We are returning home from Mumbai in our car taking the seawoods road. This road runs parallel to the sea and all around one can see the mangroves. There is presently no rain but black clouds like bellowing smoke are gathering in the west. They look menacing. Below these clouds are white clouds full of rain.
We are cruising at high speed as the highway is always clear. Now the clouds are advancing towards us. There is no wind which is quite surprising because the rains in Mumbai are always accompanied by strong gusts of wind. The umbrella does not work and I think it is kept more of an habit and the belief that it will protect from the rain. If you are walking in rain you will become wet within no time.
Now it begins to pour. Huge drops are smashing against the earth and annihilating themselves into atoms. Fog has gathered inside the car. Wiper is making an loosing effort to wipe the glass. Just as it is getting too much, we enter into an area where not a single drop of rain has fallen. But those dark clouds have now drifted towards another corner and are hovering over the hills. They are now pouring there contents there.
We are following a road which it seems running towards the hills where those clouds are looming. Soon we find themselves in the heavy rains. It seems as if the mighty hand of the cloud with millions of fingers is hovering over us and there is no escape. It can catch you anytime it wants to. We are like a bird in a cage which can hop around inside but cannot escape. Its limits are fixed, all clasping hand of the captor is always overwhelming. We are again driving by following the indicator lights of vehicles ahead. Every now and then the tyres fall into potholes,which have become like pools, on the road and get strong jerks. This goes on till we reach home.
It continues to rain incessantly well into the night. If you in the home, you don’t have to worry what is going outside. You can enjoy good food on these occasions. But things are changing now because weather has become fickle and completely unpredictable. When it rains, it send so much water onto the earth that the earth is overwhelmed and soon submerged underwater. Sea refuses to take back this water like the earth which has lost its capacity to soak the water due to mindless building activity.
I remember many people all over India cherished the desire of visiting the Marine Drive in the rainy season. How can one forget the many scenes in the movies with lead pair running madly along the promenade. The huge waves of water come rushing with great sound and spent their fury against the boundary and spill over the top wetting the passerby. The clothes cling to the bodies revealing the contours of the bodies of the young women who have come here with their lovers and husbands to enjoy the weather. They run here and there with the women always invariably in the lead and men following. Bodies are drenched in the water. There are corncob sellers who sell the bake the corn on the coals and sell to the merrymakers. Some are not so lucky and come only to watch the others enjoying and ruing their loneliness.
But the real magic of rains is in the countryside. The rains bring prosperity to the farmers. All around, there is greenery. Paddy crop is growing coloring everywhere with green color. Brooks overflow with water. In the night, there is cacophony of frogs croaking. After a momentary silence, one of them will begin somewhere and others will follow. The cattle graze the grass and bath in the rain at the same time. Some birds which like the pests on the cattle sit on them all day probing the ears of animals with their beaks.
It is 05:30 in the morning. Only a few die hard health freaks and those to whom doctors have advised are walking on the peripheral road. Some are going clockwise and other anticlockwise. In the temple, the woman who reads like a parrot from religious book, has not come yet. In the meanwhile, till the woman gets ready for the temple, for the benefit of those who also discharge their duty of genuflecting before the God, the caretakers of the temple start the tape recorder which recites the “Gayatri Mantra“. People come and ring the bells. There are crows which sit on the roof of the temple and tamarind tree looking for the early worm.
Different people come at different times and this continues. A group of 3 people walks and talks. Talk is mostly centered around the work and about the bosses. There are dogs in the groups and sometimes they look too menacing. Besides this there are milk delivery men on cycle and scooter. Mostly the road is empty.
It is approaching seven O’clock and activity begins to hot up. Everywhere there are school children and teachers coming to KV school on buses, scooters, motorcycles, cycles, vans and on foot. It is all a melee and utter confusion. Students are running pell mell. Many are totally uninterested to come to school. The stage which was having very few actors an hour before is now bustling and overcrowded. Till 0730 when the bell rings declaring the beginning of the school, it is like that.
As soon as the school commences, again the scene changes and streets look barren except some people coming to fetch the milk from a van. You realise the the bard, that supreme author called Shakespeare, was dead right when he said that “All the world is a stage and we are all but actors”
Another scene is enacted on a mammoth scale. It is at the VT or Church Gate railway stations in the evening. There are thousands of actors taking part in a scene which lasts hardly for few minutes before the another shot is ready. Whenever a train lumbers into the station, commuters run, jostle, crush each other to board the train and occupy the sitting place. For a moment, the station platform becomes completely empty. This is only for a few moments. The fresh crop of human beings begins sprouting and within no time all the places are occupied and people seem to the crop which is rich. This process continues late in the evening. Weak willed persons can get swooned at the sight.
The earth asked for it. The trees and plants asked and pined for it. Birds and animals looked to the skies asking for the rains. All of them were parched and prayed helplessly to the God to quench their thirst, to wash them and rejuvenate. When there is summer, it is torrid hot and not a single cloud is seen in the sky. Then the clouds began to appear mostly in the morning and will move away and vanish by the time sun is high up in the skies and blazing and spewing the hot fires.
Then the rains began in the earnest. Monsoon arrived. Whole of nature on the mother earth danced and enjoyed as the rains poured over them. Rains washed them and greenery overtook the naked earth. The hills nearby began looking beautiful with lush green color vegetation, mysterious clouds always hanging and kissing the hills. There is always a sheath of mist over the scene.
Torrents of the rains come and suddenly stop and again come suddenly. Everything is soaked in the rain. The rain God’s are showering the earth with interminable water. The trees are growing and it seems that earth is extending itself to physically meet the skies and love it intimately. Sometimes, squally winds blow, the branches of the trees bend to the point of breaking. In fact, the older gnawed branches are torn off. These winds move the clouds here and there, mixing and separating the columns of clouds. Within minutes the day is as dark as the night but the clouds do not make rains. Then suddenly, you hear a rumbling and a patter of the rain falling down far away and approaching you very fast.
The stars and moon pine to look at the earth but they are helpless before the clouds which have blanketed the earth. Only occasionally, stars and moon give us their glimpse for a moment.