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It was on a beautiful morning in July that I looked up at this sky and marveled. Rain had given way to a sunny day. The sky was a lovely blue, the clouds a pristine white, a combination hard to beat. The pattern the clouds made took me back to a night decades earlier.

My friends and I had just finished dinner at the mess, as had the rest of the inmates of the college hostel. Some of us were walking back to the hostel to get back to their studies, others to the grotto next to the church to pray before returning to the hostel. I tagged along with the grotto gang as that would mean some more time in the open, away from compulsory study time. As we meandered along, I glanced up at the sky and was enthralled by the moon sailing in a sea of clouds. The clouds reminded me of something. Turning to my friends I blurted out, “Doesn’t the sky look like someone, maybe a baby giant, has upset a large bowl of curds? I bet the mom giant is not too pleased!”

Before anyone could reply, one of the seniors walking past, turned to look at me. “Wow.” she smiled. “You have quite an imagination. Nice!” I remember being pleased. Praise from a senior, a talented one at that, was not to be taken lightly. Anyway, ever since that day the curd analogy to these kind of clouds is stuck in my mind.

It is only years later that I went looking for name of this cloud pattern and then I learnt, these small rows of fluffy ripples are called altocumulus clouds. Apparently they are mid-level clouds, and are composed primarily of water droplets. They indicate changing weather conditions. Warm air rises and cools into water droplets, forming the cloud patterns we see when we look up. They don’t usually bring rain, I read. But they definitely bring joy to the heart, don’t they?

© Shail Mohan 2021