The colours were truly of another world, which would seem almost unreal now. The sea was really blue. The sky above it those days had a chirpy brightness, in sharp and happy contrast to the grey, dusty, noxious umbrella that hangs over wintry Delhi now. The sandy strip called Andrott did sport an occasional dune by the shore; otherwise my island was like any other in Lakshadweep: flat, as the Quran said the shape of the earth was. All houses were thatched with braided palm fronds—from some angles they looked like dwarf coconut trees themselves. We too had one such dwelling, but it suffered severe damage in a cyclone. That was the year I was born: 1941.