The monsoon to me is somewhat like the bad boy of romance novels. You dread his arrival with all the classic symptoms, palpitations, sweats, churning stomach and even accelerated heartbeat, but once he’s around, you just get swept completely off your feet, and enjoy the ride.
The build up to the monsoon this year was rather non dramatic. After the incredibly cruel summer had roasted us all to a crisp, the last few days saw random indeterminate clouds gathering on the horizon and drizzling a bit occasionally, and I kept fleeing into the rooms and shutting the huge french windows petrified of getting any random drop of water finding its way into my newly Lasiked eyes. Last evening we pulled our cane chiks down from the balconies, shifted the huge comfuy sofas in and moved the balcony furnitue to safer spots, and arranged the plants in the perimeter of said balconies to prevent them from toppling over and falling with the gale force winds that blast through the floors we are at. We dug out our umbrellas and raincoats and windcheaters and kept safety kits in both the cars. We also in our hearts prayed that we wouldnt be stuck in a 26/7 situation ever again. Once is enough for me, thank you very much. This year we are also out of the old residence which inevitably had the walls leaking puddles on our floors, creepy things crawling up our drainpipes and the exiting the ground floor requiring a swim with underwater snorkelling equipment to reach the first floor landing.
Monsoons were always a riot. My lenses perpetually fell off, fogged over or worse, managed to dislodge themselves in heavy showers and travel to distant corners of the eye leaving me hapless and hunting for the nearest open eye doctor who could then coerce the damn thing back to where the Good Lord intended it to be. Yup, it was not always possible to be soigne and such like in the monsoons. Not with rain getting into your ears and such like.
I am currently wearing sunglasses thanks to the surgery. The sunglasses I have been hiding behind are so double wrapped around the eyes that even a mote of dust would be hardpressed to find their way into an opening and land into the eyes. Yes, you guessed right. These are pair of sunglasses bought back in the times when Iwould rather wear bikers helmets for protection from said dust motes whizzing into them lenses and making me do the wriggle shake blink tear dance and hunt for safe non windy place to remove said lenses, rinse and redeposit in the eye or give up all efforts to be sauve and nonbespectacled and shove on them glasses and be at peace. And of course, the monsoons had another issue. That of contact lenses getting fogged up and blurry. You see, I am from the age of the dinosaurs, and started out wearing semi soft contact lenses and despite the best efforts of doctors and eye stores to convince me to switch to soft lenses, never quite managed to overcome the squeamishness in pit of stomach whenever said lens was to be plucked off the eyeball and sconsequently stuck to the tried and tested semi soft version.
This year, hopefully, life will be good. Hopefully, I will sail through the monsoon without any flood rescue boats being pressed into service. Seriously though, I see the thick black clouds rolling up at top speed over the creek our building looks out on, and then come wham into our balconies, making us feel like we’ve migrated to a hillstation of sorts. The wind howls through little slivers of space between window frame joints, making us leap in fright at sudden unimaginably terrifying sounds like random footsteps coming from the floor above. A bedraggled raven sitting on the balcony in search of temporary shelter from the rain, cawing his lungs out for no other reason but to irritate me, gets swotted away. Chai gets made by the tumbler full, and gulped down with parathas and pakoras and all such things that go straight to the hips and settle comfortably there, nudging and poking existing cellulite and pushing at the skin to make new space. Bhuttas are cooked on open charcoal sigris and smeared with lime, salt and chilli powder and eaten at pavement stops on grey windy days. Groundnuts are brought home and washed (double washed mind you, to get all the dirt off), boiled with salt and then happily occupy much of a chilly wet evening, when going out is not an option and shelling boiled groundnuts and popping them into your mouth is the next best thing to heaven on earth.
I am also a die hard romantic. Come the rains and I half imagine myself to be sweet sixteen again and need to have a walk under single umbrella with love of my life to relive days of youth gone by. Of course, tis a different situation now with one of those beach umbrellas being required to accommodate both of us without us getting any water on ourselves. And secondly, I have officially forgotten the art of walking down pavements and such like in rainy weather without managing to sprain an ankle or topple over and impact the concrete by causing cracks in the road surface.
I hope to get a few hours of peace, to be able to put on Naina Devi’s thumris, sit in my balcony with a sappy Mills and Boon, gorge on chai pakoras and think back to a time in my life when the monsoon was romantic and fun and full of all the corny cliches that Bollywood is made off, save the dancing around trees in the rain bit. But give me an old log cabin in the mountains and a storm and George Clooney anyday. Sigh. Let me get to that balcony. Tis the best I will get.