Open Page

View from above

Going up to the terrace almost always takes me back to my childhood.

Going up to the terrace almost always takes me back to my childhood. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Clutching a hot cup of tea in my hands, I climbed the ladder to our terrace. It had been a while since I was up there. The setting sun shone bright enough to make me squint. Since I have been working from home for over two years, it was one of the few times that I climbed up to just stare at the sky. It was as beautiful as always.

Going up to the terrace almost always takes me back to my childhood. I have spent hours on my grandparents’ terrace with my friends, playing, running, fighting, or just talking. Whenever visiting another friend’s house, we would find the terrace and be there. From our apartment, we would go up to the terrace, play or just be. Up there, it felt like our world suddenly expanded, and everything that we saw was ours.

I found a spot, not too direct to the sun, and settled down there. Over 15 years have passed by since I routinely walked up and looked around. There were familiar sights that one could find then and there were newer things to spot. The first thing that caught my attention was a straight line of white cloud, stretching through the blue sky, disappearing into the clouds. “It must be the trail of a jet,” I think to myself. I remember those. As children, we would spot them occasionally, with excitement, just tracing the jet as it glided through the sky, looking at it in awe. It made me smile.

When we couldn’t find a jet, we were content just looking at the clouds as they passed by. We would try to find shapes in them and once even spotted a King Kong-shaped one. It was enough entertainment for us. That day, I found a sheep.

Adding to the familiarity were the coconut trees that peered over roofs, swaying gently to the winds. Many of the houses in the area have these trees. On the not so familiar side, now there are more buildings, many multi-storeyed. There was a time when most of it was just land. My friends and I would ride our bikes through the neighbourhood to mounds of sand on empty plots. These were kept for construction work. When no one was around, we would park our bikes there, sit in the sand and play.

Sometimes, we brought snacks with us. Now things have changed. I turned my attention to the tree that shields our house from the sun. Its branches now reach up to the level of the terrace. I remember it from years ago, when it was newly planted. It has since then grown to two storeys, shed an unbelievable number of leaves throughout the years for us to sweep up, been pruned multiple times to keep it off electrical wires and been a parking attraction for any visitors to the entire street. It stands tall with beautiful, lush green leaves, leaves that scream of life, topped excessively with the prettiest little white flowers, housing ecstatic squirrels jumping from branch to branch and birds that don’t stop singing. How the tree has grown!

The crows are familiar, but the pigeons are new. As I sipped my evening tea, I wondered when I stopped coming up to the terrace. No matter how busy in school, we would always find time to come up to play or lie on our backs and stare at the stars, have dinner in the moonlight, just smile, and breathe and as the clouds moved in slow motion, the fleeting time briefly slowed down for us. When did we stop coming to the terrace?

christie.nikita@outlook.com


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 5:01:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/view-from-above/article65543701.ece