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I bet each one of you has an umbrella story (or several) to tell. My first memory of an umbrella is probably from the time I was five–or younger–huddling under a huge black umbrella with a wooden handle; at least it seemed huge at the time to my 2.2 feet self. Summer days in the balcony under the fabric, pretending to be in a tent. Kudos to my mom for some quick thinking, eh, in creating the setting for my make-believe world. Also, it was easy to maneuver. And twirl, this way and that. Even then, I yearned for a beach umbrella, of the sort I saw in my books. Huge colorful striped stretches that seemed to house entire families under it, around a picnic table laden with all kinds of goodies. Shelter from the sun. Beach in the distance, waves lapping at the shore. I think that’s one of…

It happened in 1982. Most of you reading this were probably not even born (couldn’t resist that—what with most people addressing me as anything but Vidya these days *evil grin*) I was in the first year of college, studying for a B.Sc. and had moved mid-year from Secunderabad to Madras. Yes, always Madras to me—I find it so hard to think of it as Chennai. We lived in a little house that was part of a larger house. The house owners lived upstairs. Their family comprised of a sickly guy—who always had an aura of Iodex or Vicks or liniment around him—and his Mom, an absolutely chirpy full-of-life lady. They were kind people. We shared the downstairs with another family that had its own “portion” and a side entrance. From the looks of it, it appeared as though we occupied the building, as we had the main front entrance. Right…

I would be a liar if I said I didn’t miss the excitement of the first day of school. I am not referring to the very first time my two-and-a-half-year-old stepped into playschool, and jauntily walked off, quite happy to see all the toddlers milling around, leaving a very teary-eyed me at the gate. I remember looking back every two steps as I walked back home, as if expecting to see his reproachfully sad face urging me to take him back home. As it happened, I was the only sad face around, much to my husband’s amusement. I am referring to the glorious month of June each year, when a new academic year would begin. We would have started preparing a month before, sourcing the text books, then covering all the school books in brown paper and sticking the labels, and arguing over who should write the names. Talking of…

There’s something so satisfyingly special about watching the rain from indoors. Warm, cozy, safe, and with a big mug of steaming filter coffee, while the water drizzles or lashes haphazardly, humoring the wind, loitering around with it, playing with it as it drenches everything in its wake. The scent of the rain hitting the earth, oh! One can practically hear the plants perking up and getting ready for the treat! ♥ Rain drops are the perfect lullaby! During my childhood, our house had tall windows with wide ledges where one could place a few cushions, lean back, watch the world go by or get lost in one’s own world with a book. I have sweet memories of yearning to go walk outside in the rain, wearing a raincoat and gumboots. Oh, how badly I wanted those gum boots! I’d feel envious of all the other kids at school wearing them…

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