Jun 2, 2013

Sun, Sun, Sun, Barsaat ki Dhun...

The year was…! To be truthful, there was nothing much special to differentiate the year. It could have been any of the years of 70s. The month was of June - the early days of June. This train was chugging along, with a growing up boy sitting in the 3rd class hot and humid compartment, peeping out of the window at the world going by the tracks - a ritual he had got habituated to. The summer vacations would take him to the towns in Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh, to his grandparents & to be a part of a horde of cousins. Away from the school, those were the few weeks every year which he looked forward to. Returning home now with the heavy heart, missing his time with cousins, he was dreading the opening days of his school.

As the train sped along, the changing landscape outside improved his mood. The fields were greener with well-filled water bodies. The horizon was getting darker, despite it being early part of the day, the air was cooler and wet, pleasing petrichor whiffs arising out of raindrops falling on dry earth refreshing his soul. Excitedly he called out – Maa, Baarish ho rahi hai....Bambai aa gaya!!!


That child was me, and the rains were what made Bombay special for me. This was much before Bombay became Mumbai, and of course, much before I got acquainted with Gibran & his Song of Rain, else I would have recited:

I emerge from the heart of the sea
Soar with the breeze. When I see a field in
Need, I descend and embrace the flowers and
The trees in a million little ways.
I touch gently at the windows with my
Soft fingers, and my announcement is a
Welcome song. All can hear, but only
The sensitive can understand.

Rain Forest

Rain was a savior for me because, during the vacation in Northern India, enjoying those juicy & delicious summer fruits, devouring the spicy & sinful chaats and desserts, being outplayed in every sport by those taller & better built cousins, for me, a child living in that filmy city Mumbai, there was very little I could boast of about the city. Except, Mumbai’s local trains, the film stars (I see Amitabh outside his Bungalow everyday – was one of oft-repeated boasts) and the rains. We get rains first, for longer period & more than what you can even dream of – was one of the constant refrain.  

Joy of monsoon

I was in love with the season of monsoon – getting unexpected holidays due to water-logging that rain would bring, wading through the water, sometimes knee-deep, enjoying those barbequed Corn cobs & the pakodas, trying to catch the crabs & tadpoles, playing gully cricket with rubber balls on the wet pacy tarred roads hoping to be ready to face the pacers of Australia & West Indies someday, were just a few of the indulgences. If these sounded like a typical urban monsoon life, reaching out to the nature was not too far:  getting drenched under the seasonal waterfalls at Powai & Vihar Lake & trekking through the green lungs of Mumbai –Aarey Colony & Sanjay Gandhi National park, were the perennial favourites.

Freshly Showered

 In love I am still with the season of clouds and look forward to its onset, using any opportunity to get drenched in the rain though not as persistent as Alexander Frater who chased the Monsoon from the southernmost tip of India till Cherrapunzi.

However, my travels over last few years have made me realize that starting from the southern end of Gujarat to Kerala, there exists a landscape, though increasingly dotted with concrete jungle, that is beautiful always, and becoming more so when it rains. Proverbially, over here, normally it does not rain, rather it pours, creating a magic that is difficult to be contained in words though I will give it a shot (albeit in next post on this blog) - and hope that like a parched earth looking towards the cloudless sky, awaiting the rain, you will be indulgent enough to look forward to my travelogue through the western ghats.

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