Growing up in Calcutta, summer was almost always an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience. In addition to the heat, we had long hours of power failures and humidity that made some days simply unbearable. But we endured all these hardships patiently because we were assured of a generous monsoon season later in the year.
I have always loved the rains. I loved how it freshened up the little foliage still left in the city. I loved the scent of approaching rain clouds. I loved the gloomy and foreboding darkness that would envelop the city as clouds gathered overhead and most of all I loved watching the rain pour down on my school and college fields as classes came to a complete standstill for everyone to pause and admire the beauty of the monsoons. On the other hand, the floods during the monsoon always bothered me. They prevented me from going outdoors; it meant having to wade through murky water to run errands and in general proved to be quite a nuisance.
I never imagined that I would look forward to the monsoon season as much as I do now days. I’ve already had enough of the heat and aridity of the desert this year and I simply cannot wait to go home and experience the magic of the monsoons. I can already imagine what it will feel like to walk through the streets and alleys and have the rain wash over me. I’m already looking forward to watching the dark clouds gather overhead and hearing the roaring thunder above. The only thing I am still not fond of and therefore not looking forward to is what the streets might become for the next few months. After all in India, all sorts of things could be floating down the street,
Right now, the weather here in Dubai is simply put, diabolical. Between 11 am and about 6 pm each day, it is too hot to even consider venturing outside for any length of time. Even just standing outside the front door of my building for a few minutes renders me covered in sweat and I don’t know how I’d have survived without air-con! Outside the artificially cool confines of our modest dwellings, the air is scorchingly steamy, the earth below our feet looks and feels over-baked and for the last few days I’ve even noticed the heat from it rising up through the soles of my brand new Aldo shoes!
Every afternoon on the bus ride back home, I sit by the window and watch people go past, some in fancy luxury cars, some in tow trucks and others on foot and I can almost feel the anticipation of an entire city waiting for the heat to let up and for the much-needed Shamal winds to blow away this heavy heated air. Sadly there will be no respite from the heat for at least another three to four months but luckily for me, I’m going home and this time I’m not complaining.
I certainly hope that the rain Gods are lavish and generous this year because no matter how high the inches of the floods rise or how long I’m forced to stay indoors in my mind I am now officially monsoon ready…
Credits: The two photographs featured in this post were taken by my friend William Nag. Both pictures were taken at 6:00 P.M on the 9th of June, 2012 – minutes before Calcutta received her first rainy respite after weeks of sweltering heat. Thanks for the images Will!