I was sitting ensconced in the comfort and warmth of the hall, wondering if we could have an early dinner when my children’s father stepped in with the much-awaited masala dosas. Through the open door, a clattering noise rushed in as the kids went running towards it to greet their father(or to snatch the dosa packets?). So it had been raining and we weren’t even aware of it! As I neatly placed the dosas on the plates, my son floated a bright idea. Why not have a rainy picnic in the balcony the hall overlooked?
Just a week back, I had got my balcony covered by transparent glass panes that could be opened to let the sunbeams pour in during sunny hours and closed when the monsoon rain threatened to flood the floor and even gatecrash into the hall. The mat spread out across the balcony floor, the platefuls of dosas spreading their aroma, my little daughter too excitedly joined her brother there, pleading with me to carry my dinner there.
I gave in readily and for some time there was nothing but the music of rain seeping in through the nooks and corners of the glass barrier as we tore off pieces from our dosas. And then I remembered Advaita had to go back to his keyboard again for this was his usual practice time (the arrival of the dosas had ended it abruptly), as part of his daily evening routine. Another nagging thought followed it soon – his mid-term exams are approaching and so he has to complete brushing his ‘portions’ because this is the last week-end he would get before the mid-term exams were to commence. My eyes went over to my son.
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Through with his dinner, he was now looking at the night sky heavy with the clouds, the silhouettes of the tall trees that rose from the lawn down, all standing still in the wet, unquiet darkness and listening to the steady downpour that fell on the leaves, the branches and the grassy lawn. Advaita is a city boy who has never, I repeat never, drawn pleasure from the beauty of nature on his own; he rather prefers to pore over a story book or park himself before the TV or the laptop. But today is amazingly different!.The pitter-patter of the rain and the dark sky outside the window panes have strangely caught his fancy. He seemed to relish each and every moment that passed by us, huddled behind the glass.
I thought of the hours he had spent with his books during the day, the minutes he had practiced playing the keyboard some time back and I thought of this special balcony picnic that we are having for the first time. I thought of the hurried, rushed, packed days my son has, with school, assignments, keyboard practice and evening play session. Then I thought of the little bonding time my daughter gets to have with her brother. And I could not ignore my son’s never-till the other day-urge to experience nature in a rain-soaked night. Nor could I ignore the delight on my daughter’s face at having her brother beside her in such a relaxed mood. I couldn’t hurry them. I didn’t want to hurry them. Next day is a Sunday and such beautiful nights, even if they come again, would be rare.
Life is rushed, childhood even more. So it does make all the more sense to heed the heart, once in a while. To pause when the load feels very heavy, to relish the golden moments one craves for and then rejuvenated, carry on again. I am glad that as a parent, I let my son have his way for a day, that I didn’t prod my daughter to brush her teeth, that as a parent I did not use my authority to insist that they stuck to their bedtime as per routine. This is a night, I would reminisce, as a mother, when a rainy evening came tapping on my balcony window-panes, maybe even decades later!
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