We went up the hill yesterday.
Its a ridge that always seemed huge when we first moved to our flat at Happy Valley 5 years ago. Then 2 years ago we got to the top for the first time with our church youth.
With the kids having grown stronger (no more carrying them) and our awe of the distance dissappearing - we now are able to go up on a whim.
Like yesterday afternoon.
There we were at 5.30 PM at the bottom of the hill. And then just before 6 on the top. To our right, Thane was splayed out in sun-drenched splendour. The profusion of tall buildings catching the setting sun light - the air clear and cool - we were able to see well beyond the creek to Bhiwandi. Was that Kalyan in the distance?
But it was to the left that the magic really lies.
You cross over the gap and come... to a different world. Not a highrise - or lowrise (i.e. slum) in sight. Just hills. A few small neat shelters that the local villagers use seasonally. 2 small huts off to the side nestled in trees with smooth courtyards. And most of all - silence. Just the breeze and the rustle of leaves.
As we were sitting enjoying the evening we saw a small girl and a man in the distance. She went back and squatted down. He stayed on the path and then was joined by 3 of 4 others. One of these was a spirited girl in her early teens. She had a ball and was engaging a man who had a stick in an impromtu cricket game. She threw the ball. He swung wildly. They switched with no better results. The ball was never hit in flight. They were too far for us to hear what they were saying, but the delight and sheer fun communicated across the small valley. Backlit by the setting sun, the small puffs of dust made by happy feet still remain in my mind's eye.
We played the "thankfulness game" each one of us telling 2 things we were thankful for. Rishav and Urvashi were with us and it was wonderful to be thankful under the high bank of clouds that shimmered the sky ceiling vaunted far above us.
Being the oldest I was last.
Here is one of the things I was grateful for: The colour green. That single tree showing her pale green leaves in the slanting sun. Down there against the blacks and greys of burnt fields. Magical.
The colour green - because without cholorphyl we would be toast. How amazing that something so hard-working, efficient and versatile - would be so soothingly beautiful. Once again the whole bit of truth and beauty making itself known!
We did not want to come back down to the city. But here we are - back in Gotham!