This is a nostalgic retelling of my monsoon story which appeared last year. The rain, last night has stung me so deeply that I cannot help recall the old song and infuse it with fresh impressions. Read. Get wet in the rain.
There must be a certain fun to burst upon the unexpected.
Who knows it better than the monsoons!
They always pick a dull night, nondescript, to explode over my house, markets and dreams. To sting me into a jittery wakefulness and then to laugh madly at my bewilderment. All I hear is a slab of ocean rumbling down from the skies.
Do you remember a world which was long tired with the heat? Have you forgotten the days your head steamed inside a helmet? Rivulets of sweat trickling down your forehead, tiny dust storms rising and dying on the street, the power cuts? Well, nothing lingers now. Just the cold wind, incessant, unrelenting, biting through this deep brown woolen blanket I wrap myself tightly with in this pitch darkness. For one minute the rain rages outside my bedroom-window like a wild lion straining at its leash, for the next it sulks and retreats to its dark cage with a soft whine. Only to come back again as lion.
See, what games the night rain plays, I try hard to stifle a smile in the dark.
There could be winds that stand outside on ceremony waiting to be invited but the monsoon storm begins blasting the very moulds of such customs into smithereens. He tears into houses in the dead quiet of the night, without asking, without ever letting his eyes lock with ours. All you hear is an unending clap of windows, calendars thrashing about and aluminium vessels crashing down on the kitchen floor.
I love him for the way he ransacks my life, upsets my train of dreams, blows my schedules away, and scatters my sense of being into one hundred thousand places and moments. I was the stacked coins in the centre of a carrom board, composed outside and impatient inside. You must see how the first strike has propelled me into all four corners.
I go Everywhere , at once . With a single night rain .
Bastard monsoon! He storms into my home with the tang of distant places hung to it in patches and tatters and like a hungry beast searches out every corner of my rooms with his cold breath. He wouldn’t leave until he sees the last relics of summer disappear and the whole house convulses in excitement.
Outside, on the front yard the tulsi has gone mad.
See, she is so intoxicated that she can hardly breathe in this rain, but whenever the storm gives her a respite she doesn’t fail to spring back her head to steal a naughty glance at me. Just to see if I am watching her bathe.
In the muffled light from a street lamp I see the mango tree opposite my house quiver. The cold rain could be searching out her deepest pore now. The green garland wound around her warty branches grows succulent, shivers, clings closer to the bark for a little more warmth. And they shudder together in the embrace.
I must warn you dear, with this coyness and play, you will burst into jasmine flowers tomorrow.
For this rain won’t let go, it cannot rain itself empty. And you’ll soon hear love, which you thought had long dried up, trickles in, drop by drop, and sloshes about in your soul once again. Take my word. Not flu, not cold, but love is the most mischievous epidemic you must fight against this season.
Every time you hear somebody opening his windows in cold monsoon nights, realize this: They open them to their past, to rekindle old fires and warm themselves by their heat.
When it rains, I am sad for you who have gone far away from our land, living abroad, running your fingers softly over the pictures of monsoon posted here or in facebook. How can pictures bring rain and get your fingers wet! You miss a lot, I know. You miss the rage of these rains, miss their slants against the sodium vapour lamps in the street, miss the once-dark roads in the city ricocheting off the orange light, wet and slippery.
The rain-streaked windowscreens, the verve of wipers going frantically, the sudden pulling down of shutters… Don’t you want to travel somewhere in a KSRTC bus this night when the rain keeps drumming on the metal roof above?
My eyes are heavy with sleep and monsoon. It is time to fold myself now under the blankets, embracing that cocoon of sheets (inside from where my wife emerges every morning, her fresh wings fluttering), and lie with open eyes, listening to the rain belting out his numbers in different platitudes, sometimes gruff, sometimes flutey, until he finds a sweet spot and drones on from there. I’ll hardly know when I melt into this music and drift off from the bed.
In that slumber perhaps I might remember a monsoon rain coming. A rain from my childhood.
It’s coming, somebody screams. I sprint back home from the playground without looking back, chased by a hungry wall of water.
But sometimes, I remember in my dream, that I’d waited without running away just to see hazy sheets of rains on distant fields thrashing about like rogue animals. I saw them rolling, clombing, tripping, gliding, flouncing, hobbling, traipsing, strutting, plodding, waddling, skulking…suddenly pirouetting on their feet as they caught sight of me, stared for a while, and then scuttled towards me breaking leashes and gathering more sheets of rain on the way….
With hands spread away I wait for him to come, to drench me, to seep deep into me, to grab hold my soul as if it is a kaleidoscope, and give it one shake and a twist to change the whole vistas inside.
Here I go into water. Tell them I went with the monsoon. With the night rain.