Today’s column, dear reader, isn’t so much a column as it is a series of increasingly nervous (not to mention baffled) bleats. Each of them emanating at a slightly higher pitch than their predecessor.
Here’s the gist of it: what the four letter word is up with the rains?
We’ve had heavy rainfall in the past, and we’ve had monsoons that have overstayed their welcome in the past. But never, in living memory have both things combined with such unseemly enthusiasm for such an extended period.
Mahabaleshwar, the newspapers reported with scarcely disguised incredulity, was the wettest place in the country. Up and down the length of our fair metropolis, parents harrumphed and looked away as their young inquisitive wards brought up the names of places such as Mawsynram and Cherrapunji. Whom to trust, these young inquiring minds must have wondered: newspapers or textbooks?
Older, equally enquiring minds also grapple with these questions, but that is another column for another day.
Typically, by around the last week of September or at most the first week of October, the monsoon starts packing its bags and checking its tickets.
Pune makes polite noises about staying a bit longer and what’s the big hurry and so on, but both the monsoon and Pune know that it is over. And soon thereafter, there’s a nip in the air in the early morning and Pune is greeting the arrival of winter.
But not this time around, no sirree. The monsoon is still comfortably ensconced in our midst, and forget checking its tickets, I don’t think it has gotten around to even booking them just yet.
Like clockwork, come every evening, there has been for the past week or so an oppressive stillness in the air and the kind of humidity that signals the imminent arrival of Noah’s Ark. Although I think even he and his ship would struggle with the amount of precipitation we are dealing with here.
And sure enough, by evenfall, big fat raindrops splatter themselves on every surface they can find, while thunder and lightning hold majestic concerts in the skies above.
And not to be outdone, the wind plays merry hell with every single plant, shrub and tree it can find. All of which is fine and necessary until September, I’ll be the first to admit – but uh, even Goddess Durga has come and gone, Lord Indra. Just thought I’d mention it. No offence.
And just this morning, the newspapers informed me that the wettest place in Maharashtra this October has not been a place in the Konkan, and not a place atop the Sahyadris.
No sir. In the past ten days, the wettest place by far has been a little suburb just this side of Baner called Pashan. It has recorded, since the start of the tenth month of the calendar year, a scarcely believable 164 mm of rainfall, and with no sign of abatement.
Would you care to guess, dear reader, where in Pune it is that your columnist stays?
Indeed. Quite so.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
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