And the heavens open up

I wake up before dawn as the lunch boxes have to be packed. As I am rolling out the phulkas, I hear a different bird song. It is a song that I haven’t heard since a year, and yet I recognize it. It is the Jacobin cuckoo. It is too dark outside for me to spot it. I turn to Subodh and say, “It will rain today.”

He looks at me quizzically. I just heard a Jacobin cuckoo. The chaatak. The bird which Kalidasa mentioned in Meghdoot. The harbinger of rains.”

Jacobin cuckoo or Pied crested cuckoo. Photo by Rajesh Gadge (Used with permission)

And sure enough it rains that day. The rumbling of distant thunder makes my heart beat in excitement. It is the end of this summer ordeal. A shiny bolt of lightning streaks across the skies. And as if on cue, the electricity board does the one thing it understands. It gifts us a power-cut. But it is a welcome excuse to get out of office a few minutes sooner. It stops raining soon enough. Hardly ten minutes of rain.

As I drive back from work, it feels like a different cleansed world. On a scooter in front of me, I see a nurse gingerly lift the hem of her white saree, to save it from splashes from the puddles on the road. I grin at her, and she smiles at me, shaking her head. It reminds me to drive slower as you never know when your two-wheeler will skid in the moist soil.

Closer home, the parched earth seems to be thirstily gulping down the rain water. I slow down to look at the rain-washed trees. The wet jungle babblers are all shaking their heads. All of them look like puffed up balls of feathers. I open the gate to my house, and perched on top of the hibiscus shrub is a white-breasted water hen, calling its mate in its characteristic courtship call.

As I enter home, I spot a large carton on the dining table. And a whoop of delight when I realize that Bhaiya has sent a boxful of my favourite Malda mangoes from Patna. As I slurp down the delicious mangoes, I don’t even mind the juice dribbling down my white Chikankari kurta. What could be better news for one day?


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