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It is that time of the year again when your mind wanders to days that were, and the longing for them to return fills your heart. In the air hangs the mild smell of burning leaves, a reminder of similar seasons past.

We at the southernmost tip of what’s called God’s Own Country had a long run of rain last year. Of course the sun showed its face in between, sometimes for a couple of days and at other times for a couple of hours,  just so everyone would know who really was the boss around here on Earth. In reality though, it was rains that ruled, for almost six long glorious months.

Not everyone might call those the ‘glorious’ months, but then I love rains. This time around though, even I started despairing of the mildew and the damp, of the clothes that never seemed dry enough in spite of spinning for long in the washing machine, the moss that made walkways slippery, also the muddy paw prints that Luci made all over the white tiled floor, and wanted the sun to show its face more often, for longer spells so as to dry some of the moisture off.

It is now only two weeks since the rains have stopped falling and yet here I am missing it already. How green had been the surroundings. And vibrant too. Everything seemed alive, and growing. The leaves on trees and bushes glowed. The weeds that had been ruthlessly banished, grew back with a vengeance, their glee apparent in their lushness. The birds and butterflies who vanished to safety when it rained, would wait for a respite to come out and joyfully flit around. It did not matter if it was the middle of the day, the rains had made it cool enough for them to frolic without fear of the sun’s heat scorching and tiring them. They’d call out cheerily and lustily which is when I’d go out too, to capture them in their element.

Now, everything looks lifeless, and it is only the first week of January. The trees stand listless, too tired to move their limbs, their leaves already dusty and lackluster. I brave the sun and walk the yard and the terrace, looking for birds and butterflies. They seem to have vanished. I can only hear the crows and the hardy mynas. Sometimes a lone sunbird can be heard from somewhere inside the dull looking canopy of the tamarind tree. The only birds undaunted by the rising mercury levels are the kites. They fly in lazy circles against the startling blue sky. Trying to focus on them with the camera is a different matter altogether. The brightness hurts the eyes.

The perks of January come in a different form. The night sky sparkles with stars, something that was totally missing during the rainy months. When I go to the terrace for my after dinner stroll I look at them and wonder, ‘What if…?’ weaving impossible scenarios. The full moon on Christmas night was clear of clouds and cast its milky light  creating a magic kingdom of black and white. But, the best of January is the striking sunrises that can be seen from my balcony, or from the terrace if I need a better and unobstructed view. Here are some pictures. They have been clicked with the cell phone.

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I bet the sunsets are equally wonderful, but then, they are not visible from my home. I’ll have to go to the beach one of these days and try to get some shots. So here’s to January of the spectacular sunrises (also sunsets) and the clear skies filled with the many stars. And yet, I hope the dark cloud visits, briefly, stealthily, and gives of its bounty.

©Shail Mohan 2016