A Monsoon Diary
When it rains there is indeed an erotic charge in the air. My friend Shahid Siddqi in Delhi felt it when he was a teenager. He still feels it! "In my childhood, there was a famous song called "Barsaat ki raat", that is the Night of the Monsoon, and it had a famous song -"Zindagi bhar nah bhulegi ye barsaat ki raat ek anjaan hasinba se mulaquaat ki raat." And one very specific memory: "I never forget this night of the monsoon, when I met a strange woman." When I met my wife, that is my girlfriend, and I was eighteen and she was seventeen, then we used to search in monsoon. We used to search for nooks and corners, because India is a land full of so many people everywhere (that) you can't have privacy. But when you have monsoons, these very heavy rains, you can hide behind a tree. Nobody is coming, nobody is going to disturb you. And you can have a good time and that's what gives it so much of romance. I would like to sit with her, you know, recite some poetry, have a drink or two, and ultimately make love to her."
Some of the old Sanskrit poems are just as explicit, perhaps more: "Thundercloud, I think you're very naughty! You know quite well I'm going to meet my lover. So why do you want to scare me with your thunder? And now, you're trying to caress me, to seduce me with your rain-hands!" Or this one that my colleague Radhika Sarin up in Dehra Dun loves to sing:
ri boond achanak laagi,
Sovat hooti Madan mud maati, ghun garjyo tub jaagi,
Daadur, Mor, Papayaa bole, Koyal shabd soohaagi,
Kumbhandaas Laal Girdhar son jaay mili badbhaagi
single drop of rain suddenly fell on my cheek.
I'd fallen asleep after we'd made love.
That drop, and the clouds thundering, woke me.
I want to make love - again
July 20th: I flew to Mumbai yesterday, from Lucknow. Almost the biggest mistake I ever made! Both ways we flew through the monsoon. Or rather at it. At black cliffs of cloud, high and thick as the eye could see. The 737 simply bounced off them. Then staggered. The right engine was hit by lightning. I swear I saw flames. For a few seconds. We started to plunge. I felt sad and angry I never had a chance to say Good-bye to my wife. And then - it seemed like two minutes. It probably was much less, the pilot got control again, we leveled off and suddenly we were flying in peaceful blue sky, Racing along so fast that a two hour flight reached Mumbai in just an hour and fifteen minutes.