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The monsoon fury

The monsoon fury
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By: K S S Pillai

I know the monsoon season is not far off when the employees of the electricity board cut down the branches of trees that encroach upon the space above the overhead electric lines. I start searching the sky for signs of the season. An isolated dark cloud floating across the sky assures me that the season is about to begin and fill me with expectation.

One night I suddenly hear the thunder and flashes of lightning, making me sorry that I have to be satisfied with their muted form, as the doors and windows of my bedroom are closed.

An incident of the monsoon fury that I often remember is that of the top of a coconut tree burning brightly like a torch after a deafening thunder during my childhood. The season seems to have become more violent with time. Television channels and print media are now having a field day reporting frightening scenes brought about by rains in different parts of the country, led by its capital city.

Large chunks of mountains come crashing down to the road below, carrying trees and massive pieces of rocks. Madly rushing rivers carry several cars and other vehicles with and without passengers.

A couple of daredevils on a motorcycle crossing a bridge disregarding the water flowing over it narrowly save their lives while their vehicle is carried away by the fast-flowing river. Multi-storied buildings fall in slow motion. A dog standing on a stone midstream with the water level rising every moment is rescued by a uniformed team of men. Shrieking men and women run away from a falling tree.

When the rain is accompanied by strong winds, some branches of the trees in my compound are broken and deposited on the road nearby. I am happy that there is no river or canal passing through the area where I live.

At night, the rains bring insects that go on flying around the electric lights in my room. Mosquitoes enter the room somehow, defying the metal nets on the windows and doors. The cry of frogs impatiently calling their mates, joined by other insects, lull me to sleep.

Sitting on the first-floor balcony of my house, I love watching the rain falling outside. The house opposite looks fresh after the dust covering the tiles on its roof is thoroughly washed away by the rains. Water flows down through the corners of the roof of that house, differing in their size according to the intensity of the rains. The number of birds sitting in pairs close to each other on its roof has come down drastically with the increase in the frequency of showers.

The roads are inundated during the heavy rains, which give the opposition parties a chance to criticize the much-publicized pre-monsoon work by the ruling dispensation. Walking through the flooded roads becomes messy as you can expect the passing cars to splash dirty water on you. Some children enjoy playing in the rain, despite the shouts of disapproval from the elders, reminding me of my childhood.

Farmers harvest the last of the mangoes when the first sign of the rainy season appears. Governments ban trawling, making fish very expensive during the season.

The newspaper gets delayed during the monsoon as the delivery boy has to cycle through flooded streets on his bicycle. Sometimes the paper falls in the open, making it wet and turning the pages that cling together impossible.

The task is more irritating on some days as a page of the paper will have a protruding two inches extra carrying an advertisement. I take a silent vow not to buy the product advertised and ask my friends to do so without divulging the real reason.

( The author is a retired professor of English. A regular contributor to ‘The Kashmir Vision’, his articles and short stories have appeared in numerous national and international publications)


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