Singing in the rain

People ask me sometimes, when the summer season starts up here. I think that we actually have two summers.

The first one is before the monsoon from April to June, when everything is so dry that your skin starts peeling off and your hair crackles at your touch. The landscape then looks pretty desolated. All is tainted in a uniform brown shade due to the pine trees that shed their needles everywhere. There shouldn’t be so many pine trees here, the original forest was much more green and dense, but unfortunately the British cut it off to build the railways and planted the fast growing pine-trees instead. Nothing can grow beneath the thick layer of dead needles, so the locals have to burn them. The dense smoke added to the dry air blocks the beautiful view to the valleys. They found a few ways to recycle the pine-needles. Some is used for bedding the cows and this year a tractor was collecting them on the sides of the roads to make mattresses out of them.

The second summer and my favourite season begins after the rains from September and October. Everything is lush green, butterflies swirl around, colourful flowers grow everywhere and the sweet scent of the Cannabis plants fills the air. Nature seems to invite you to soak in as much energy as possible to store it for the approaching winter.

The raining season though can be quite tough. The first rains after the dry season feel like a blessing being poured down on you. In some countries with monsoon climate it starts raining every day at the same time. Here you never really know, how much and how long it will rain, though the weather forecast is sometimes right. It can rain only for a couple of hours, the whole night, days or even more than one week. Nevertheless the mountains are a good place where to spend the monsoon. We don’t have the thick, stuffy humidity and the temperature stays pleasant.

On the first couple of days of continuous heavy rain, I get into a romantic mood. I enjoy staying inside the house, reading a good book, watching a movie or just sitting on the porch with a cup of hot chai to observe how the rain pours down incessantly. The small path that passes by our house and leads to the village has already turned into a narrow whitewater channel dragging sand, earth and plastic bags along with it.

Approximately on the third day I start to feel bored. Sitting on the porch is not that much fun anymore either, as after a couple of raining days temperature drops considerably. I do some housework and catch myself humming rain songs like “singing in the rain” or “it’s raining men” to cheer me up.

The next day I wake up and expectantly pull the window curtains aside; still the same scene. I start feeling like in the movie “Groundhog Day”; it seems like exactly the same day is starting again with every sunrise. The song “raiders on the storm” comes to my mind – not too much cheering. As I look closer, a huge crack across our terrace catches my eye. I want to swear, but pull myself together and just sigh: “Om Namah Shivaya”. A heavy smell of mould has started to fill the house. The road to our village is blocked due to landslides, the trucks cannot supply groceries and we eat mostly rice and potatoes.

On the fifth day I don’t even want to get out of my bed anymore that by the way, has started to feel pretty damp. I feel melancholic and think about all the summertime parties with barbecues and good German Beer back home. Eventually I get up. Our house stands in midst of an immense cloud pierced by constant raindrops. My mood has reached its lowest point. I look up and detect with horror water drops coming through the ceiling of our living room. I put a little bucket under it. Next I find a mushroom growing out of the cement in the laundry room. No mold, a real mushroom! I call Baba and show it to him. He wants to eat it:

“Maybe this magic-wallah” he says.

I forbid him from doing so and proceed to its destruction. I sit on the porch with my chai and cannot get the Milli-Vanilli song “Blame it on the rain” out of my mind. This sucks!

What to do… inhale, exhale… this day will also go by somehow.

Day six: A MIRACLE!

The sun is shining and the birds are singing. It seems as nothing has happened. Well, now there is the crack crossing the terrace and this time the roof has to be repaired without any further excuses. We scrape our last rupees together to invest them in the repair work.

We have to take all the blankets, mattresses and clothes out to let them dry in the sun and get rid of the mouldy smell. But under a blue sky, things seem just half as bad as they are.

I do not complain; if you think that your own situation is bad, you can be sure, that someone else’s is even worse. This year the region of Uttarakhand has suffered catastrophic floods. People lost their homes and lives.

I should be thankful for trivial things like mould, a crack in terrace and a leaking roof.

Om Namah Shivaya!


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