trees or the rain? I'm guilty of the same as well. But the other day made me more aware of the fact that I need to get my son more interested in these. We do sing songs, and spot our favourite colour cars and big trucks, and watch for trees and rivers and what not when we go out, but his pleasure in it is all fleeting. Probably it is because of his age. Or probably it is because he's already used to technology. I'm also guilty of using technology to keep D from acting out when we are out. So maybe I'm to blame as well. And I guess to an extent, society has also become less tolerant of kids acting out in public? Anyway that's matter for another post. 

As of now, I'm going to try and teach him to spot rabbits in the clouds and play with the raindrops.

(Image Courtesy: Your's truly, taken on my iPhone) 


magiceye said...

Lovely capture of the picture and the sweet memories!

Pooh said...

Thanks so much @magiceye! Do follow my blog. Your comments are most welcome. :)

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