Sunshine on shoulders, a spring in my step!

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Sunshine on shoulders, a spring in my step!

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 | Sanjay Chandra

Sunshine on shoulders, a spring in my step!

We still have time to take a step back to pause, reflect and act, to leave a better world for the generations to come

Summers have been harsh this year. I do not recall Delhi temperatures shooting to 50 degrees plus in the 26 years since we shifted to the national capital. Advisories have been issued by the state governments to avoid venturing out in the afternoons. However, a month down the line, we would forget the harrowing days; and long for a glimpse of sun as monsoon clouds darken the skies.

A few months back, I looked out of my window one morning. The sun was struggling to light up the day with just a pale glimmer of its full-blown glory. It transported me back a few decades when I was posted in a railway production unit in east India. One afternoon in March or April, while driving me back to the office after lunch, the driver commented, "Sir, I don't like this month. The days are so sad." His observation was a revelation to me. The afternoon during the two months is often dull in the eastern part of the country, with a haze of moist air shrouding everything.

I have travelled to England a couple of times for vacations. We were chilled to the bones during the first visit as we braved the heavy rains lashing us. We walked with a spring in our steps as bright sunshine greeted us the second time. We noticed that on such rainy days, even the locals longed for the sun to peep out of the clouds. This welcome respite would be enough for the parks to be filled with screaming children, sedately walking adults, and sprinting health enthusiasts.

Sun plays an important role in our lives in other ways also. My wife, and even others, insist on drying clothes under the sun. I have also witnessed this in other countries. I have often wondered about the reasons despite the availability of devices serving the same purpose. The argument is that no equipment can impart the antibacterial properties or the fresh smell and crisp feeling that exposure to sunlight does. I would tend to agree, as even I do not like the smell of moist clothes left indoors to dry under the fan during rainy months.

There are health benefits too. We are told to spend a few minutes under the sun to get the sunshine vitamin, most essential for our health. Sunshine is also celebrated through numerous phrases that compare the people in our lives or even their attributes to the bright light. A friend calls an octogenarian friend, 'sunshine', simply because the older person is ever smiling. There are several other similar compliments like 'You are the sunshine that brightens my world with love' or 'Smiles are little rays of sunshine' and many more.

Eulogies have been paid to other celestial bodies as well, but they pale when compared with the brightest star in our firmament. Sun Temple in Konark is a testament to the importance accorded to the life-giver. Many cultures, religions, and earlier civilizations were based around sun worship.

All these myriad thoughts flitted through my mind as I sat sipping my tea that pale morning. I realised that the feeble sunlight was also due to our self-serving desires without paying heed to the need to create a pollution-free environment.

We still have time to take a step back to pause, reflect, and act, to leave a better world for the generations to come! They also have the right to hum the timeless opening lines of the beautiful song by John Denver, "Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine, almost always, makes me high."

(The writer conducts workshops on creative writing for young adults and corporate executives. Views are personal)

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