Ambling along the Afternoon Rains

There was a series of vigorous clapping as I beat the air pretty hard. Fut Fut Fut, the notes cascaded like hellfire and torpedoes in mankind’s war games. Was I wildly applauding some sporty excellence? No, it was done in defence. The dengi-copter had just landed on my turf. Dengi-copters don’t fire missiles at the enemy. They draw their spears out to suck blood and inject fever that most often requires a bigger needle to undo the deed.

It was a huge one, the dengi-copter. With the cases of dengue rising pretty fast, my defence batteries quickly responded just before the enemy strike after its landing on my turf. Defence missiles clapped rapidly. The main problem in being a lazy writer is that the dengi-copter is almost sure of beating your defence system. The hostile object dozed, dived, uplifted and turned with expert manoeuvring. It flew away to safety. My palms bore the brunt of the strenuous effort. But aren’t the guns very hot after firing?

Well, they say the movement of a hand on one continent has the capacity to bring rains to some other continent. My clapping seemed to have disturbed the atmospherics somehow. The afternoon was at the threshold of evening and a strong wind built up in response to my forceful clapping.

The trees greeted the wind with humility and obedience. Different trees have their unique styles of greeting the wind. A peepal has strong branches and supple emotional leaves—no wonder they are heart shaped and shake a lot—that get easily ruffled by the winds. The riot of emotional shakings in its canopy gives the sound of a small waterfall from a distance.

The stoic banyan is too sturdy both in leaves and the branch wood to be easily disturbed by the wind. It prefers to stand almost unmoved like an old mendicant in the Himalayas, his body stable, emotions in equanimity and mind without turmoil, the weather elements just moving his saggy beard a bit.

neem is pretty easy to be appeased by the touch of the wind. Its branches and leaves freely dance to the windy tunes.

The parijat leaves are almost metallic in strength but the wood is soft and flexible, so it shakes with a stiff neck, nodding this way and that.

The monsoon-fed acacia has long slender branches that heartily flirt with the windy boys.

My vigorous round of clapping definitely disturbed the atmospheric elements. The wind pulled clouds, big wagons of clouds in fact. Some travelled very low and fast. The trees applauded their approach. The cloudy wagons rubbed past each other and thunder and lightning reprimanded the agitated trees.

The wind buffeted. It started drizzling. A group of swallows flew for fun—not for hunting dragonflies for a change—in this windy drizzle. You can very well make out the playful dives from the serious insect-hunting sorties. There is a difference between professional duties and vacations. They flew against the wind, flapped their wings dynamically, holding their positions at a shaky point for some time, then diving along an incline, now rising against the wind.

When the birds decide to take a bath in a windy drizzle, it’s a sight to watch. A pigeon also flew like a drunkard, moving this way and that way. A group of three monkeys enjoyed slip-downs over the inclined solar panels on the rooftop. The gently inclined wet solar panels serve a nice rooftop entertainment park for them. No problem with that. The main issue is that the rhesus monkeys hardly know the point at which their fun game changes to outright criminality against humanity. Their fun and criminality lie so close that just a leaf drop is sufficient to turn them synonymous.

The kittens barged in as if the world was up for its last moments. And so did a grasshopper. It was a grasshopper that hated bathing perhaps. It assumed it was also escaping like the kittens. The slight difference being that it was escaping from life in this instance. It landed straight in front of the barn-kitten whose arrival in the veranda was rewarded with a nice evening snack.

To the doormat-kitten the life is too precious so it went into the invisible folds of the farthest hiding point. The barn-kitten but isn’t averse to have a few drops of water on its fur in lieu of munching grasshopper nutcrackers. So the grasshopper escaped to death. The kitten got a snack. The wind dropped. The trees stood silent and the wayward drizzle turned into a steady rain.

The music of rain on subdued, unmoving leaves is wonderful. It seems as if the trees have opened their soul to the rains. The rain-bathing birds called an end to their flying showers. The flirtatious clouds matured to a stable grey homogeneity. They looked settled for a good rainy spell now. The monkeys forgot their rascality and hid under the solar panels. Without their tomfoolery they look so bloody moron, sullen and sad as if the entire sorrow of the cosmos has fallen upon them.

It steadily rained till the evening stood at the threshold of a gloomy dusk. Then the clouds decided there has been enough bathing down here. They resolved to take rest. A tiny bit of pale yellow in the western sky conveyed the unseen goodbye of the setting sun.

The birds that had stopped midway on their evening march to their nesting places started again as they shook off their feathers and started their remaining journey to be with their near and dear ones.

The monkeys came out of their sad imprisonment. They got onto the top edges of the solar panels and shook their bodies forcefully with vengeful excitement in order to uproot the plates (the very same plates that had given them fun as well as shelter), failing which they moved along the parapets to look out for the things they would be able to break.

The kittens also crawled out of a big empty home delivery carton and looked at the bowl. This kind of rest does wonders to their appetite. Hunger is written so vibrantly over their faces that I am reminded the same about myself. I can’t just wait like them to manage hunger. I have to go into the kitten. And a nice, gentle spell of evening cooking proceeds in a bachelor’s kitchen. Isn’t life beautiful? It surely is provided we accept it as such and learn to see its beauty and ignore the ugly.