Red and yellow have been knitted with…pink and magenta have been admired …blue and green have been savored…This summer day however, has been made for the color grey. Grey seeps into every shade and tint of the sky, mixes with the green and brown pine trees, floods the hills and valleys and finally, consolidates into thick dense clouds which blot out the sun and all the summer colors in the forest.
Today promised to be a sparkling day—bright sunshine, pink and orange blossoms on trees, red and magenta geraniums in pots and warm smiles on passing faces. I spent the morning at the studio—packing cotton hand-knit shawls and chatting about the wedding with Deepa and Meena ( my best knitters). After tea with the courier staff and a quick chat about the election results, it was time to drink some more tea with a dear friend and comment on her knitting project. We met while I was getting the car serviced at the century old garage of Ranikhet. Her husband, the best car engineer in these hills, insisted on introducing me to his wife, and the rest is history. She is decades older than me and avoids walks and dogs. I drive over for the best cup of tea ever, some authentic Mughlai food and an hour of knitting, Ranikhet news and good Urdu conversation. It’s an unusual and unique bond and I am glad for its presence.
The drive home was windy and grey. The town looked faded and inconsequential, the green forests seemed erased with mist and the gusts of wind blew flower petals to carpet the road. Hema hurried home to her fevered daughter and the dogs cuddled up to me while I knit the last rows of the red jacket. I had plans for a long evening walk till sunset, a quick dinner and then some blogging. The last week’s wedding, my completed knitting projects, thoughts about life—they have all been jostling for space in my mind. I wanted to jot them all down, and keep the momentum of writing going.
5 pm felt like 7 pm today. Thick dark clouds closed in to obliterate the blue sky, the golden setting sun and the green forest. The wind picked up speed and that was when the noisy shower of dry pine needles falling and covering the entire landscape began. It has not stopped till now, two hours after it began. I can spy monkeys huddled closely in the mighty deodar branches and can hear no more evening birdsong.
This is when the color grey takes over completely. Grey clouds in a grey sky, grey mountains and grey mist, grey rain lashing down on grey tin roofs, silver lightning descending from the heavens into this grey earth and the summer thunderstorm takes center stage.
As I write this post, the lightning rips the skies and floods the entire valley. The wind howls and shrieks and rattles the windows. The rain comes cracking down and beats a noisy rhythm on the cow-shed. Goats, cows, human beings—we are all quiet and awe-struck.
I will go and sit in the balcony now, feel the wind and rain, and wait for the next act in this play set up by Nature. The rolling thunder claps are yet to begin. The valleys are dark. Electricity supplies have been suspended and I have to thank my robust invertor for powering this laptop and my writing.
Far away in the darkness, steadily shines a tiny light on a hill top. It’s the shrine of a powerful Goddess of the hills. The light burns in all seasons and at all times, reassuring her devotees and comforting the weak-hearted. Summer storms can rage and roar. Monsoon deluges can pour down endlessly. Winter winds can bring snow and hail. The light keeps shining. The blessings keep coming. Gratitude and joy keeps welling up in the heart of this hamlet dweller.