One of the first things that struck me about the monsoon in Rajasthan is that in the months from July to September everyone you meet (at least in government)
will talk about it. Whether it is late or early, excessive or short, the damage the rains have wrought by their presence or their absence. As a District Collector one of the super important reports brought to me twice a day morning and evening was the amount of rainfall in the day and I have learnt not just to appreciate rain drops as they roll down the branches of vilayti babul but also to measure in millimetres the true extent and impact they are likely to have in the larger scheme of things. In my first district I was struck in particular by a senior officer (now long retired) who took it upon himself to quiz me every single work related phone call on how much rain the district had seen.
Having been raised in Dehradun where it rains pretty much all the time,I had begun to take the monsoon and the rains for granted. It is only after all these years of working in Rajasthan that I can truly appreciate the impact of rains in this mostly rain starved region. Despite the water-logging , the traffic jams , the broken electricity poles, the rains bring a sort of calm to this arid region after a scorching summer .
Jodhpur saw its second downpour this season. Much awaited after I had all scanned the skies my hopes rising every morning at the slightest sign of faint fluffy clouds ,mentally imploring all the rain Gods that be to share some of their droplets with us. Almost in response to the combined prayers of Jodhpur the clouds stopped in their onward journey this weekend and exploded in a flurry of rolling thunder and the city was awash with the bounty of the first rains of the monsoon. Zigzag streaks of lightening crossed the grey skies as the rain roared onto the water logged streets and the trees turned liquid ,droplets streaming down the leaves. Perched in the narrow veranda of the government quarter I drew my toes in as the wind swept a shower of droplets my way. Twiddler was not amused, he tried pawing the shut door to go in and then turned back to glare at me for my insanity. His woof could barely be heard under the thunder, the jangling wind chimes and the wind blowing through the trees. Little rivulets crisscrossed the yard into a giant puddle near the gate and rain drops smashed into the puddle making it a sea of ripples. As the rain stopped a chirping of birds could be heard over the blaring horns of slightly irritable car drivers trying to make their way impatiently through the water logged street.
Growing up in the hills gives you a different feel of the rains. Rains are torrential the sun barely paying a visit in the months of July. In Rajasthan the rains come in bouts yet the landscape bursts into a sea of green just after two rains. It’s funny how a barren, stark expanse of brown can change colour so soon. Trees that shed their leaves to survive the onslaught of a very harsh summer start to break into little bits of green and tiny blades of grass poke their heads out of the sandy road side. Little scrub bushes spring up across the sandy desert and in the Aravallis the rock faces almost disappear behind a veil of green. Peacocks begin to display and dance , a common sight in the villages .
Droplets of water glisten on electric lines glowing in the light of the halogen on the street. An oppressive humidity clung to the air but all is forgiven in the joy that the rain has brought.