By Adnan Abidi

Near my house in Delhi at Deenu bhai’s tea stall, I noticed a very young visitor; 7-year-old Sohail. He was Deenu bhai’s relative visiting him from Aligarh for the summer breaks. Before leaving for work, I enjoyed a cup of tea at Deenu bhai’s, and as usual, I was sipping a steaming hot cup of tea with a snack when I saw Sohail with a drawing book.

Hot summer mornings keep away a lot of lazy lads who otherwise are found gossiping at Deenu bhai’s place. I was finding no such company, so I asked Sohail what he’s been up to. He showed me a few landscape drawings, which were mostly village scenes with huts and animals, with the sun rising at a location painted in yellow.

GALLERY: SOLAR INDIA

I am no art critic, and couldn’t actually make out anything in those drawings. But I recalled my childhood days, and compared it with Sohail’s to figure out a similar thought process in both of our generations. Neither of us have ever imagined a typical Indian village scene during or after sundown.

I come from a village named Baharpur in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and I recall we used to get up at 5a.m. and play until 4p.m. As darkness enveloped the entire village, oil lanterns were the only source of light. All major work had to be completed during the day, as there was no electricity once the sun was down.

This realization suddenly filled my heart with respect for innovators like Sun Edison – a company dedicated to the development of solar plants which provide electricity to the remote village Meerwada in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. This is such a remote village, that a trip of 20 kms (12 miles) once took four hours during the rains.