Wednesday, June 05, 2013
The Vegetable Patch and The Condominium Garden in the Monsoon
There is an expectant hush in the Atmosphere---everyone is waiting eagerly with bated breath for the Rains!! We Indians are mad about the Monsoons--for us the Monsoons mean the Season for Romance and Love.For me since my earliest memories I have always adored the Monsoons.After we got married we both were crazy after the Monsoon---and have had many such interludes in the Rains of which I'll write about a bit later.Lotta,Meha and Mehul as well as Kartikeya love the Rains---however Sayali hates the Monsoon with a vengeance!!If there is one lesson that Kartik has learnt well since they got married it is to keep well out of her way when it rains--Nature shows attitude outside while she does it in the house!!
The Monsoons of my childhood had a wild beauty about them.Chandigarh was still in it's infancy though progressing well--and this meant that the spectacular Show the Monsoons put on each year was something I loved and have never forgotten.The hot Summer nights would be spent sleeping on the Terrace under the Stars each night.The beautiful scent of "Raat ki Rani" or Queen of the Night hung around in the Air , mixing with the scent of "Mogra"--- one of the many varieties of Indian Jasmine---to form an intoxicatingly heady Perfume pervading the velvety nocturnal Atmosphere.The Summer Showers began visiting us around the end of May each year-- often times preceded by swirling Sand Storms which my mother hated but I loved---the smoky,musky scent of the Sand swirling around the house made me long to somehow taste it.Since childhood I've loved to taste the wet Earth after a Shower--and I would try to poke my tongue into the tiny cracks in the Window panes just to taste the Sand thereby annoying Mummy immensely!!The Summer Showers would arrive with a lot of Fanfare---the crashing of Thunder,the strong Gusts of Wind accompanied by the flashing of spears of Lightning in the Purply dark Grey Clouds---the swirling dry leaves riding on the frenzied Air Currents.This would bring out the Peacocks who with raucous calls would spread out their beautiful Tails and dance in joyous abandon--tossing their necks and displaying their mind blowing Plumage to whoever was watching.I truly feel that I have be blessed to witness this Dance many times as I too rushed out to dance with equal abandon in the Garden--again irritating my poor mother terribly!!
As Chandigarh developed the privilege of watching the Peacocks diminished considerably.That was when we'd only see this returning from our many Treks or Picnics.Most often the heavy downpour would force us to park under the Trees of the numerous Thickets lining the Road and then we'd be the privileged few to witness this beautiful phenomenon.The majestic spread of the richly coloured, iridiscent Peacock plumes is a like a very rich spread of Brocade cloth.When fully spread out in the "Fan" formation the magnificent tail ripples and dips creating various patterns as the magnificent bird jumps from one foot to another---it is an awe inspiring sight--indescribable in it's sheer Beauty and Magnificence!! My childhood also was very rich in simplicity and the proximity to Nature.I grew up surrounded by such natural beauty--the magnificent Mountains in the distance and the rich experience of varied Wild Life,Flora and Fauna have turned those days into treasured Memories--hoarded in my mind with the sheer clarity of my tender years.
Luckily for me Sudhir was as mad about the Monsoon as I was.Our bedroom window in the old flat in South Bombay had a Metal awning.The tattoo the Rain beat on it was the first signal we had about the arrival of the Monsoon.Regardless of the hour of day or night,the two of us would rush out into the street and drive down to the Chowpatty Beach.We'd sit there for hours just enjoying the show of the ferocity of the Thunder and Lightning playing against the dark leaden Sky while the Rain beat a stacatto tattoo on the roof of our Car.There would be many occasions when we would watch the Rain swept stretches of the pavements of The Gateway of India from our favourite Table in the Bay window of the Taj Mahal Hotel.When we shifted from the family home into our own Flat here,we had the beautiful sight of the Vegetable patch next door.Watching the Rain and Wind lash the waving fronds of the Coconut Palms as they tossed about wildly in the Thunder and Lightning was an awesome sight-----thick,huge droplets pouring down their trunks into the fertile soil was an extremely satisfying experience.When the girls grew up and began leading their own lives--specially after Lotta got married---Sudhir and I began going out on long drives into the Western Ghats.
The nearby twin Hill Stations of Lonavla--Khandala were just a 2 hour drive away and Sudhir and I still young enough to enjoy the romance of these impromptu Dates on the Weekends.The usually dry steep slopes of the Western Ghats would be lush and green--clothed in a thick,velvety soft cover of waving tall Grass.There would be foaming White Waterfalls cascading down from the craggy Cliffs---rushing Earth wards with a loud cry.The looming,dense Grey Clouds overhead with the spears of Lightning snaking through their depths and the Wind sweeping around in fast,short Gusts was the stuff that we see in the Bollywood Films.These trips had such an uplifting effect on both of us and definitely gave a new depth and meaning to our relationship and married life.
Today as I wait longingly for the much anticipated Monsoon I am missing Sudhir with a deep,physical ache.However there are times that I can lull myself into believing the he is still lying next to me ,holding me close as he used to--curled into his embrace while Nature puts on a rip roaring Show outside our Bedroom windows!!