I miss the monsoon. Not the rains, but the season itself, when dry, hot weather is replaced by hints of the first monsoon rains. When the sky is filled with black clouds and everyone is eagerly awaiting the first showers.
Here in Bangalore, the seasons seem all mixed up. When I arrived here in March, it was supposed to be summer; it was supposed to be hot. But it was raining. And having just come from Pune where it was very hot, I kind of felt relieved. Whenever I called Pune to talk to friends, all they ever complained of was the heat and how eagerly they were waiting for the rains. A few days back I called mom and she said she did not pick up immediately as she could not hear the phone because it was raining very heavily. The first monsoon rains had arrived.
I looked out of the window and said to myself, ‘Yeah, it has been raining here since 2 days’. Actually no, it has been raining in Bangalore since I got here and before that. It doesn’t feel like monsoon. It feels like just another day.
I miss the excitement, the rush, when you feel the first drops of rain. I miss the anticipation that comes with seeing the first black clouds crowd the horizon.
When we were kids we used to run outside our apartments, on the road, and jump and squeal with other children, just jumping up and down and enjoying the first rains.
All this and more came rushing to me as I read Alexander Frater’s Chasing the Monsoon.
I was a little apprehensive to read it because I have never read a travelogue before. But this is much more than just travel. It is also a part memoir. He is so good with words, he can actually paint a picture before your eyes.
In the book, he follows the monsoon from Trivandrum (the southernmost point in India, well almost) up to the north. I knew monsoon is important to India, important to agriculture and all, but this book gives you a different perspective altogether. He describes people, places affected by monsoon or the delay of it, the wait, the agony of it’s late arrival. We just crib because it’s incredibly hot and the rains will lessen the temperature. But for many people in India, it is much more than that. It is livelihood. I am sure I’ll never feel the same about this season again. Read it if you have never experienced the monsoon before or you want to see it in a different light altogether.
P.S. Thank You Hemanshu for introducing me to the book. I am looking forward to reading ‘Tales from the Torrid Zone’ by him. Let me know if you have already read it.