It was the summer of 2006 in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

Mrutyunjay and I had set out from Delhi in Maruti Swift on a 4-day drive through the cities of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer was our destination in some ways. We were charmed by the stories of golden dunes in the Great Indian Thar Desert. We stayed at my friend Gajendra's home in Jaisalmer. That meant free food and accommodation for us - a huge plus if you are traveling budget.

So after exchanging pleasanteries, we sat down for dinner. Traditional Rajasthani meals are eaten in a communal thali with 3-5 people around it. The curries and rotis are soaked in ghee and the host gets great pleasure in cajoling you to eat till you are stuffed. The side effect of this hearty meal is the slumber that follows. We picked up some bedding and promptly headed for the terrace. We spread our bedding on the terrace floor and immediately straightened our backs. Oh, what bliss after a long day of driving and hiking!

Nights on the terrace are special childhood memories (for most of us!). I was reminded of the summers with cousins when we would sleep on the terrace. We would sprinkle water on the warm terrace around dusk to make it cooler for the night. We would then carry bedding upstairs and vie for the best spot on the roof. We would lie there and tell stories, count stars, connect stars, share jokes, play Antakshari, keep awake till late night and sleep in the sun till late morning.

In that one night on terrace in Jaisalmer, I relived many childhood summers.

It is an experience I will deeply treasure.


Written: Aug 2007