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   Monday morning: Sitting on the old Underwood... (February 9, 1991)

Monday morning: Sitting on the old Underwood and looking out of the window, I can count five small fishing boars in the waters. They are the first that I have seen since the onset of the monsoon and are a sign that the wet season is nearing its end. The fishermen always know, through instinct and experience, more that the weathermen with all their equipment and noted satellites. Their lives depend on accurate readings, unlike the weathermen who do not even rich their jobs if they put out an incorrect forecast.

But the monsoon is not really over, it is only beginning to fade, its fury exhausted after three months of rains and storms and two separate deluges. And the sea is calmer, the waves are moving in lazily, breaking on the rocks in gentle froth. The fishes must be running in with them, providing the fishermen with their first easy harvest since last summer.

I can see more boats in the waters, small row-boats, without sails, the kind that had been pulled up on shore, turned on their stomachs, and put to sleep under plastic wraps. In the coming mornings, more of them will be in the waters where they belong.

I can see them treading on the waters, moving straight up, then, right, then again up, them left, covering every inch of the sea, or their portion of the sea. Like when a man is washed overboard on the high seas and ships go out in search of him.

Beyond, where sea and sky meet, the world is still grey. The rain clouds are still hovering on the horizon, perhaps, assembling forces for one final dash into land, bringing Bombay the season's parting gift.

You can feel it in the air: the one final downpour that will burst on to the city on fine warm afternoon as the Ganapati idols are being taken to the sea. For on that final immersion not only does it rain, but the day also signals the end of the rains. Then the heat of October, Bombay's second and more pleasant summer, would descend on the city, and the big boats will be put out to sea and even the little boats will venture far out into the ocean.

But right now it is Monday morning: Time to stop watching the little boats in the waters and go to work.

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