Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Starry Nights

Staring at the night sky in pitch darkness was an opportunity we had an abundance of growing up. Power outages were the bane of summer nights. We stayed outdoors as long as possible to cool off. Later men would sleep in the open on charpoys and folding cots while the women stewed indoors. Despite the heat and the humidity it was wonderful to watch the stars on a cloudless night - for a little bit, the irritations and aggravations of the day melted away. When in love, you wondered if the object of your adoration was also watching the moon scud through the clouds and thinking of you as you were of them.

Then the moment would pass, the spell would be broken by the sting of a mosquito that you had to swat. The yawning gap between heaven and earth would become too obvious to ignore. In their mating season, the dhols on the streets would yelp in coital ecstasy forcing you to shutter the windows.

Reading about how the lights were made to go off in Reykjavik for people to watch the stars brought back memories of dark summer nights of long ago that though not of our own choosing were not fully void of pleasure for that. I often wished all lights would be turned off on Diwali so there was nothing but glowing candles and oil lamps to illumine the night.

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