Monday, June 15, 2009

Tasting the Smell

The parched Earth receives an honoured guest,
An exacting summer has been finally laid to rest.

We got the first shower of the season here last night. It was, due to lack of better words, an amazing feeling. I felt the happiest in ages. Like the rain had somehow washed away through several layers of grumpy moods and sullen nights. Like it did not matter whether you had a reason to smile or not. Like it was customary to feel upbeat. No matter how many times you have experienced them, the Monsoons never fail to make your life exciting with the umpteen tantrums that are such an essential part of their story. You always look up at them just like the kid who collects pebbles on the seashore. You plead, cajole, beg, and when you have finally given up on them in a fit of anger, they make their appearance, just like that moody lover you can neither live with, nor stay without.

The strong winds just before the showers had already suggested that the much awaited rains would finally grace Gujarat with their presence. It was an arrival much delayed and overly debated. The sun was beating its hammer on the anvil with a hitherto unknown fury. Months of tormenting heat had by now parched the leaves. The grass had shriveled up and turned yellow. Even the squirrels had taken refuge somewhere. The usually chirpy and upbeat Ashok Bhai at The Galla had said today in desperation, “Bahut time ho gaya hai. Ab to barsaat ho jaani chahiye”. I had merely nodded my head in a sagely fashion, looked up at the barren skies, and meekly agreed with the prevailing opinion. Having made my ignorance on the subject public, I had quietly exited the scene. But as they say, all’s well that ends well. The Guest of Honour almost always makes an appearance in style.

I had rushed out, quite unlike me, to witness it first hand. Just about when the winds had gotten tired of the baggage they had been towing from the Indian Ocean. “To hell with protocol”, they finally muttered under their breath and let go of it. The raindrops fell. They were a bit shy at first and treaded the ground with much apprehension. The dried mud was stripped of its cover. Bit by bit. Soon enough, however, both the friends had made their acquaintance and the raindrops gleefully bathed the earth in their freshness. The smell of wet earth proved to be a great mood-lifter. In the strictest sense of the term. It was a physical entity then. You could taste it in your mouth and feel it on your fingertips if you cared to reach out for it. I breathed in lungfuls with the hope of saving some of it for a rainy day (no pun intended here).

There were happy puddles everywhere. The raindrops carefully trying to trace out abstract patterns in them. While the strong breeze doing its best in order to deter them from doing so. Both of them constructively engaged in game of search and destroy. The leaves gleaned and shone with pride in their new rich covers while the drainage pipes groaned under the weight of the sudden onslaught. The distant skies were coloured red for some unknown reason. The hostel corridors were soon abuzz with activity. People running helter skelter. Some running to grab the clothes hanging on the lines, while some peeping out of their pigeonholes to get a low down on the natural spectacle. Some of us were wise enough to rush to the terraces, topless and screaming. While the most inane of our variety hung around near the balconies, trying to wring a poem out of the entire melodrama.

It ended almost as soon as it began. But the few minutes it lasted, it seemed as if the world was at its peace with itself. The feeling was contagious and it caught on to me. Hung on to me like a stubborn child. I smiled and stood in the balcony for a few minutes, still trying to save some vestiges of that saundhi mitti in my nicotine marred lungs. When I finally reached the conclusion that it was not physically feasible, I returned to the confines of my mustard walls. But the Monsoons had one final surprise waiting for me. For they had decided to paint my room in a rich hue which was just the same as the one I had been trying so hard to save in my lungs. I thanked someone inwardly and set out to tell you about it.

PS - The title owes its existence to Miss Lyme. Khush?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Pigs on The Wing

If you didn't care what happened to me,
And I didn't care for you,
We would zig zag our way through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain.
Wondering which of the buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing.