Photo by Eric Jan Leusink from Unsplash
“The cool breeze surprised the shoreline, wrinkling the water as the waves lovingly rolled toward her in bubbly silver lines.
It lifted the curly short hair at her shoulder and ruffled the hem of her full skirt. She braided her hair to keep the stiff sea breeze from tossing curls in her face and smiled at nothingness.”
These are notes from last year’s autumn, when I had visited a beach for a holiday, in the western coast of India.
Thrice a week atleast, I grab a bucket full of wet clothes and spread them out into the sunshine.
Often, I am helped, by my four year old son, handing me one soggy item after another so that I could peg faster. Sometimes this reminds me of childhood when mom would hook the line with the wired pole and hoist it high into the roof to keep the sheets off the ground.
One of my fondest childhood memories involves my mother and the clothesline that stretched across our huge balcony in delhi.
In the present times, left to me, the clothes would not have any particular arrangement, even if the sun or wind were positioned differently..but that thought would deprive my little one of direct access to the possibility of dipping his hands in the bucket and making merry.
My mom grew up with line dried clothes. She lived in north Kerala where it was hot and dry. There, like in most small towns then, they line dried the clothes so the cotton sheets and towels got that stiff feeling. I used to participate for years when I visited my grandmother. That’s what I love. I noticed that the towels are kind of scratchy when I get them off the line and I love it! I feel like they actually dry instead of just the smearing water around.
Now, I live the advantages of a high raised floor in Mumbai..in this regard, with vast open space and no adjacent blocks to cover my view..which means uninterrupted flow of breeze as may happen.
Sometimes, when the sun is dipping and I pull a chair to read besides it..I love watching the clothes flap in the breeze and shine in the sun’s reflection. There is something soothing about it.
Spending some time in the porch or yard for drying clothes whenever one can, and of course when one can peacefully intend to..has some gentle advantages. I can list out these that I experienced..
- It was a great self-confidence boost for my son because he saw that he was really helping me. I was surprised to see how he would happily volunteer each time.
- I saw that was a great opportunity to talk with my boy about the character and importance of the wind and the sun. For example, it is sunny in the mornings in our balcony, so we try to hang the clothes that time.
- Taking the cloth off when they are dry and putting the clothes into the basket is fun too. I would heap him with clothes and it was a source of laughter and good banter.
- As for me, I learnt, that I like to feel the gentle breeze brushing across my face and tugging my hair. If I let the wind talk to me, it arrives at it’s own pace and it goes away after whatever it has to say. It does not come with expectations.
The shifts in the wind speed and direction, reminds me of all the variations in my moods and challenges.
The breeze in my yard, tells me how I must honour them.
It guides me to understand that instead of becoming a prisoner to the challenges in my life, I must wait it out with extreme patience and based on the currents, carefully manoeuvre my life.
I genuinely like hanging out clothes to dry. Most of the time, it’s a few minutes of peace with my thoughts, Iam on auto pilot mode and mechanically doing something with my hands. While my body is busy doing something rote and routine, my mind is free to wander.
And of course, in the not so rare situation that my four-year-old joins me, he hangs the clothes in all sorts of artistic ways (which I often re-do when he’s not looking)…he plays an important part in handing me one as needed.
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