Thursday, November 26, 2009

Once Upon an Indian Monsoon



A late monsoon’s early morning and this part of the world is hazy, unclear and young. Everything is pastel grey and awakening. Bright and glorious, the sun emerges to dissolve the haze. It burns liquid gold for one flickering minute, touching everything with its brilliance. Then, the clouds snugly kidnap it, and the world is darker once more. Still, the sun struggles to peek through the monsoon clouds to chase yesterday’s shadows away…



We witness the silent play of light and shadow on the city from the Chamundi hills. Our legs, just as eager and young as the morning, beg to reach a higher altitude. With the burst of natural excitement, we break into a sprint, Cousin and I. In the disappearing gloom, we race towards the morning---expectant, hungry, delighted. As we run, the sun once again sneaks out to cheer, breaking free, and a distant voice calls a warning with careful restrain. But we disregard it as we continue, until one of us stumbles to an abrupt halt. The voice behind us is now triumphant.....




I take in some air as cousin teases my slow legs. The others catch up, not understanding why it was so necessary to misbehave. The skies are swift, they are changing now… from a morose grey to a blushing pink. We quietly watch the city below stir to life, long after us, long after the Chamundi hills. It’s early for the sleepy city, but late for the hills. Here, the day began long ago. The squirrels are active, scuttling about, and the red ants are busy in the undergrowth. I am distracted as I fall in pace with the others, observing. A camera rests dangerously unsafe in my jumpy hands as I try to capture the essence of this experience. It’s a battle of the impulse to capture every existing miracle against the urge to live in the moment....



The mist is gradually fading away, and I capture the last of it. But the dew still clings, insecure and pleading. It’s time for them to evaporate under the emerging sun, and they are unwilling to let go. They hesistantly dissapear.
It’s too early to call this season winter…here, there is a smooth transition from monsoon to the winter months of December and January. September is an orphan, falling nowhere. But we still call September monsoon, because we hope it will rain. Yesterday has not seen any though, but the hills hold hints of monsoon in the smell of the moist earth. Or maybe, it’s just too early to decide...




The morning continues to bloom with its morning glories, and we pause, to admire. We have seen them adorning our flowerpots, but those flowers aren’t nearly this beautiful. They cannot shy away from us. Against all this natural green, their rich purple stands out. They are missing stamens, but look complete, nevertheless. Impatient bees hang about, waiting for us to move away so that they can resume their business. The camera is desperate once more, but the angered bees buzz off, before we get a chance. The butterflies are a little more obliging. They pose, showing off their pretty backs. Three snaps later, I turn away, satisfied. Meanwhile, the skies have moved on to a pearly white…they are now clear and bright...we now realise that we left dawn behind us...




It looks like my turn with the Camera is over. Cousin begs to fiddle with it, and I have to be fair. Reluctantly, I thrust the Camera into cousin’s beseeching hands and he squeals with delight, feeling important. It’s now time to photograph his favorites, and he decides to disturb a sleeping worm. The worm is annoyed, and promptly curls up. He tempts it with some fresh leaves off a fallen branch. We giggle as we think he’s wasting his time. But he’s still a child, after all, and children are never too old to stop trying. He continues, determined. There is another squeal as the worm bites hungrily at the leaves. We gape, as he monkeys around with it. It’s incredible he achieved that! The worm is now dangling, like bait at the end of the fishering pole. And its bait today too…bait for the Camera. We click away madly, and cousin’s frantic voice eggs us on.



Apparently, we are not the only ones who think that the worm is interesting.
A camouflaged kite calls its shrill screetch, announcing its presence. We know we have exposed the worm, but we aren’t sure if it is the target prey. It’s too far to tell if the kite is greedy…our vision is not nearly as good as that of the kite. But we aren't taking any chances. We decide to be saviors and hastily hide the helpful worm among soft September leaves. It looks like worm does not foresee any imminent danger. It continues to chew on its easy breakfast, unconcerned. We share a tensed moment as we strain our eyes for the well-hidden bird which is now screeching a death-note. The omnious note frightens us...we think it foreshadows a disaster. But thankfully, nothing happens. The kite gives up. It flaps its wings and takes off, flying away into the last of the darkness.


Relieved, we turn away, abandoning the worm in the comfort of its lair. Ready and willing, our restless legs carry us on into another adventure, which continues to grow with the awakening morning……


(That means there is a Part 2 to the story!)

6 comments:

Ravan said...

Hey the story is shaping up ossum...and with great pics as well...

wat is it U take pics...write story or write story and hunt for pics?

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

@Ravan: Thank you! We just go out into the big wide beautiful world and enjoy an experience! We capture things that look beautiful to us, the story is weaved natutally, from all its threads-from the memory of the experience, remembered through pictures. And it ends up here. :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

What a beautiful narrative. Nice pics to go along with it. You are fond of biking it seems, been following on twitter as you know!

YOSEE said...

Wonderful !Its always refreshing to walk among greenery at dawn. Wish i were there too ! But reading this was equally refreshing.
Lovely pictures. The chubby squirrel looks cho-chweet !

praneshachar said...

wonderful from ur pen 3 year back flow has come very naturally and it dipicts the events so nicely great work at this age wish to read more and more from your pen btb your thata has read it what are his comments curious to know

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

@pranesh sir: thank you! :) This is an experience frm 3 months back when all the cousins suddenly decided to wake up one holiday morning, and go to Chamdundi hills, when i was home fr d holidays! Well, I'm not sure about Grandpa's take yet! Will let you know what he told me! take care sir, and hope ur well! And thx fr cmin bac 2 my blog. :)
Yosee: Yup, the squirrel was my personal favorite too! :) I think (he?)s just too sweet. we found him by the rocks, nibbling on sometin. absolute cuteness. I have more stories on squirrels. U might wanna check out my earlier posts fr tat! cheers!
@Captain: thank ya. Yes, im EXTREMELY fond of biking!! I take my bike out whenever the weather is lovely, despite everything. And I find it most delightful to bike in the rains, with all of my favorite songs in my ears.
@