Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Monsoon Traveller.....……(written while listening to strains of Khwabon ke Parinday/Der Lagi Lekin-Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara )

It’s that time of the year when walls, buildings, markets, people, (most) gadgets start to annoy and coalesce into a list of 100 extremely avoidable and irritating things…..

Nature’s loud, noisy signals have a Pied Piper kind of effect, luring the monsoon traveller to use any means to get away….

Paying heed, she tosses deadlines and projects over her shoulder, and strides out with just her purse, the car keys, and a CD of monsoony tunes…..

The rain and wind are executing a perfect ‘jugalbandi’, with one picking up automatically where the other drops off……

The traveler knows exactly where to go, and has no recollection whatsoever of the numerous paths she takes until she reaches it, an almost uninhabited expanse of green ….

On a sunny day, the place reveals itself as a stunning combination of mountains and sea for miles, she can barely see a few metres ahead of her

The road now has trees on either side that spread out their branches to form a tunnel over it, and resembles an artist’s palette, with pink, orange and purple flowers of the bougainvillea, gulmohar and jacaranda trees  hiding the grey tar from view…….

The sky is similarly obscured by the tree branches that are almost interlocking with the force of the wind, seeming anguished at being shorn of their colorful load…..

As she emerges out of the tree lined tunnel, she sees bits of mountains on her left that look like they're floating on clouds, while on her right is a vast expanse of emerald green paddy fields, each plant expanding its height and width to the maximum to receive heaven’s blessings....

By now, the rain drops have merged into a steady seamless and voluminous outpouring, forcing the monsoon traveler to look for a shoulder on the flower strewn road, and stop….the music from the CD player seems unnatural..she switches it off, and sits silently, absorbing the ‘ragas’ and ‘sargams’ of Nature….the wind orchestrating the movements of the pouring water with such beauty and ease....

Smooth as silk while falling gracefully in thick sheets, the water displays greater ferocity after hitting the ground, hurriedly flowing over impervious land and filling up nooks and crannies, and gushing down slopes. Its stops by at old haunts: pools, ponds and hollows, adding freshness to the older, silting lot, then races on to keep its date with the rivers and the sea in the distance...

Remaining in the car seems restricting...she gets out impatiently and starts walking away from it into the pouring rain, wanting to make as much distance from it and her, …..within minutes the rain has swallowed it, leaving her wondering if she actually rode it….

Balancing herself on the mud ridges between neat rectangles filled with ankle high paddy plants, she bends low to pluck out a rain drenched bright green, exhilarated stalk....

The coconut trees on either side of the rectangular parcels of land sway their arm-like branches in mock anger, the wind no match for their tensile trunks…..the green coconuts too look complacent, while the brown ones get ready to make the downward plunge at each gust!

As the rain turns from sheets to drops again, the monsoon traveler's eyes make out a lone mud house in the distance, with its roof of overlapping mouldy blackish green clay tiles, the continuous pattern broken by a small space on each sloping side by a sheer Perspex one to let in natural light….

Up close, the house discloses a pond on one side. The pond water accepts the falling bulbous drops unconditionally, rippling with pleasure every now and then, nudging the joyous, nodding lilies, who play co-host to the bombarding raindrops, deftly allowing them to slide off their glazed sides….

The reverie of the traveler is broken with the sudden opening of the single door of the house…a hand, belonging to the wearer of a colourful printed sari beckons her to come and sit out the rain in the spacious and clean verandah, and disappears, to emerge a few seconds later with a small steel glass with a steaming hot….

The two women sit side by side, nursing their glasses, sipping and gazing, no words exchanged, no words needed…..the rain slows down to a drizzle, but neither is in a hurry…

Suddenly, the wearer of the bright printed sari nudges the monsoon traveler and points at a now visible rain tree….two golden orioles are engaged in a perfectly executed though swift rain dance, making it almost impossible to follow them, their golden yellow standing out against the washed green of the tree…..a disgruntled roller bird sits on a nearby branch, all puffed up, not amused by the frivolity in his neighbourhood….

The monsoon traveler sits for hours, spellbound, in that verandah, long after the rain has ceased, ….her companion has left to light the cooking fire…

The sound of her own voice surprises her, as she breaks into a wordless song, a conversation between her and the elements, just like every other being around her……


  1. I LOVED writing this...:)

  2. wow!!!!!! I have to say, and i knew it that it is none other than you... :-) you know it is so easy to guess....the words, the language, the way it is articulated..all so familiar.....I could sense the combination of the intellect of an OG born blended so perfectly with the nelson's ring! having literary leanings....

    Just fantastic!

  3. Thank you Rajiv...:) I guess I do write the way I speak.....we are but a product of our 'wanderings'(or the lack of it!)

    OG & intellect?? (just kidding! actually, my loyalties switched after I crossed over to the whites!! my husband's nephews will kill me for this!)Know what you mean...most of us who have changed homes every two-three years are curious and observant, trying to take in as much of our surroundings as possible in that time

    Of late the mind has started to shove rather than push to take to pen and paper(or PC)and document the experiences...old age??....well, as for 'literally leanings', I am actually severely bent over (well past the 'leanings' phase)!!