Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here comes the Sun

One of my cousins has been posted to the UK for the last year and a half. When we met recently we got talking about the weather. He talks about dark London winters when the sun rises late and sets early. And summers when the sun is shining brightly at 9 in the evening!




I recollect Federer and Nadal's epic Wimbledon final (was it in 2008?) that went past 8 PM or something and it was still bright! I once sailed with my husband (he is a sailor) in 2006. I joined him at the port of Antifer on the east coast of France. This was in the month of December. It was 4 degrees in the sun at noon the day I landed! When I woke up the next morning at around 7:00... it was still dark. I could hear the wind whining trying to get in through the glass panes. The streets lights were on and the cars sped on the street below with their wipers working furiously. For some time I was totally disoriented. It was like being back in India at 7:00 o clock in the evening with the commuters rushing to get home. In the two days that I stayed there, I wasn't a happy person and it wasn't just loneliness. I have been alone before and many times since, but it was always sunny... We take the sun for granted, don't we? And it isn't the cold part of the winter there that bothers you. You can sit in heated rooms but what do you do about the darkness? Its such a wonderful sight to wake up and see the whole of nature basking in sunlight! All the artificial light we have invented cannot match the beauty of natural light.
As an architect, lighting is an important element of our designs.


The source of light that has a color rendition closest to natural light is the incandescent light or the common GL bulbs that T.Edison invented. Color rendition pertains to the appearance of color under a light. For instance, GL light is yellowish and warm (as is natural light) while Fluorescent Lighting (FL) is bluish and cooler. (And that's exactly why FL in garment shops always causes the blouse pieces to mismatch with the sarees which we discover when we come out in day light!) Halogen lamps have a comparable rendition but they are much more expensive and have shorter life not to mention the huge power consumption. These days in an effort to reduce our electric bills and our carbon footprint, one of the first causalities has been the electric bulb which was replaced by the FL, and the CFL (compact fluorescent lamps (12-16 watts only!) The latest trend is the use of LED lights (light emitting diodes). Suddenly we are talking about a power consumption of 1 watt and 3 watts! But all this comes at the expense of color rendition. White light tends to alter the color properties of objects. These days FL, CFL and now LEDS are available and preferred in warm colors. But LED gives a more focused light rather than a spreading light. Its good for highlighting but not the best option for general lighting. The other day I happened to use a bathroom which was lit using an incandescent lamp. Very environmentally unfriendly, I know. But my heart leapt like Wordsworth's did when he saw a 'host of golden daffodils'!And I said to myself,"dear good old bulb... Miss you."

Is it any wonder that the British lads, The Beatles, wrote this song?!

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
It's all right

photo credits:
London WInter - magazine.macs-salon.co.uk
Incandescent Bulb - businesspundit.com

6 comments:

Balachandran V said...

That was a unique, realistic tribute to Mr.Sun! :)

kaalpanique said...

:) now why is the sun a male? :P

Balachandran V said...

because moon is a female!

kaalpanique said...

and why is the moon a woman? we,ve been conditioned to think like that! :D

anilkurup said...

You seem to be a multifaceted architect.
You lauded the ambience in an incandescent lighted surround, and at the same time you sang for the bright light of the sun. A bit of liking for the both.So a late winter day and a bright sunny summer day are both in their own way wonder and beautiful, Arent they?
The incandescent light perhaps resembles the moon light, and the moon light for its sublime and petite nature has been equated with women. ( wonder in the era of woman lib the soft nature can be attributed).Wonder if we will see beauty in a poem that equates the bright and hot sun light to women.

kaalpanique said...

reminds me of this song.. tujhe sooraj mein kehta hun.. magar usme bhi aag hai.. tujhe mein chaand keheta hun.. magar usme bhee daag hai! each poet to his interpretations!
nothing beats natural light... incandescent light tops the artificial light list! just that its getting obsolete!