Tag Archives: weather

Summum Bonum

Today, like everyday, I woke up thinking about you.

But it’s raining today, so I’ll tell you about it.

It was a hot day, the temperature was predicted to hit a high of 41 degrees celsius and yet, I swear, at about 3.00 pm it hit 43. The elderly in the house had swapped their morning tea for lime juice.  The family dog was sitting quietly in the shade and lapping up water from his steel bowl. Crows circled the trees that posed as regular haunts for peacocks that frequent this part of Delhi. Even mangoes that fell from the mango trees had fallen too early, not because they were ripe, but because the scorching heat had sucked the strength from its branches so that they couldn’t hold on to the fruit any longer.

I woke up to the sound of the cleaner using the hard brush broom to sweep up all the dead leaves from our verandah. They crunched and scratched as they moved from the grass to the earth, smooth but parched from the summer it wasn’t prepared to face. Dust and dead leaves, a golden yellow heap in one corner of the house.

I was dreaming of you I think, when I woke up. I’m not sure what the contents of the dream were, but you did feature in it; you were probably the star. Probably, yes, because you were iridescent. Even in my sleep my subconscious had decided to focus the lens on your face and the world around you was just a disappointing backdrop, that failed, and how, to live up to the foreground. I looked at you and gulped – you looked like a dark cloud in a desert. You could bring rain and you could bring a storm and I’d take what I got because you were iridescent and I couldn’t look away.

I was dreaming of you when I woke up to the crunching and scratching of brown leaves on brown grass. We ate melon for breakfast, and took tea without milk, and then went up to the roof to pour water over every square inch of it. Grandpa says it cools the house below, but I think he just likes going up there to enjoy a couple of minutes of silence in the one place in his house where Grandma can’t reach – or at least where her voice can’t reach. He loves her, but it’s a hot day, hotter than predicted, and therefore hotter than expected, and even the petals of the purple summer flowers are allowed to protest in silence with their browning edges, so why can’t Grandpa.

It’s the hottest 29th of April in 29 years and the news channels have all sorts of things to say about it. The opposition is blaming the ruling party and the church is blaming science and Grandma is blaming Grandpa, and in the window of the house next door, the toddler shrieks with delight to commemorate her first spoonful of mashed unripe mango.

I sit in the master bedroom and join Usha, the help, as we fan my grandparents with yesterday’s newspapers (seventy odd years back the only electric fan in the room was thoughtlessly installed in the north west corner, a corner now full of pictures of the children who left the city when the summers began to get too hot). We fan them as Grandma talks of how things were back in their day, how the summers actually brought everyone together in those days in Srinagar, when they’d pluck apples out of trees from their backyards and play house in their mother’s dupattas. The younger generations, she says, forget to give thanks for the little things.

I smile and look away, silently disagreeing, because today, like everyday, I woke up thinking about you and with it came a wave of happiness. I had sighed, more than once, as I tossed about in bed, dodging the morning light that filtered through the blinds so I could go back to sleep and see your face again. I had sighed and I had smiled and I refuse to believe that in that moment I hadn’t given thanks for the little things. For the silly nicknames and the imminent laughter, for the words in verse and the words in prose, and even the words that we never write. For the space on your bookshelf, for the dim yellow-light lamp, for the movies we’ll never finish and the books we’ll never start and the kisses aimed at foreheads and noses and chins.

And all of a sudden it began to rain. At first we just heard the light pitter patter on the terracotta that capped the verandah, but it slowly grew stronger and louder, accompanied by thunder and lightening and shrieks from the toddler, once again rejoicing, her arms and hair and toes splattered with mango pulp (because her mother had warned her the bowl should be clean when she’s done).

A cool breeze blew into the house and the golden yellow heap of dust and dead leaves soared into the air and back onto the lawn. Inside the house, Grandma pecked Grandpa on his cheek and Usha cleared the newspapers and the family dog came running to my feet, trying to hide from the thunder and the lightening. And with all this, and everything else, I thought of you, just the way I do everyday. I thought of you and the little things.

And it rained today, so I thought you should know.

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“Where is your native?”

I think I’ll miss the weather the most.    

I did make some friends in this city, of course I did. All kinds of randos. Friends who made me fluffy little omeletts when I was unwell, or just because it was a Sunday morning, friends who’d discuss the intricacies of life and love with me as they fixed their hair in the mirror, friends who’d somehow always have an appetite for a fourth Jagerbomb…

And yet, I think I’ll miss the weather the most.

When it rains in Bangalore, the roads begin to sparkle. Everything suddenly goes HD. And sometimes, if you’re lucky to be in a place where you can look far off enough into the sky, you can see a rainbow. It lies there, inconspicuous, so aware of its beauty it’s almost trying to hide. You aren’t looking for it, but your eyes fall on it. And you feel this momentary surge of happiness within you before you forget about it and get on with your busy busy life.

So often we chance upon people in the same way.

I’ve grown to love the city. Its canopied roads and little cafés, its coconut water and filter coffee. People want to get to know you, here more than anywhere I’ve ever been. And at nightclubs there’s the added challenge of getting to know someone before the 11pm deadline, almost as if mum’s set a curfew just so you only build the bridges you’re destined to.

I love a city that appreciates art. There’s graffiti on the walls that line busy roads and Rangoli outside the courtyards of little white houses and phone numbers scribbled behind bus seats with descriptive diagrams of what they deliver, but how many of us actually stop to look? Art can be a lot to look at. There are love notes and doodles forgotten; only seen by those willing to look, singing a song heard by those willing to hear, the raindrops setting the tempo in the background more often than not, bringing a smile to my face almost as if they deliver blessings when they fall on my skin.

 We all start as strangers. But everyone knows strangers have the best candy.

 So I ventured out, the aspiring adult that I was, living through the people I met and the sights I saw, getting attached to everything that had a beating heart and a story to tell, oblivious to the permanence of the bonds I forged and  ignorant to the fact that you can’t make homes out of human beings.

When a person leaves his city to travel, he has experiences that change him to the very core, and so when he returns he doesn’t fit in, because he’s grown with those experiences. He’s part of a different puzzle now. “Where is your native?” people seem to want to know all the time. I don’t know. I don’t know if it matters.

It’s not the puzzle I’m a part of, this is.

 We find our happy in strange random things; oddly enough, and for reasons lost in time, karaoke was my strange random thing, even if it involved a raging dislike for girls who can wear crop tops and leggings and sit with their legs crossed on barstools.

Like seriously, what is up with that? How do your intestines and stuff fit inside that?

 Anyway, there’s something about people singing at the top of their voices, grinning as they fumble to rap fast enough, dancing and swaying to fill the gaps in lyrics; freestyling their own versions of classics we all know because life’s too short to be predictable, and at the end of the day, just like these mashed up songs, we’re all merged into each other’s consciousness. And even as I leave I know there’s a little bit of something you in everything me.

 That’s why I think I’ll miss the weather the most. It’s the only thing I’m leaving without.