By Neel Anil Panicker
Uncle Kamal looked up and his eyes followed the raised finger.
“Oh that, ” he replied, “That’s a sundial.
What’s a sundial, Uncle Kamal?
Uncle Kamal’s brows furrowed but then eased as instantly, just as he broke into a broad smile that found resonance in his eyes.
He sidled up to his nephew and spoke, his voice this time matching the excitement and curiosity of the ten year old.
“That, dear Suhel is something that helps us to find the time of the day.”
“Come, I will show you how it works.”
He led the boy to a flat surface on the grassy incline and pointed towards a huge earthen plate on which were hand pointers.
“You see these huge hands. They stand for the hours of a day. The pointer on which the sun’s shadow falls is the hour of the day.”
Little Suhel seemed quite impressed but after poring intensely at the huge circular instrument, he looked up, and then turning towards Uncle Kamal asked, “But there’s no trace of the sun now. How do we know what the time is?”
Uncle Kamal smiled again, and replied,”My dear nephew, you are right. You see the weather is downcast. The sky above has turned silvery and the clouds, dark and floating, can be seen. Its Nature’s way of telling us the time. And if you look closely, there is a reddish tinge to the skies. That is the sun which whispers us the time.”
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