Monsoon musings


Monsoon musings

I wake up to the soft but insistent hiss of a gently falling rain. The sound of rain drops hitting the leaves of the myriad plant species surrounding the cottage is punctuated regularly by the tipple-tapple of drops falling on the concrete walkway from the tiled roof. As I snuggle under the covers, rain strengthens outside.

Now it drums on the roof and the trees, and the water running off the roof pours down in streams. I can even hear little streams rushing down muddy paths and hurtling down small embankments and protruding rocks. Time passes without creating any impact.

A little later, I walk onto the little covered porch, a cup of hot coffee in hand. The rain has let up, but only for a few minutes. Morning is blended with afternoon and tinted with evening.

In the grey of the day, the greens of the surroundings are unbelievable and all-pervading. The land is so fecund that every plant is flourishing — the tallest silver oak, coffee, mango, bamboo... the smallest weed and seedling. It is so humid that if I stood around long enough, even I would strike roots.

Coffee bushes stretch up and down the gentle slopes, glossy green, with green berries crowding on branches. Pepper plants wind their way up tree trunks, catkins cascading from their vines.

It is also the time for weeds. They have taken off, rioting in profusion on roadsides and in estates. Waist-high, they have taken advantage of the weather. Rain is a great leveller, not just the farmer’s friend.

Creepers have gone crazy, hanging down from trees. Some cover entire tree trunks, clothing them in a green layered skirt. Amid all the greenery, flowers aren’t quite as showy. The grey of the day is not flattering to their hues. They poke their heads among the palette of greens like pretty girls in school uniforms.

Trees look different. Glossy, dark green-covered branches taper off into tender greens and bronzes of budding leaves. Their bark is a contrast of dark brown on the side that has been wetted by the rain and light brown on the dry side. An occasional wind brings down a little shower of water droplets.

Creepy crawlies are everywhere, from slugs and bugs to centipedes and millipedes in such vivid colours and patterns that they look like they fell off a glossy sheet of a National Geographic.

There is some chirping, but birds aren’t flying. It is past eight in the morning, but a distant rooster who normally loves to wake me at the unearthly hour is unusually silent.
The rain slows down to a drizzle and then a mizzle, and I venture out. The ground, all slippery, grabs my shoes each time I put my foot down, releasing it reluctantly with a sucking sound.

There is now only an occasional drop falling here and there, disturbing the smooth surface of muddy puddles. But as I walk, droplets fall like cold needle-pricks on my skin, more felt than seen. Now I can hear the electric saw-buzzing of cicadas and an occasional croak of a frog.

A colourful butterfly flies up from nowhere, flitting into the shelter of the porch, gone seemingly crazy in its moment of freedom. The streams of water begin to dwindle in power and quantity, slowing down to mere trickles and ending up as strings of unconnected little puddles.

Larger puddles look like tranquil little ponds, riffled occasionally by wind gusting over their surfaces.

As I watch, the sky lightens. A ray of sunlight peers out, creating well-defined shadows. The rooster begins crowing extra loudly, as if to make up for its earlier lapse in duty. The whole scene in front of my eyes changes subtly with the addition of sunlight to the mix.
As I stand taking it all in, another cloud moves in, a drizzle begins, and the whole cycle starts over. Just another monsoon day in Coorg!

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