Chasing the monsoon

I miss the monsoon. Not the rains, but the season itself, when dry, hot weather is replaced by hints of the first monsoon rains. When the sky is filled with black clouds and everyone is eagerly awaiting the first showers.

Here in Bangalore, the seasons seem all mixed up. When I arrived here in March, it was supposed to be summer; it was supposed to be hot. But it was raining. And having just come from Pune where it was very hot, I kind of felt relieved. Whenever I called Pune to talk to friends, all they ever complained of was the heat and how eagerly they were waiting for the rains. A few days back I called mom and she said she did not pick up immediately as she could not hear the phone because it was raining very heavily. The first monsoon rains had arrived.

I looked out of the window and said to myself, ‘Yeah, it has been raining here since 2 days’. Actually no, it has been raining in Bangalore since I got here and before that. It doesn’t feel like monsoon. It feels like just another day.

I miss the excitement, the rush, when you feel the first drops of rain. I miss the anticipation that comes with seeing the first black clouds crowd the horizon.

When we were kids we used to run outside our apartments, on the road, and jump and squeal with other children, just jumping up and down and enjoying the first rains.

All this and more came rushing to me as I read Alexander Frater’s Chasing the Monsoon.
I was a little apprehensive to read it because I have never read a travelogue before. But this is much more than just travel. It is also a part memoir. He is so good with words, he can actually paint a picture before your eyes.

In the book, he follows the monsoon from Trivandrum (the southernmost point in India, well almost) up to the north. I knew monsoon is important to India, important to agriculture and all, but this book gives you a different perspective altogether. He describes people, places affected by monsoon or the delay of it, the wait, the agony of it’s late arrival. We just crib because it’s incredibly hot and the rains will lessen the temperature. But for many people in India, it is much more than that. It is livelihood. I am sure I’ll never feel the same about this season again. Read it if you have never experienced the monsoon before or you want to see it in a different light altogether.

——————
P.S. Thank You Hemanshu for introducing me to the book. I am looking forward to reading ‘Tales from the Torrid Zone’ by him. Let me know if you have already read it.

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12 thoughts on “Chasing the monsoon

  1. Hello there. I was sent a link to your blog by a friend a while ago. I have been reading a long for a while now. Just wanted to say HI. Thanks for putting in all the hard work.

    Jennifer Lancey

  2. See I told you how much you’d enjoy it. I’d never read a travelogue either but this book got me started on them.. I can send you a couple of more good recommendations.

    As for Tales from the Torrid Zone, no I haven’t had the chance to read it yet. In fact I picked it up in London the way to the US for a business trip 2 years ago.. I still haven’t read it.

    BUT I can tell you that you’ll enjoy his Across the Blue horizon or something such.. it’s an interesting travelogue based on the longest air route in the world.. starting in the UK and going all the way to Australia, with over 30 stops.. i mean find it and read it.. it’s good 🙂

    When are you in pune next.. you keep elluding my coffee request.. aab to shaadi bhi pakki ho gayi yaar.. aab to mill lo? 🙂

  3. Hemanshu: shaadi pakki nahi hui, abhi sirf commit kiya hai. Rest will come later. Long way to go.
    I’ll be coming in July for around 15 days. We can certainly meet up for coffee. I’ll let you know. I think i have your email id, i.e if you check it regularly.

    I’ll look up ‘Beyond the blue horizon’.

  4. Same difference yaar. Commit kiya hai to nibhao ki to sahi? To baat pakki hi samjhenge na hum log 😀

    As for the book, yes do look it up.

    And as for July, mein US jaa raha hoon 9th to 20th.. to tum aage peeche aana 😀

  5. eeks…9th to 20th. These are the same dates i’ll be in Pune. Cannot reschedule. Already booked the tickets, got the leaves approved. Sad we wont be able to meet after all.

  6. Sounds cool!

    Alas, we don’t exactly have Monsoons in Wales, but it does seem to rain for most of the year! 😦

    (Although I should say, it’s beautiful sunshine at the moment!)

  7. Reached here while blog hopping .. maybe i was chasing the word monsoon 😉 !! Thanks for this post, i too will surely try to read this book !

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