There are times when it’s important to step forward into simpler times.
We’ve taken a break from the daily grind before we head back into the throes of it.
We’ve been in Hyderabad for over a month now, with a week’s break in between on a tropical island.
Time stops still here, in my husband’s family home. A grandmother, a grandfather, an uncle and aunt and 2 other children. Home cooked meals twice a day and no school mean that my children float in a bubble of contentment. There are no deadlines, no assignments, nothing which needs to be done except play.
Occasionally one child will walk out of their grandmother’s room chewing something sweet and sticky, and soon three others will follow. Often their grandmother will follow them around with freshly cut fruit and they will eat in front of the television, because in their grandmother’s house, they can.
Sometimes I will bathe all four children and sometimes their aunt will.
There is no drought of love here.
However, in the in-between times, four children have to find ways to amuse themselves. In the midst of 40°c summer heat it’s not easy being cooped up indoors. There’s television, a few board games, paper crafts, role play, books and if an adult obliges, there are trips to the mall, the museum or bookshop.
But the heat is stifling, the days are heavy and oppressive. The sun stands stubbornly at her post punishing us all, keeping us all captive.
Eventually, even the gods have had enough.
The wind blows as if he has just awoken like Rip Van Wrinkle, from a long unnatural slumber. He suddenly remembers his place in the world, exulting in the freedom of knowing who he is, who he always was, he revels in the tumult and chaos. The chains are broken, clouds gather in solidarity, ready for their part.
The children make a kite, send it soaring, flying, clutching the string close, afraid to let the kite soar further, until the wind tugs and their little hearts respond and their kite and their hearts are released. They are sky-borne.
But this is all short lived.
Again the sun appears. Angry, yellow, searing, peering down its nose at those who dared to meddle in the ways of her indelible summer.
This time the skies revolt, dance and stamp with no thought for grace or rhythm. They rumble and bellow and grumble and shift uncomfortably, with the weight of a hundred thousand sky elephants. Finally the skies fall with thunderclaps and arrows of electric lights, sending down rivers to flow where there once were roads. Darts of rain fall, unflinchingly tearing the earth apart to allow boats of paper to flow.
Their grandmother, with pieces of newspaper on her lap, fashions tiny crafts of paper, whilst telling of how she made these boats for their father, how she made them when she was a little girl. The children, impatient at the scale of time beyond their years, clamour for the boats.
“This one’s mine, this one’s mine?” they shout.
Downstairs, the rain still falls, the road river still flows and children yelp and splash and launch their paper hopes into the water with no thought to tomorrow or what will come next.