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The Advent of the Monsoons
Year: Late 1998
Somewhere between the end of the month of August and the beginning of sweet September pre-monsoon showers were gathering up a storm all over the western skies of the city.
Walking up to the framework of tinted windowpanes that straight-lined the nether side of the big hall, Arinvan saw the skies belly-ache with rain. It was such a joy for him to see the bleak sky rumbling with the potential possibility of pouring rain. White cottony clouds turned threateningly dark and heavenly sparks flew all over. The entire expanse of the beautiful Hussain Sagar Lake was shrouded in cool mist. Tesser Towers looked several shades darker due to the complete absence of sunlight from the skies. It began to drizzle at first and in the next instant the rain clouds got angry, very angry, and tore down their heavenly contents all over the desperate land like a big typhoon. The inky dark Lake was no longer there; a swirling mass of white mist have taken over its place now and how. And before you know it, the skies again sent down sheets of rain hammering fast and furious onto the windowpanes just short of cracking them. It poured and poured for an hour long and then some more.
Arinvan tried hard to locate the monolithic Buddha statue straight-postured in the middle of the deep-gray bestial waters of the Lake from the place where he stood on the 5th floor’s East Flank hall of his office building. It was invisible. From where he stood it afforded a panoramic view to the whole D-shaped Lake, the Necklace Road in the foreground and the Tank Bund road stretched somewhere far away in the deepening haze of the dark and ominous Monsoons.
Soon it will be a deluge everywhere. Rain gods were not done yet. They wanted to pour more. But for Arinvan it was a welcome change; never mind facing a little hardship out in the streets – riding through the water-logged roads and all. The promise of rain and cold breezy winds far outweighs any hardship that almost always comes with it. So welcome home, dear rain. Please don’t go away anytime soon!
I slid the slatted window back into its ledge. Spattering rain and howling winds wetted a good part of my shirt and upper part of my trousers. Realizing my mistake of opening the window to look outside, I hurried to the restroom to use the hot-air hand-blower to dry my wet shirt first. Then walking back to my cabin, I waited for my colleague Manpreet Singh to arrive. I started to become a little apprehensive about how I am going to drive (my red Honda) home when my schedule ended at 3pm. I was already starving; lunch was high up on my agenda. I was so looking forward to it. Today, I had come in early at 7am and by 3pm I hoped Manpreet will fly open the glass door of the hall and galumph in and begin his graveyard stretch till 11pm as per our scheduled timetable.
Think of him and he is right there – dripping with rainwater, wet to the skin and bone – his heavy-set boots slop-slopping a bit; his shoes appeared unusually jet-black that day probably due to rain and even shining like stainless steel. He trod heavily towards our much-loved promenade: our watering hole. His firmly-knit maroon Pagdi wrapped around his head that gave him a look of an unsung conqueror also got damped in Monsoon rain.
“Ek mint… main abhi ayaa (I’ll be in a moment),” announced Manpreet suddenly and slop-slopped away from our shared cubicle.
“Thik hai… ,” I said and instantly craned my head to see him rush into the men’s room!
Maybe he felt like making use of the hot air blow-dryer to dry his shirt and pants. One can do exactly that by placing oneself at an embarrassing angle directly beneath the dryer with your waist hoisted up to an inch long rectangular mouth of the hot air dryer. Beware! The hot air blow-dryer is a felt-feel apparatus. You need to keep your wait hoisted up, keep it steady, without moving much so that the damn thing keeps blowing hot air onto your clothes. The thing when done patiently can be quite useful for you if your pants are wet and you want them to blow-dry (whatever that means!), besides of course it can be pursued whenever you want to blow-dry your wet hands. Caution: Do the thing carefully when no one’s there in the washroom, for you might get someone startled with your act!
Jaadu Hai Tera Hi Jaadu
It kept raining for a little over an hour. Another hour of rain and the city roads will disappear! In fact, they already might have! Great! How nice! Instead of roads we will have elongated serpentine swimming pools everywhere. How thoughtful!
Driving through the city becomes a bit of adventure in itself when it comes to wading through the knee-high grimy rainwater and your wheels ludicrously bumping on the concealed puddles. Though the traffic was sparse that day in September ’98, one doesn’t really have the benefit of not getting mud-spattered during Monsoons, does one? Well, even that is welcome! Anything for the Monsoons.
The Monsoon Season is one of the most-awaited seasonal changes of the year. Everybody welcomes it with resigned happiness and awe. One gets to experience a special kind of affinity towards its brilliant fury: one of Mother Nature’s own, his bountiful grace. Monsoon rains make a whole lot of difference to the lives of every living being in this part of the world. It’s a time of plenty: not only of bountiful water, but also expectations of life-sustaining good times to come with water in constant supply.
Somehow the sweet smell of the rain seeped through the open windows somebody opened at the end of the big hall a few feet away from where we were seated. Revanthi Rakani was humming the newly released song from the Hindi movie Ghulam: “Jaadu hai tera hi jaadu, jo mere dil pe chaahne lagaa” and working at her computer. Working with Revanthi and Raufia Begum before they eventually shifted to Satyam Technology Center at Badaourpaly was one of the best experiences of our lives.
That day I went home soaking wet with Monsoon showers all over me, even my black wallet in my hip pocket was sopping wet and the notes inside got pulped. Sometimes, thanks to Monsoon rains, I like everything wet; in fact, I don’t mind it at all! I rode home all wet. I loved it.
I love rain, I do.
write by Anatole