The Sun on my Roof

Summer evening in Vancouver
Summer evening in Vancouver
Summer evening in Vancouver

Did you ever try to make a jigsaw puzzle with the numberless stars in the sky? If not, sometimes may be give it a fair try, in a clear summer sky, winter nights being chilly. Its mind-boggling for sure.

Summer nights are quite warm where I used to live, in India. Here, in Vancouver, it’s quite cold though. But, thanks to global warming all the seasons rush passed by like unruly children in a queue and we are left to notice just the first one and the last one, namely just summer and the winter. While it is the rains that always used to put a smile on my face no matter how grumpy I might be feeling, the summers used to drain away the curve from my lips. And it used to leave me looking at the sky to see traces of black clouds forming a niche amidst the clear blue and sunny sky. But if summers are not here, then monsoons would be lacking in charm for sure.

As a child, given to hearing so many stories, some from the children books and some from the fertile imagination of my parents and grandparents, there was always some food for thought. And while summer would be in its full-sway and one felt really bored with the homework that you got from school for the summer holidays, I retired to the open verandah we had in our home that looked towards the street and reclined on the straw mat resting my head on the lap of the story-teller, that was either my grandparents or my mother and looked at the vast sky above. It is one such memory I have that I would treasure forever, and perhaps in the future when I shall have children of my own, tell them those stories under one such star-lit sky.

There was always a game that I played in my mind. In it I actually tried to imagine a familiar object unfamiliar. It came to me naturally. Later on when I was studying world literature in the University then I came to know that I was not the only one having played this innocent little game. Great poets from Wordsworth to others, also saw the world in a Kaleidoscopic light, just like a room lit up by the same sunlight but in different ways. But anyways, this was my one little game.

As I lay down under the star-lit sky and watched the white fairy-winged cloudlets pass by, sometimes shielding the moon, I imagined that it was a vast ocean above me, and I was underwater, a complete new world underneath. The clouds were the ripples on the ocean. The big black sky was the ocean that had another earth under its veil, and what if the sky is an ocean, and the earth is just a world below the ocean. It all seems gibberish, but to an artist’s mind it seems a fair one to paint it on his canvas, isn’t it? Sometimes as my grandfather identified the various shapes in the sky linking the stars calling one as the ‘Hercules’, another the ‘question mark’ (I always called it so instead of its scientific name) and many more, I used to make my own starry figures. Somehow in an invisible canvas I tried to connect the stars and made a boat, or an umbrella and I even tried to find alphabets in the stars. It was a game that kept me and my sister busy until dinner was ready.

Summer was all about ice-creams for us. I always tried to make ice creams at home. I never understood why the shops which sold ice creams were so creamy and perfect? Since those I tried to make at home with the help of my mother in summer afternoons were not the same. We took out ice trays from the fridge and filled the small cups in them with milk and sugar and again put it in and expected the ice cream to be ready in about a fortnight. But I, being the curious one, always had to take the tray out at fifteen minute intervals to see whether it had been ready. Those came out to be some kind of frozen milk cubes, but since it was completely our handmade innovation, it tasted divine.

So there goes some of the happy memories of summer that I really wanted to share. Each season has its own like share of memories. Just like the scent of a new book, or the tune of your favorite song or a fresh cup of coffee in a lazy morning, evokes many shades of happiness in our minds, each season, of whatever we get, associates our minds with different memories. Memories, that lay scattered as pebbles on the shore. When we thus travel afar, getting busy with life, and while tiring ourselves in the daily schedule, sometimes we might pause to take a breath and might come to the window side and watch the same summer sun playing light and shade on the ground. The grass swaying in the light. And then the mind whispers a song so dear, that reminds me of a lazy summer afternoon at my home, trying to make ice creams, the small fridge we had, the curious eyes impatient for the frozen delight, and then my heart fills with the sweetness of that half-formed wobbly cup of ice-cream, the afternoon treat, when there was sun on my roof.

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