Tag Archives: Monsoon

My only friend, the end

Perhaps it is fitting I have this Doors song in my head. Today just might be the last day of Monsoon here. For the first time in three weeks the clouds have broken to give way to sunlight and blue skies. India’s weather.com states today it is rainy with a 60% chance of precipitation. Tomorrow will be sunny skies, 5 degrees (Celsius) warmer, and only 20% chance of precipitation. The clouds on the radar are mostly out at sea with only a few trails.

Hallelujah!

It is pretty much leaving on schedule, I believe, and it’s about time. My sons wear heavy clothes for a day and then throw them in the laundry, despite my pleas not to. It takes a week to dry and that’s with the assistance of a pot belly stove; otherwise they mold just like the white comforter did.

It’s gotten colder and it has been rainy and/or foggy for three straight weeks. Loud thunderstorms, light drizzles, nothing but wet weather. the ground became saturated at least a week ago — there was nowhere for the water to go.

The only thing I can think of that remotely comes close to anything I have experienced like this was the DC rainfall of June — what was it — 2008 or so. The basement in our house remained dry while all the other homeowners in our neighborhood employed buckets. My van — just before it was stolen — flooded. But at least that time there was occasional sunlight.

Maybe the end of monsoon comes with a poetry blessing as well. Scott Reid — @apwpoet — apparently read my post on Monsoon Withdrawal and came up with this tweet/haiku:

Shooting rifle into sky / – hole big enough / to empty the clouds.

Thanks man! I was touched.

Monsoon Withdrawal

Well, I thought the monsoon would spur on a poem, and I was right.

When I was up in Mussoorie for the writers festival, I ascended the hill in a dense early morning fog accompanied by a drizzle of rain. My taxi driver’s windshield wipers were not working, and he seldom wiped the windows with his fingers. The drive up is infested with cliffs and drop-offs and winding turns that just invite death.

Once I survived my near-death encounter with a car and some clouds, I was able to start taking pictures of this monsoon fog. I was beginning to mourn that I would come to the Himalayas and not be able to take a picture of these mountains.

On the second day I was rained on, drenched on, despite my newly purchased umbrella. That night, there was a storm so monstrously loud and long I was sure the sky was purging itself of all moisture. During one of those all-day winter rains I always imagine shooting a rifle into a sky and puncturing it with a hole big enough to just empty the clouds. This is what I was sure had to be done this time as well. My hotel room bed was directly underneath a skylight, and skylights in India are made of hard plastic. You get the idea of what the noise was like.

Sure enough, the next morning, I awoke to a much more impressive landscape.

In the north, the end of the monsoon comes as a welcome call partly because there really is no break between the monsoon’s arrival and withdrawal. In the south however, it hits, and stays for about a month as it travels north, then there is a few weeks break, ten it hits again as it comes back south. It hit in June, hung around until mid-August, then stopped for several weeks.  While in Mussoorie in mid-September, I am pretty convinced I witnessed the finale of the monsoon withdrawal. Then, in late September/early October, it hit Kodaikanal.

The news articles state that the monsoon 2012 arrival was weak, but its withdrawal has come with heavy rains, flash flooding, and huge power outages. This seems to be the case here. Where it rained about 40% of the time sometime around noon to two in the afternoon during its arrival pass, it is now raining almost nightly, starting around dinner and sometimes lasting until the middle of the night, with heavy thunder and loud winds. A few days ago lightening hit and there were sparks in every room of the house some family member was in.

There is flooding in my aya’s house. It’s coming down the walls of her house. But she has no walls, not like what we think of as walls.

So whereas the arrival of the monsoon was sub-impressive, its withdrawal has sparked a desire for a poem.