“Is she okay?”
He was about to retort – “Why don’t you ask her?” – when he felt her hand squeezing his slightly. A hint – keep calm. He looked at his beautiful wife – dressed in typical Indian finery – a light blue saree, few ornaments, a large red dot in the middle of her forehead (the third eye) and very little make-up. She insisted in being dressed in Indian dress – wherever she went. Even in the pre-dawn light at 4:30 a.m. on the top of a volcano somewhere in Maui – she seemed tranquil. But shivering – more with high fever than the actual temperature. She insisted on coming to the sun-rise – despite ill health.
He always abhorred it when people, based on her attire, assumed that she did not speak English. Au contraire – she was fluent in eleven languages – four of them ‘European’.
“She is fine – just feeling a bit cold” – he replied to the onlooker.
“They were all gathered on the top of the volcano – with more mountains in silhouette. Sun-rise on lava was the theme. They had started from their hotel at 4:00 a.m. to be on the spot just before the sun-rise.
Though dressed warmly, there was incessant chattering of their teeth, as also chattering from the people around them. People kept rubbing their palms to warm up and continued to wait for the grand finale.
Slowly the rocks behind them started changing colours, and the sky ahead of them burst into flames. Time froze. Everyone held their breath. A finger of ray followed by another; explosion of colours! A spontaneous standing ovation. All of them – from different soils, and regions – felt connected. Dawn cracked, and the sun-yolk oozed out.
June 15, 2018