The sun has been playing hide and seek for the past few days. Dark grey clouds loom in the sky, blocking the sun each afternoon, then letting the evening breeze blow them away. It’s the middle of summer, and Bangalore is baking hot. The dark clouds are doing a fine balancing act—teasing, taunting the people with a hopeful prospect of rain, yet not soothing the earth with their water.
I grumble in irritation as I swat at the pesky insects. This kind of sultry, muggy weather always brings out Midges, Gnats & Co. in swarms. The sudden power failure has already forced me out of my room and onto the terrace, but the terrace is no better than my room. The horrid weather, the lack of wind and the abundance of insects are preventing me from reading in peace. Enough with the tantalization already, dear Rain!
“Ishi!” My sister hollers from the kitchen. “Close all the windows please. It seems about to rain and we don’t want the water to get inside, do we?”
“Alright, I’m on it.” I reply.
Later, just as I head back to the terrace to collect my book, a raindrop, a tiny one, falls on my forehead…followed by two more on my nose and lips as I look skyward. It is raining! I grin. Flinging the book hurriedly into the room, I rush to the centre of the terrace, determined not to miss even a single moment of the shower. Endlich, I want to shout, it rains! Arms outstretched, I close my eyes and turn my face to the sky. Taking a deep breath, I let myself get lost in the scent of the rain on the baked earth – petrichor.
The wind picks up, so does the rain. It is no longer a light shower, but a fast drizzle. Very soon, I’m soaked to the bone. The busy road four floors below is suddenly deserted, the commuters having taken shelter under the trees by the side. The wind makes the smaller trees sway and blows twigs and litter in little swirls along the road. Everything seems to be covered in a fine white veil. The dark clouds are finally quenching the Earth’s thirst, giving her the respite she desperately needs.
I sigh, content.
“Oi, Ishi!” My sister calls as she shakes my shoulder. “What are you doing, standing like a scarecrow on the terrace? Cartoon. Come inside and help me open the windows again. It looks like there isn’t going to be any more rain today — if you can call the one-minute-sprinkle ‘rain’.”
Damn. I grimace as I open my eyes and come out of my reverie. I’d let myself get carried away again. The ground around me is still dry, as am I. The few raindrops and their traces have already disappeared. The clouds are drifting away now, without emptying their bellies of water. The road below is still as busy as ever, the weather still as unforgiving. The earth’s thirst remains unquenched.
The fast drizzle and the respite were but wishful thinking.