Sea­sonal changes and great ex­pec­ta­tions

Gulf News - - Opinion -

As I wilted un­der the in­tense heat of May, I dreamt of the mon­soon sea­son for relief. As I mopped the sweat from my brow in a man­ner of speak­ing, I vi­su­alised grey skies and the wel­come cool­ness brought by rain. The month seemed never-end­ing and I ea­gerly scoured the news­pa­pers for fore­casts of rain. The Met de­part­ment pre­dicted a good mon­soon and as the mon­soon slowly ad­vanced from the south­ern­most tip of In­dia, I waited for the skies to open up and the cas­cade of rain.

By the sec­ond week of June, the del­uge be­gan. It was such a relief to switch off air-con­di­tion­ers and not have to worry about as­tro­nom­i­cal util­ity bills. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing light­ning and thunder were mar­velled at and just watch­ing the rain was plea­sur­able. What was even more won­der­ful was the fact that it usu­ally poured late in the af­ter­noon or at night so one could go about one’s work in the morn­ing and ac­com­plish tasks such as bank work or shop­ping for ne­ces­si­ties. Notes were ex­changed among fam­ily mem­bers and friends on the amount of rain that fell in the area where you lived, laced with a fair bit of gloat­ing if you were favoured with more of Na­ture’s bounty.

News­pa­pers went to town with fore­casts of a good mon­soon and more rain­fall than pre­vi­ous years. Graphs to demon­strate com­par­a­tive rain­fall rates with mil­lime­tres of rain re­ceived in dif­fer­ent lo­cal­i­ties were proudly dis­played.

And then came the lull. It was as if Na­ture was mock­ing at the ex­pec­ta­tions of man. The skies dried up and the heat was turned on again. But this time it was worse as the hu­mid­ity lev­els climbed in­ex­orably. The trick­les of per­spi­ra­tion started and some­how it was worse than May as this was far from the cool weather that we had been look­ing for­ward to for so long.

There was a dra­matic turn­around in the weather fore­cast, with pre­dic­tions of lit­tle chance of a boun­ti­ful mon­soon. Air-con­di­tion­ers were switched on again as hope faded. Then, one day, we woke up to an un­usual sound. The rain was back and ex­pected to last for some days. Once again the weath­er­men had rea­son to cheer and the pre­dic­tion game started all over again.

Most In­di­ans love the rain and look for­ward to the mon­soon after a long seem­ingly end­less sum­mer. I re­mem­ber writ­ing to a pen­pal in days of yore, telling him how much I loved the rain. The re­ac­tion was one of sur­prise, al­most shock. How could any­one in their right mind love rain, he asked. I was baf­fled by his re­ply. How­ever, years later, when I vis­ited Europe and saw how the weather news was keenly fol­lowed be­fore plan­ning any out­ing, I un­der­stood. In coun­tries where rain is a given, there is a long­ing for blue skies and lots of sun­shine. As far as I am con­cerned, I told my friend, he could have all the sun­shine and I would gladly ac­cept the wet weather in ex­change.

But, after many days of con­tin­u­ous rain, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to ven­ture out, I re­alised I was suf­fer­ing from cabin fever. As Mark Twain wisely said, “Cli­mate is what we ex­pect, weather is what we get.” It is hu­man na­ture to never be happy with things the way they are and what we look for­ward to can soon be­gin to pall.

I sup­pose we shouldn’t knock the weather. Nine-tenths of the peo­ple couldn’t start a con­ver­sa­tion if it didn’t change once in a while. I am sure that all those liv­ing in the UAE will agree with me on this point.

So, per­haps it would be nice if we could follow this sage ad­vice: “Wher­ever you go, no mat­ter what the weather, al­ways bring your own sun­shine.”

Vanaja Rao is a free­lance writer based in Hy­der­abad, In­dia.

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