Oh, for that refreshing breeze of yore!
As the wind gained power, I could feel it hit me in scorching gusts. My mouth felt dry and eyes burned in the blinding sun. Closing my eyes, I willed myself to plod on. Each step was a conquest against the demonic loo that was blowing across the baked plain. Squinting, I tried to catch a glimpse of the obscure greenery. It had been a long, long walk, and I was ready to collapse.
Just when I could take it no more, the horizon drew nearer, and the mirage of greenery became a lush reality before me. The wind changed course, and the angry hot leash-strokes of loo transformed into cooling caresses of charged up mountain wind. The sky was suddenly covered with grey clouds, and fat drops hit me.
It was raining. Taking in the smell of water on parched land, I could not do more than close my eyes in gratitude and feel the rain wash me to the skin.
Waking up with a start, I was glad the dream ended with that memorable feel of standing in the rain and getting drenched without a worry. The memory is an indelible etching inside my mind that dates back to the time when days were stories out of halcyon summer camps and nights were a kaleidoscope of fairytales.
These kinds of dreams often fill my nights with what can be called wishful thinking, considering my current status. Living in one of the hottest parts of the country, with summer having arrived with a promise of breaking half a century of records in raising temperatures, I can do no more than dream of rain and clouds. For here the days are as hot as you can imagine, and dry as autumn leaves.
Having spent my childhood in the place where summers were a spell of sweltering dampness that got punctuated with heavy showers every few days, I wondered what deserts would be like. If the temperature rose enough to make you declare ‘it is the hottest day of this week!’ it always ended with a thundering downpour by mid afternoon, making the summer evenings fragrant from freshly washed verdure and a cool breeze tossing the clouds and the birds alike. There, God did not turn the temperature knob all the way to 40 degrees+ Centigrade ever, for there seemed to be an automatic system that pressed the rain-button if the knob closed near 36 – 37 degrees!
Summer and monsoon were such bosom cronies in the town of my childhood that it was hard to tell when one season ended and the next arrived. Monsoon was always warm and summer was always splashed with frequent downpours.
Now, it rains no more. Water does not flow in abundance that children can run splashing in streets and sail paper boats on the rivulets that form after every downpour. I no longer discover a tiny bird overwhelmed with the effort of flying under the heavy sheet of rain that lets me carry it inside my house to be fed with a sprinkle of grains, so that it is then fit enough to fly away as the clouds break apart. No more do earthworms leave a wet trail along the floor as they slither on the veranda away from their flooded earthy undergrounds. My cat does not flit in damp and scared after she is caught by surprise by the sudden shower.
My little siblings no longer have a reason to pretend about some work to borrow my umbrella, just to take a walk in the flooded lawn.
My mother does not feel like frying spicy dumplings and I have forgotten the taste of tea sipped under the dripping shed in the lawn, watching the puddles come alive with the rain drops that make intermingling concentric waves. No more can be heard the hypnotising sound of millions of water drops splashing on rooftops, trees, lawns - all together.
Even the songs that keep bubbling out from the heart are now silent, and the words of long forgotten poems have been erased, for no bewitching monsoon weather inspires them to come to the foreground of beautiful memories.
All is dry, all is parched. It does not rain anymore.
But it is only May. We still have time to coax the monsoon into this bustling dazzling city. We can still relive those memories if we begin building our hopes again. Mother nature is only cross, she has not abandoned us. Earth is wounded from the thoughtlessness of humans, we have not killed it.
A little effort, a little love for the earth that bore our uncertain steps as we grew up is not such a big deal. We have been given the atmosphere, we can make the environment. They cry of global warming and environmental hazards – we surely can spare some time to listen and pay heed.
Saving earth sounds like such a great responsibility. Loving is not. We have always been loved by nature, by earth. Let’s fall in love again. I am sure it will be inspiration enough to bring back all those moments that seem lost forever.
After all, the town where I grew up is still there. It is only I, who has not paid a visit.