#personal, Life

Monsoon @home

It’s raining! Well, it’s June and I live in Kerala- rains should be expected. If it doesn’t rain we panic and if it rains too heavily, we panic.

The first rain of the monsoon season thankfully clicks the minimize button on the sweltering and oppressive heat that starts mid-February.

The courtyard at home

Blue skies look as if they’ve been hip-checked by grey and somber clouds.The season of mangoes, jackfruit, guavas and chambakka have closed shop in the incessant rain.

As kids (which was quite some time ago) we had to pack away our summer games of cricket, football, ‘SAT'(not the exam but the Malayalee game of hide and seek) for raincoats and book bags. From memory, June 1st was the harbinger of the season and, mostly always, the first day of school.( It was a given that we’d enter our new class with squelch-y feet).

The sky at the start of the monsoon

The onset of the monsoons also brought with it a whole load of extra work for each of us (as if there wasn’t enough already). The buckets and ‘kalams’ needed to be brought out to catch the water that dripped between loose roof tiles. The sun peeking out meant you made a mad dash to get the clothes on the line and somewhat dry before the next shower(all this in a span of 15mins😬).

Invariably, for the duration of this season, the umbrella, (the most loved prop in the life of a malayee) ,was either misplaced, flicked or flounced with gusto all over God’s own country.

2018 floods

Although the last two years saw unprecedented destruction caused by floods- the effect of extreme rainfall the State received in 2018 and 2019- we overcame the worst of times and inevitably learnt new lessons along the way. One being: don’t throw plastic into the river, she’s just gonna throw it right back at you! The vulnerability and resilience of the people came to the fore even as tears mingled with the flood waters.

But yet, what is Kerala without her monsoon? The joy that that first rain brings is soul-stirring . The green becomes greener; the ponds, rivers and lakes seem to cleanse themselves, beginning a rhythm that is bewitching and mesmerizing.

On a more personal note, when it rains , all I want to do I sit on my verandah with a cup of tea, lay down my burdens and forget the cares of the world. Recalibrating, as the GPS lady calls it. The beauty of that rainfall may be captured by a camera but that ease of soul, less likely. It reminds me that the beauty the Lord has created is…shalom. Indeed, “it is good!”.


Solitude in confinement

the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

I wandered lonely as a cloud, William Wordsworth

Ever locked yourself in the bathroom when the noise, the questions or the space gets a little too loud, insistent or suffocating?

I know it’s true for me ( smiling sheepishly here). Between kids, chores, housekeeping and when every second sentence begins with the word “Amma!” (as loudly and emphatically as possible); a breather is found in this unlikely place where no one questions your motives.

The bathroom offers the solitude I crave to recentre, recalibrate and surrender my sighs to heaven. Weird! I know. But that solitude is priceless. The silence strengthening.

On a normal day I would have had the house to myself- the kids at school, the husband at work. This lockdown, which has gone on for over two months now, has been a trying time for me. Not because of the extra work or the confinement but because finding such moments have been difficult.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, being alone to be mindful helps calm the storm. Experiencing that solitude feels like the clearing up of a fogged glass- a revelation of what’s inside. No words need be spoken, no thoughts explained, no discussion entered into; like a doorway to the Lord has opened up and my innermost being has found quietude. Bliss! As Wordsworth so succinctly put it.

Photo courtesy: Joyal Antony Thomas