I stood by the well, and it was about three in the afternoon. The hot summer sun swiftly had vanished and darkness had dawned at noon. I felt the change in the air-the crows seemed to flutter in circles perhaps prodding the others to scamper and fly back to the safety of their roost; the sparrows which are a rare sight these days were hastening to pick up the specks of food they could find and were intent to fly back to their nestlings; the mynas were not to be left behind; the family of squirrels were scurrying up the branches of the old mango tree; the lone ranger –the serpent bird who found roost among the thick green foliage of the mangos-teen moved to a safer branch. The clouds had gathered in thick mass, in dark, blackish grey. The sky looked viciously beautiful! One would wonder if the sun was up in the sky a little while ago glaring down on all earthlings in its full summer fury. The dominance over him was total
The breeze scouted and moments after thunder roared in the distance. The wind quickened and the tall stooping coconut palms swayed ominously. I stood still looking at the sky and felt the swift change in the air seep up from through my feet, through every sinew in me. Lightning broke crevasse of fire-fiery streaks in the dark rain clouds. The cumulus nimbus was in no mood to retreat, the storm clouds soon spread her canopy of dark grey tentacles and it felt the sky was coming down to meet the land. The chariot of the gods roared swiftly and blazing silver flashes in the dark sky. I thought I saw firmaments in the sky. The earth seemed to shudder and I stood by the well.
Then she arrived in grandeur. Pouring down in torrents quenching the flora and she hit the earth as succor to the soil, dry and parched by the relentless glare of the summer sun. It was April 7 th 1973. The summer rains had arrived. I soaked in her. I longed to melt in her, awash!
Why do I remember that day and the morning after? I do not know. The summer rains, how she arrived and squelched the earth, engulfing all life in her munificence and beauty. And then, the day after- morning when I woke up and walked about outside the house and on to the road still drenched and cold after the rains the evening before- breached branches of trees, debris of broken twigs and tree leaves littered; pebbles and sand carried by the torrents and strewn on the road; bright red and chaste white hibiscus flowers bowed by the beating of the summer storm albeit still with splendour and beauty, washed by the rains and carrying droplets of water, peeped over the compound walls and fences of houses on either sides of the road; Kanikonna (Cassia fistula), was in full bloom , being April and nearer to Vishu- they looked bright lapped by the rains and their yellow gloss prettier in the warm soothing rays of the rising sun. The bougainvillea, kanikonna (Cassia fistula) and the cluster of jasmine flowers were strewn around on the wet earth by the gate in front of the house; their tiny petals still sparkling with droplets of rain water. They seemed to paint a picture abstract and beautiful, red-pink ,yellow and white. The sunflowers endured the beating in the rain but they invested their majesty and stood beckoning the morning sun. As it was my habit of checking by the fish tank every morning soon after I was out of bed, I went to it. The water was almost spilling over, and was crystal clear. I felt my finger the index and the middle into the glazing water and I tinked in the coldness that grabbed them. The fishes- the Gold, the Angels, the Black-ies and the Sword tails all were in ecstatic play.
By then the sun was up and the warm rays fell upon the earth, through the trees and it brought forth a feeling of blessedness.
The majestic jack fruit tree which stood at the front left corner of the compound was gleaming. Its foliage of dark green leaves looked pristine, fresh and brilliant. The jack fruits that donned along its trunk through the year were resplendent greenish yellow and beamed, tanned by the storm. The huge mango tree was imposing and sweet little yellowish mangoes had fallen down in the wind and rain waiting to be picked up. I looked over the well and saw the water level was only a couple of feet below the brim. The ferns sprouting luxuriously on the walls of the well had driblets of storm water and looked vivid green. The squirrels were scurrying along the trees and squeaking, tails standing up; the sparrows and mynas were intensely devouring the seemingly unending carcass of May- flies that were washed out in the rain.
The feast was splendid, the ambience electric and the wait worth. I inhaled a very deep lungful of air. There was a lyrical quality about the air that morning. I felt I was reborn.