Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Kaal Boishakhi

The wind has an anger to it as it slams shuts windows and doors, unprepared as they are for its onslaught. I have thrown them open as wide as they can be to get the sly comfort of southerly afternoon breezes which pretend to allay the summer heat.

There was no way I was going to remain in sweat-drenched slumber in spite of the whirling fan while the angry wind raged about outdoors. Out on the open balcony, one cannot at first make out the wind's direction, but I notice the steaming afternoon has graduated into a warm evening which is occasionally sensationalised by long streams of cold air. The huge vinyl sheet of the billboard flaps loosely on its moorings and I watch its wind-racked sail-like movements scare the birds away. Black clouds from the west race southbound over me and I know this to be a kaal boishakhi, the nor'wester, the stuff romantic Bengali poetry is made of. Every time I witness one, I know why.

The tea's made and a couple of digestives dipped in the hot liquor: like ambrosia in this weather. The perfect ending to a long hot summer day.

There's a quality to the light at this time which is eloquent. It is a brightness that does not blind but illuminates more clearly than sunlight can. There are no shadows despite the clouds. Smiles linger on faces hurrying past. A gang of exuberant youth raid the lonely mango tree growing in the empty plot of land opposite my balcony. Over the months, I have been watching the bright green flowers bud into tiny fruit growing larger with the days. Today, they are under attack by the weather as it scatters them from the branches on the land overgrown with shrubs and weeds. The young boys collect the fallen fruit with glee by and I imagine them salivating as they think of the sharp tart taste of raw mango which will soon fill their mouths, neutralised yet heightened in a wonderful way by black salt.

The high-flying kites which normally soar way up above the tallest buildings riding the thermals are almost down to my level now buffeted by the wind. It's amusing to see them flap their wings like crows and not be in complete control of their flight. They still fly around in circles though as they do higher up in more convenient weather.

The rain is just a spatter at first, instant vapour as it hits sun-baked surfaces. And then a shower followed by heavy rain blown about by the wind which has become arrogant and fierce from its earlier mood of angry and wild.

I scamper inside, spilling my tea as the enveloping clouds darken the evening sky.

It's been a strange summer of overcast skies and more than occasional rain. Temperatures have been bearable most days and surprisingly, often quite wonderful. Whenever the real summer burns through this strange weather overlay, we cringe and look for favourable conditions on the net, on TV and the newspapers. My AccuWeather app kept saying “scattered T-storms” or “partly cloudy” and I hoped and hoped but it was obvious the T-storms were being scattered elsewhere and the clouds were partly some other where.

And then the strangeness happened. Again. Or at least what should have happened earlier, happened today - a kaal boishakhi.

It will be a good night's sleep.

1 comment:

Soumit Dutt said...

Very well expressed. It is a pleasure reading the mellow Patrick Ghose than the other face!