Culture & Society

Monsoon Metronome: The Inner Beat Of The Rain Soaked Heart

The ghost of sunlight haunts us down, and when we meet it begins a story we have been hearing for millions of year. Kushal Poddar receives the buzz and transits that here.

Monsoon metronome.

I warned my soon-to-be wife that I always curl under the weather the whole spread of monsoon, and yet because she is a rain child we tripped to the shores that July. I braced for a spell of fever, anticipated my upset stomach, foresaw binging Castle, and hot tea, drizzles of love wrinkled bedsheet. 

Indeed rain never left us alone, but my flesh adapted the same, and we did not slackened our hold on the downpour. Our footprints, although for a jiffy, evidenced long walks, and outrageous running on the sand perforated by the deluge. The ocean flipped the pages of its notes on oblivion. We read those to forget.

Have you ever swam in a blue pool during heavy rain? 

On the evening of my wife's birthday, we purchased some flowers from a sneezing florist wrapped in a transparent tarpaulin. I am allergic to pollens. We sneezed together happily. The florist of Colva was as soporific as the existence of that fishing village.

Yes, in monsoon the ghost of the sunlight haunts our flesh and more; we whirl in the hormone called melatonin, and we rush to the asylum of Somnus, the God of sleep. Our DNA runs a program of drowsiness.

Monsoon is a small town with one postman; it does not matter where you live; in monsoon, you dodder down a muddy meadow, your blue umbrella resisting little, your sense of decency weakening, and you hum a song you would never be caught crooning. 

I remember wet shirts and sarees of matinee stars. In my case the memory shapeshifts into Amitabh- Smita, Doordarshan, or Gene Kelly seen with my uncle; my wife's guilty pleasures feature Akshay- Raveena, DD Metro, or Purple Rain by Prince pouring out of a cassette I gifted along with a player. 

Memories seem to ignore the time after those, although they know all, record everything, and sing without knowing.

I know no one who died while flying a kite in monsoon. I heard about it. The lightning struck one neighbourhood boy during his soccer game. He was so near the goalposts.

My mother would not let me climb up on to our roof when it poured, and the best way to keep me anchored downstairs was serving hot khichuri, khichdi, hodgepodge, whatever you may call it. You are an Indian? You know the taste. You are not? You still know the delicacy in some other name. 

Once my half-European chum pushed a bowl of some Scotch Broth in front of me and I knew it would fill up my senses. Outside, the sky wore its funeral best. A fork of light hissed. The windows of his neighbours were tied up with nylon ropes to the grills. One local madman began to sing in Tongue. He knew God. We all know that.

Shri Ramakrishna experienced heaven and a thousand bolts when he saw a flight of white cranes against the dark clouds. 
We know that the rain stirs the clouds, ushers in the souls asleep within the seeds. 

Tea, no, chai, and onion fritters become religion when the monsoon comes to our household. My wife prevents me from elaborating Gifford, 'Weather is a ubiquitous environmental factor for humans.', or Laura Entis, 'Bad weather can trigger gloominess in the short term, which may heighten attention, and earlier research has connected low mood to better decision making.'

Do you know your monsoon mushrooms? Those shy apparitions occurring on the damp soil, wall, the bamboo ladders left forgotten somewhere? They say the orange ones are poisonous. My father even knew one of those - 'Destroying Angel'. He used to point them out, and perchance accused and defamed some innocent ones as well. I used to hear his warnings and tilt up my head in order to watch his expressions.

In my afternoon sky, some clouds mushroomed. The kite flying was not mine. It belonged to no entity. There flew another kind of kite. Indian bird, a member of the Accipitridae family like a buzzard. Its long 'peeee-uu' draws geometrical patterns on the canvas of silence observed just before the rain. In the air, some black and pale gold beetles buzz the alarm. The air is liquid. 'Was' becomes 'Is'. 'Is' is replaceable by 'Am' in a memory. All beings in the rain are rain. Here comes an airplane. Its belly almost touches my head.

Not that it showers peace always. Some monsoons flood our existence. The friend who held me steadied me once lifted me from the stool of blue one rainy season long ago would vouch for that. We stumbled out of the bar, into the busy street. The neons all flickered together. That evening my foul mood worsened after hearing the news of a flood in another province. I called my aunt who lived in the affected zone. She cried. Her next-door friend was electrocuted, and she gathered and possessed a houseful only to be dispossessed by the sky.

The other monsoons are mellow. I open my sixth grade
'Learning English'. I read  'How Beautiful is the Rain' by William Wordsworth -
'How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!'

My voice metamorphoses into that of my second language school teacher's, watery, stained, reverberating in the petrichor-filled classroom whose windows were made enormous only for the rain-watching. The drops are plopping from the leaves of the fat palm trees since the beginning of time.