9 07 2006

The much delayed monsoon finally reached the city today. Much delayed? Well not really, because this is the story of monsoon almost every year. The weather bureau predicts monsoon showers to start on time, i.e.: June 29, but it gets delayed anyway. But this year was different, thanks to the media and the powercuts.

The media, especially Aaj Tak channel predicted that according to their ‘weather model’ the monsoon was to reach Delhi as late as July 18. Honestly I don’t know what ‘weather model’ they were talking about because neither the weather bureau nor any of the foreign media including most weather websites were predicting this date. It was a report that could only spread some unnecessary fear among Delhiites.

Then there were the endless powercuts. To tell the truth, 5 hours of powercuts is a norm though it can be more. Today being a Sunday is a respite and one hopes that with the arrival of the monsoon, the powercuts will finally abate. Thankfully, the housing complex where I live has a 24 hour power back-up, so we don’t face many problems. Still, in the absence of power, we can’t watch television or turn on our PC, making it a very difficult for us to bide our time.

Having said it all, I want the monsoon to arrive in full force. I want it to rain as much as it did in Mumbai this year. I want to get drenched in the rain and wade through knee-deep waters. Never mind the powercuts, as long as we get rains everything will be fine. The cool moist breeze, the soft drops of rain on my glasses, the bhutta, freshly made from the roadside vendors, the pakodas that mom makes for breakfast, it all adds to the charm of the weather. Sadly the last few years haven’t been so great especially when it comes to enjoying the habits of each season.

Monsoon brings with it a sense of nostalgia too. I remember some years back, I had to cancel going to the college one day as most buses were being diverted due to waterlogged streets. Some years before that my bicycle was stolen just hours after I returned from school completely drenched in the showers. Those kiddish pranks that we loved playing on each other, making boats and airplanes from papers torn out of our school notebooks. And it also reminds me of an incident of many years back.

I think it was the summer vacation of 1991 or 1992, I was alone at home. As a pre-teen, I really had nothing on my mind and was enjoying the weather. As I was doing my homework (!), I heard some thundershowers. Then out of nowhere I heard this deafening thunder that started from west and went right above my home and ended somewhere in the east. I was terrified. I froze in my position. I sat absolutely still for a moment and then I clasped my ears with both my hands. I closed my ears with such force that absolutely no noise could enter them. I sat in that position for about half hour or so before I made any attempts to move.

Sweating profusely, I realised that it is gone. The rains had eased by then and I finally had the courage to move. I opened the front door and saw that the sky had cleared and the ground in front of my home was waterlogged. Though I was scared I put up a brave face when mom and dad returned home in the evening. Since then I have never had any fear of thunder and lightning.

I sometimes wonder if anything like that would happen again. I would love to relive those moments again, just to see how I will react now that I am grown up.


Me in Alwar and Rains!

10 03 2006

What is it about Alwar that brings rains whenever I go there? I can’t really understand and perhaps the only plausible explanation for it is that it is just a pure and simple coincidence. Or maybe it is god’s way of making the visit even more memorable for me.

First things first, let me tell you more about Alwar. Situated halfway between Delhi and Jaipur, Alwar is the first major town when you enter Rajasthan. It is about 150kms south-west of Delhi and is about 3 hrs drive or 2 and half hrs worth of train journey from Delhi. From a tourist point of view, there is nothing much to see in Alwar except the Sariska Wild Life Sanctuary and the Sili Serh Lake resort. The town itself is in a dilapidated condition with some good residential colonies at its outskirts. The place is ideal for a weekend getaway.

Everytime I have been to Alwar alone, it has rained there. I remember that when I went there in 1996 alone for the first time, rains came pouring down for 2 consecutive days and I had to extend my program by 2 more days before I could return home to Delhi. Then in 2002, in the searing heat of June came a slight downpour which cooled down the temperatures from near 50 degrees to a very managable under 40 degrees.

Now earlier this week, I went to Alwar on a 3 day trip and again like previous times it started raining there within an hour of my reaching there. The rains did not last long alright but I heard that it rained heavily in and around Delhi that night. Interestingly, it rained first in Alwar and then in Delhi. Now that I am back in Delhi, rains do not seem to be in any mood of going away.

Is it all a coincidence? It has to be, because there is no other explanation for the rains coming at the time of my visit to Alwar. Rains kept us indoors and the weather changed overnight from an unusually oppresive heat of the month of March to a rather cool spring season. Back home in Delhi now even as I write this blog, it is raining and I can hear thunder in the background.

Lets hope the weather stays like this for a while because pretty soon we will be getting ready to welcome summers with both hands stretched wide. Till then… just chill and enjoy till it lasts.