When you’ve lived enough years in a coastal town in Western India, the coming of the monsoon becomes the coming of a system refresh. Life:redux, if you will.
Every year, bang on cue, give or take a few days, the rains come at us. Dark clouds brimming with relief. Showers like the life-giving quick-fix. And every year, in anticipation, we go through the same cycle of emotions.
When you’ve lived enough years in a coastal town, the monsoon becomes a marker. Of another revolution around the sun. Of remembering to revisit what hope feels like. Of wondering about the balance of yin and yang. Of appreciating the soothing wetness that soon turns to a thick mugginess, because it is always better than the blistering heat you’ve just overcome.
The monsoon becomes a marker, to go through the same cycle of emotions. Just like we did last year. Here’s some of the typical things that happen:
For days in the run-up to the rains, all the discussions ever had with anybody at all, must include an empathic mention of the frustration with the weather. This has been the worst summer yet, we’ll say. Cannot wait for the rain, we’ll say.
Come mid-May, there’s the customary sprinkling of pre-monsoon showers that send us into raptures, but we hold ourselves back, contain the excitement because it is not the monsoon. Yet.
Closer to the end of June, the sun beaming with all force begins to get shadowed by a dark covering. A heavy blanket of clouds appears every now and then, flying by fast. Tantalisingly close, we know.
Eventually, when the moment is ripe, they let loose. All it takes is a couple of hours of strong, noisy rain to beat down on a tired, dusty land – and weeks of drudgery are washed away just like that.
A brief, but raging storm is the instant cure that makes us forget completely the prolonged, slow way in which summer has sheared my patience thin.
Two days of rain is all it takes to go from never stepping out to look into the garden, to looking over admiringly at how clean and glossy green everything looks.
When you have a solid monsoon that consumes a quarter of the year, you begin to count the years seasonally. This is my 7th monsoon, I caught myself telling someone the other day.
When you’ve lived enough years in a coastal town in Western India, the coming of the monsoon makes your memory short.
Over the two hundred and fifty odd days that pass between one monsoon and the next, we manage to forget everything we felt when the rains hit us.
The relief. The shock. The soothing comfort. The rejuvenating redux. The wonder. The pride. It washes away over the course of the monsoon of the year, leading us back into the long-drawn rigour of the hot months that lie in waiting. Only to build and peak, taking our anticipation to searing levels, brimming over until the first showers rain down on us. All so we can remember once again just what a godsend the monsoon is. Once again, just like we did last year.
When you’ve lived enough years in a coastal town in Western India, the coming of the monsoon are a reminder of how short our memories can be. How tenuous and unforgiving our expectations of nature are. How impatient and restless we are, quick to forget that the agony of summer is but a precursor to the ecstasy that only the rain can bring.
The monsoons are a refresher. Of seasons, of life and most of all an entire set of memories that we live through, again and again. year after year.
It’s already my 7th, and in all likelihood it will wipe away my memories of how punishing the heat can be. Forgetting is easy. And yet, it’s likely that this 7th monsoon will be the one I will finally remember.