Monday, April 27, 2009

Is this Home?

I miss Dehradun.

Labeling it as home-sickness wouldn't be fair. Because it isn't just my home that I miss, but the entire city, the air, the roads, the bakeries and most of all, the mountains.

For around 24 years, every morning that I woke up, I would be greeted by the austere presence of the silent giants. Sometimes blue, sometimes green, sometimes gray, and innumerable mishmashed shapes in between... forever playing withe their misty companions, the clouds.
In the summers the peaks would turn grey, and there would be no sight of clouds. The vivid blue sky would provide a stark contrast to the heat wave beneath. The breeze would transform into, what we call, the loo - which in the vernacular lingo means hot wind, not the restroom! And the mountains would stand stoically day in and day out. At nights however, one could often see the stark lines of forest fires in the distance, as if the heat really did become unbearable for the rocky giants and they are venting their feelings in the dark of night.

As the parched earth calls out to the clouds, one fine day the sky gets overcast by ominous grey clouds. Mottled in various shades of grey, these block the sunlight. The relief is short lived as humidity takes over, drenching all in sweat even in bath and making the very air heavy to breathe.

And then, there's the deluge.

The heavens pour displaying their might. Often there are no drops, but streams of water! The hypnotic sound of the continuous downpour is interspersed with deafening thunder and lightning.

I've lived in Mangalore, a coastal town, and Bangalore. But nowhere have I witnessed thundering and lightening as extensive, boisterous and spectacular, as in Dehradun. It is the mother of all pyrotechnic shows!

As the rains recede, the mountains take on a lovely green hue. Vibrant and rich, the various shades of green glisten in the subdued sun, contrasting uncommonly against the grey sky and the white swans gliding in the foreground.

It is a magical time. Every evening around 3:30 it rains heavily. And then remnants of the rain clouds - wispy and translucent white cloudlets - cling on to the hills and mountains, dressing them in sheer serenity. And then, when the sun sets, these very cloudlets burst forth in tantalizing colours such as fiery orange, pinks, violets and yellows... it is mother nature's reality show...

Come September and the rains recede, giving way to chill in the air and the festive spirit in the hearts of people. The clouds continue their visits to their peaked friends, but lesser in quantity and more friendly. The Autumn skies are like the canvas of an artiste gone creatively crazy... every few minutes the picture alters.

And in winters, the mountains drape themselves in white - snow white.

This is how it happens. First it becomes really cold. Then it starts raining. The cold is so so cold, that if you venture out, you'll feel your limbs are being chopped off in 'cold heat'. Get the picture? Add to it the dreary grey skies and a sun that shies away from the cold wind. And when it rains, all you can do is to cozy up in your rajai and sip hot chocolate. The next morning you brave the biting cold and venture to the rooftop, and the sight takes your breath away.

The semi-circle of mountains is capped white, glistening, sparkling white, with white clouds rolling up and down their slopes... How do I describe that beauty? Well... it doesn't just influence the eyes. You feel at a loss for words... 'wow'...'wonderful'.. etc don't suffice. You give up and surrender to the beauty. You don't search for words, but revere it in silence, allowing the magnificence to seep into you and steep you with a silent and heavy exhilaration. And... you just pray.

In fact, you don't pray, but the prayer happens... a wordless prayer, not to ask for anything, but arising out of a sense of overwhelming gratitude...

Yes, that's my home.

In the journey of life, the directions can get pretty dull and unclear. However, the birds need no direction to reach home. Their instinct leads them. Similarly, life may become dull, confusing and muddied... but the way home is always clear. Who knows... the end of the journey may be home itself?


  1. Very well brought tears to my have drawn a true picture of our home, and now I miss it even more!

  2. Well that makes two of us Rita ....You have painted the picture so beautifully....unbelievable Anu !!..

  3. Thanks :) I believe I have been really blest to have grown up amidst such beauty...

  4. Very well written Anu. Captures the 'fragrence of the soil' and revives the fond memories of Doon. Keep it up !

  5. I remember strolling in Paltan Bazaar and salivating at the sight of the jars in pickle shops. And passing the various small stations named this-Wala and that-Wala. And of course, the even-looming presence of the Himalayas! I even remember watching a soft-porn Malayalam movie in a run-down theatre where one could smoke even inside the theatre! Theatre ka naam bhool raha hoon.

    Dehra Dun anyday! Or Rishikesh for that matter.