The advent of monsoon was without the usual pre-monsoon showers, the explosive nights of goddgoddo or nocturnal flashes of zogil burning trees or houses and slamming raindrops on the red roof tiles. The pre-monsoon rains comes at the end of sweltering May, unwelcomed by xetkars preparing their fields for seeds or bhatkars waiting to pluck their unripe mangoes and jackfruits. The pre-monsoon storm leaves trees uprooted by angry winds screaming across the sky as children huddle under sheets and parents put off fans and ACs before they anxiously listen to the paus hammering the roof above. The next morning, apprehensive elders watch the damage of the night’s storm with a sleepless night worrying about the collapsed compound wall, the hen-coop, the pigs in their sty or the coconuts and firewood soaking in water.
This year we had no such worries. No need to even plead with St. Anthony because rains came before June 13. The bus services were not disrupted nor were schools closed; nor did we reach office wet to the bone. There was hardly any flooding because the rains behaved admirably and silently disappeared into the drains without too much fuss – obviously the public services did their homework diligently – after all.
But, are we ever ready for the rains though they arrive in June like clock-work? Parents still make frantic purchases, sending prices up while the shopkeeper does not bring the prices down because he knows you will buy, or you’ll have to walk home in the rain and getting drenched means a fever. Will you learn this lesson and shop on time next year? No! You will think of that umbrella only when it rains heavily! Why, I’m going to purchase rain shoes today. I’ve already ruined my new Bata flats in today’s steady downpour and will be coughing up Rs.300 for an ordinary street-side rubber pair which cost only Rs.200 a fortnight ago. But that’s the price you pray for procrastinating!