Every….single….time. Undeniably. Irrevocably. There's no avoiding it. Each and every time the skies above me darken as the rumbling clouds gather before opening their arms wide open to set forth the cool, cool monsoon breeze, I wake up.
What I mean to say is that it may be in the wee hours of the early morning, say around 4 a.m., or during a lazy, weekend afternoon, when I'm totally lost in blissful slumber, that without a doubt, an imminent storm will wake me up. There simply has to be an invisible connection between the onslaught of rain and my internal clock. Mind you, I'm no light sleeper. Nothing short of a blaring alarm clock (or my mother banging on the door non-stop) will wake me up. So the only conclusion left to make is that I have an undeniable love affair with monsoon in all its glory.
It all starts with the calm before the storm. The so-called calmness is just a façade. You can actually sense the throbbing pulse of suppressed excitement of the imminent downpour to follow. I can feel it beating in my pulse and it literally makes me pace the floor of my bedroom and veranda…waiting …waiting…when suddenly, out of the blue, I'll spy some errant leaves swirling in a burst of air and just scant seconds later that sensuous, erotic touch of the wind that's so much a part of a storm will start ebbing and flowing. Go on. Take a deep, deep breath. Now wouldn't you say that this has to be one of the richest legacies that Mother Nature has given us?
One reason I think I love the rain so much is because of all the wonderful memories that are tied to the monsoon season. I still recall how my mother would help me and my elder brother, Sakib, tear up used pages from our revision copies and make paper boats, big and small, to set adrift on the puddles and streams of rain water that would collect in the cervixes and hollows on the ground. Then there's getting wet in the rain while feeling your toes sink in the warm, wet earth below and the grass tickling your feet. The best part about this is that you have all your clothes on which somehow heighten the enjoyment of it all. Don't ask my why for I have no clue.
And how can we forget all the ritualistic food? Piping hot tea or coffee and crispy muri bhaja with zesty shorishar tel and onions. Or if it's lunch time then bhuna khichuri with spicy beef or fried fish. And since it is the monsoon season, it means that the dining table will include your homemade, yummy mango chutneys. The ones made by your Nani or Dadi always taste the best. Oh! Speaking of mangoes, they're a constant element when it comes to dessert as well! And litchis, which we skin and refrigerate in a box so that they taste like frozen sorbets, makes their perfect dessert-dating partner.
See? It has to be the memories.
Just three days back, right on cue at 6 a.m., I woke up. I was a little disoriented at first and couldn't put my finger on what it was exactly that had broken my sleep. Then I heard it. The wailing sound of the wind rushing through the leaves of the trees. I got up in a flash, all the sleep gone from my eyes and ran towards my window to throw back the drapes and the shutters. And smiled. Because I knew that in just a little while, I'd be on my way to making some more memories. Memories of monsoon magic.
By Simin Saifuddin
Photo: Munem Wasif