A Monsoon Diary
around 9. Lovely blue Spring sky, fair-weather clouds racing across from left
to right. And the air is fresh and cool. This afternoon a lovely little Spring
shower. No more than fifteen minutes. But all the kids, and quite a few grownups,
are outside and getting soaked. Boys and girls throw mud pies and splash each
other. Everyone is having fun. Even the grownups! One woman tells me that
in the 1930s she did exactly the same thing: "I can remember I and my
sisters used to just rush out when the rains broke. We used to love to get
soaked. And our parents actually encouraged us. They said that rains were
good for children's health, especially the first rains."
Radhika Bushan - a singer of ghazals positively radiating joy. The rain has stirred her creative juices. "It gives me a lot of pleasure to see the rain. It makes me sing. When it starts raining I start singing. As simple as that. I mean, I feel very thrilled. There is a lot of joy within you!"
Many years ago,
in the market in Lucknow I once bought a tiny bottle of the essence of wet
earth. Occasionally, when I feel very nostalgic, I take it down, pull out
the glass stopper, breathe in deeply, and then put it back up on the shelf.
July 3rd: One storm, two showers. Not bad. But not exactly the Monsoon! Still, everyone seems happier. Even the animals. This afternoon, I saw a peacock dancing in a field near Bhitthur, hopping to the rhythms of some inner music. And everywhere, the farmers are out in full force, ploughing and sowing. On the road to Bhittur we stop the car to talk with Puthan, who's driving his two oxen up and round an acre field, clucking to them to encourage them to keep a constant rhythm. This isn't Puthan's land. He's a sharecropper who farms other people's land: he gets half the crop. No comparison with last year, so far!"Last year, when we sowed wheat, there was too much of rain, and we got wiped out because of that. We require rainfall that's moderate and spread out evenly over a period of time. If there is too heavy showers consecutively, then they do us a lot of damages. And if the monsoon is late, then our output is not as good, and we are not able to earn that much from that output."