Mumbai Diaries :Beware! The Titans are at war
On the 20th, we woke up to blue skies – summer skies. I had forgotten how that looked- my eyes having got used to all shades of grey for the last 2 and a half months. Even the sun looked different that day – glowing amber- orange not pale watery yellow.
I drew the curtains and found hubby smiling – just like the sun. He was finally relieved – business was going to go back to normal, thankfully. The extended rains had affected sales and with just the last quarter left, achieving targets was not going to be easy. I had been hearing it since the rains went beyond the norm. And while I understood it all, I was in a dilemma whether to want the rains to stop or not. And I decided, ‘NOT.’ I liked the rains. And I didn’t mind them continuing. It made the weather so much more pleasant. And really, business needed to manage contingencies like that.
The thing is Mumbai tends to be humid the moment the rains stop and it tends to get very uncomfortable for those of us who can’t afford to have the air-con on all the time (with the sky rocketing electricity charges here). I remember last October which was my first in the city, the heat got so bad that I wanted to run back to where I came from (which is funnily hotter than here but where electricity charges are negligible). When going back wasn’t an option, I asked people I knew, if April and May would be worse than this, so I could be mentally prepared: only to be told that October is the worst. I decided then I’d get through the 30 days and be done with it. So, this year, with the rains extending into late September, I happened to be one of the few, really thrilled about it and grateful; though it meant that November may be bad.
However, being one to make hay when the sun shines, I decided to do what most home-makers do once the rains end . So on the 21st, the second day of sun-shine (after 75 days of rain), I got all my quilts, throws and door mats washed and laid to dry and I opened the windows and welcomed the sun into my home. The peculiar thing about Mumbai is that during the monsoon season, everything in the house gathers a musty smell – the smell of mold – and no amount of opening the windows and doors help. It grows everywhere – on the chairs, in the wardrobes, in cabinets, on leather shoes, bags and belts. It was my first experience with the magical mold. You clean it, it comes back – green, powdery thing. It has a life. It felt like I was on the sets of Jumanji.
Just when those happy with the monsoons ending began to let their hair down, the rains returned and this time with a vengeance. A bright, sunny day on the 24th ended surprisingly with thunder and lightening and heavy showers, indicating that the rains had just taken a breather. It kind of reminded me of an addict who had stayed calm for 3 days, only to go back to the addiction.
Well, as per the meteorological department, it is the first time in 60 years that the monsoons have extended and apparently may extend up to the first week of October. Let’s hope it is so, in the larger public interest.
I wrote this poem on the day Mumbai shook with thunder – the 24th of September, 2019. The skies roared and we watched in silence from within our homes, wondering what had happened in the heavens.
Beware! The Titans are at war
Do you hear the maces clash?
Drums of battle echoing loud
Thunderous roar in the skies
The city walls shudder
Do you see the ‘face-off,’ of their mighty swords?
Sparks born in constellations
Ignite the night sky
And menacingly strike the city terra
Do you see the people flee for shelter
Watching crouched; from behind closed doors
While the mighty soldiers stand their ground
The green canopy braves the roaring and the sparks
Do you see the tears that follow?
Unstoppable eyes, pour anguish
Swelling rivers, flooding lands
Drowning lives, wreaking havoc
Beware! The Titans are at war
And the Gods are crying
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