The only event in the Kolkata weather is the monsoon. It comes fully equipped with smoke and dust and dead, dried leaves. The dust enters your hair and your nose and you run indoors from the storm. The grey nimbus clouds are like poison- dark and cool. These are not the white cotton clouds you mould rabbits and lollipops out of. Heavy with a deluge, they are ominous, chilling.
The beauty of it is that it comes in that exact moment when you think that you could not stand summer one more second. The first drop you mistake as your own sweat drop trickling off your forehead, down your nose. The first five, so light that you think that you might just have imagined it out of desperation. You think it was just an air-conditioner leaking. Ten drops, maybe its the fountain at Minto Park getting a little too enthusiastic and spraying out. Then twenty and you know its here.
The dogs you realise had known all along, that’s what they had been announcing. The birds knew. They were gyrating wildly in the sky. The trees knew. They were in a wild frenzy. A hundred drops and everyone knew. Servants and wives rush to the verandahs to take in the laundry. There’s flurry to shut the windows against the wind pushing at your face. The first flash of lightening and all electric appliances are switched off and the plugs are pulled. Because last time Das Kakima’s refrigator blew up, Panchu Babu’s circuit-board short-circuited and Munia’s motherboard got burnt. The thunder grumbles a few seconds later, announcing the arrival of the monsoon with a drum roll. The first storm of the year- the kal baishakhi.
All day long you had been sweating, all day long your body has been ready to receive it and sensed it like the cows and crows and now the first rain is on you. It replaces the sweat, the dust, sorrow, pain.