I sit on the rocking chair on the balcony. It’s raining – yay!. The Chennai monsoon has arrived. I have the morning newspaper on my knee and a cup of hot filter coffee within reach. Life is good. Couldn’t be better.
The Monsoon rains were always special for us. As kids, we would get into the habit of watching the news every evening, come Monsoon. The Government in all its benevolence would sometimes declare holidays in anticipation of severe rains, and we wanted to be the first to hear this sacred news. But once a holiday was announced, the rain gods mostly decided it wasn’t fun to make an appearance with no kids around to splash in the puddles – and backed out. It was too late for the Government to reverse its direction. I suspect the headmasters and teachers wouldn’t have heard of it anyway – they needed a day of peace and quiet too! And we ended up having a holiday and no rains – in effect we got ourselves an additional play day.
Monsoon brings a perceivable freshness. It clears the grime of our very long summers, and the rains are accompanied by a cool breeze. The rains nourish the earth and bring forth harvests. It’s an all-round poetic experience – and one tends to get hungry in the face of such beauty. So on the long evenings, you curl up with a book or a favourite TV show, a cup of masala tea and munch on deep-fried goodness (Bhaji/Pakodas/Bondas – delicious stuff with different shapes, sizes and fillings). As I said, life is always good during Monsoon. You only have to let the Diet Guru’s know they are not welcome on this day!
The naysayers point to the long traffic jams the rains inevitably bring. The traffic is super slow, I agree – but I do like the drives during Monsoon. People’s innate humanness comes to the fore. You’ll see folks helping each other out, pulling stuck vehicles out – often ending all of this with some laugher and a cup of hot tea at a road-side stall.
Of course, with the Corona epidemic, it may be a little different. I am optimistic that the cheer Monsoon brings along with the now-standard etiquette of Masks and social distancing will help turn the tide on the pandemic. No one can resist or win over the magical Monsoon – not even Corona!
We sometimes have cyclones visiting with powerful winds and massive downpours. These are destructive. I recall vividly how my office plaster caved in leaving the room unusable for days. When nature comes unrestrained, it can be terrifying. But, we’ll leave those for now -and savour the bright side of the season! I’ll leave you with a passage from Douglas Adams to laugh over. Thor (the God of Rain among other things) has just unleashed his fury and a fellow traveller Kate is very cross. Enjoy their confrontation and don’t forget your cup of tea!
“Did you…are you…” Kate quivered with incoherent rage, “are you responsible…for all this?” She turned and swept an angry hand around the street to indicate the nightmare she had just traversed.
“It is important that you know who I am.”
“Oh yeah?” said Kate. “Well let’s get the name down right now so I can take it straight to the police and get you done for breach of something wilful or other. Intimidation. Interfering with –”
“I am Thor. I am the God of Thunder. The God of Rain. The God of the High Towering Clouds. The God of Lightning. The God of the Flowing Currents. The God of the Particles. The God of the Shaping and the Binding Forces. The God of the Wind. The God of the Growing Crops. The God of the Hammer Mjollnir.” “Are you?” simmered Kate. “Well, I’ve no doubt that if you’d picked a slack moment to mention all that, I might have taken an interest, but right now it just makes me very angry. Turn the damn lights on!”
“I am –”
“I said turn the lights on!”
With something of a sheepish glow, the streetlights all came back on, and the windows of the houses all quietly illuminated themselves once more. The lamp above Kate popped again almost immediately. She shot him a warning look.
“It was an old light, and infirm,” he said.
Adams, Douglas. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently Series) (pp. 176-177). Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition.