Thank God for the sun!

November 7, 2020

Bangalore has been experiencing unusual rains over the last few days. On some of the days, it has drizzled through the day accompanied by a cool breeze. All of us at home are wearing extra layers of clothing as a precaution.

After quite a few days, today in the morning, the sun peeped out of the clouds flooding our balcony in warm sunshine. Though the breeze is still strong, it is not as cold as yesterday.

There is a certain pleasure in enjoying the sunshine after experiencing cold weather for days on end. Though in Bangalore, both the cold and the sunshine are mild, I have had the pleasure of enjoying warm sunshine after days of extremely cold weather.

At Jungfraujoch in Switzerland, as a family, we huddled together in the snow at 11,700 ft. for a picture. Though it was sunny, it was biting cold, and being quite a windy day, we were freezing. After the picture, we headed to Indian Restaurant Bollywood at the site. The restaurant had massive glass windows and we got a table by the window. The sunshine fell on me through the closed glass window and I began removing layers of my clothing. As I sat there soaking in the sun, nothing in the Universe seemed to matter. We ended up ordering the Mumbaiyya pav-bhaji. As the plate was placed in front of me, I smelled fresh buttered pav and spotted steam rising from the bhaji with an aroma that reminded me of faraway home. With the warm glowing sunshine falling on us while people outside the window were freezing, I didn’t want the experience to end.

At Edinburgh, when my wife and I were attending our son’s Masters Graduation ceremony, it was 4 degrees and a ‘feels-like’ sub-zero around that time. On a day, when the sun was out, it was a celebration. We walked to the Christmas Fair. As we were going around, I spotted a wooden bench flooded in the warm sunshine. I must have stood at a distance, facing the bench while looking at my wife and son intermittently. They got the message. I was allowed the luxury of sitting in the sun while they went around. The bench provided a ringside view of the Fair proceedings including watching families celebrating the sun’s appearance. Many had brought their tiny dogs and cats in bags with the pets occasionally peeping out. I was surrounded by many happy family reunions. These families seemed to have gone to great lengths to celebrate the sun. In a way, both my wife and I had traveled miles to celebrate our son.

At Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara (Sikh place of worship) in the Himalayas, before entering the gurudwara, I went for a dip in the sarovar (holy pond). The sarovar was covered with a thin film of ice. I was unprepared for the dip but was warmly encouraged by fellow-pilgrims, making it easier to handle the difference in temperature. I gently cracked the ice with my open palm and entered the sarovar. Following the refreshing bath, I stood in the warm sun for some time. It was bliss followed by another blissful experience in the form of savoring hot suji-ka-halwa (Indian dessert) at the langar (community kitchen).

After a spell of cold weather, we have enjoyed the sun during long walks in different parts of the world. Whether it was sauntering around Queenstown in New Zealand as a family or walking at the Blackwattle Bay in Sydney catching up with our son or while picking strawberries at Kumeu in New Zealand or during the long sight-seeing walks with our son in Edinburgh or window shopping (the only variety of shopping that we could afford) along the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Back home, the New Delhi winters used to be cold enough to enjoy the sun that made an appearance after several days. While in college, I used to sit at a desk placed in the sun outside of my home studying. As the sun shone brighter, I would reposition my chair or suspend a bedsheet from the clothesline to insulate myself from the bright sun.

In New Delhi, we used to walk around Connaught Place, laze around at the India Gate lawns picnicking as a family, and head to Pragati Maidan for the India International Trade Fair during November. We have enjoyed the sun during our various visits to hill stations in India.

As winter approaches India, early morning fog and mist with poor visibility will be the norm, especially in the north of India. The sun will not be visible for days on end.

However, one just has to be patient for the sun to show up.

In a form, the sun is a permanent source of hope, optimism, and renewal.

Thank God for that!

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