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   When you have nothing else to write, write about the weather. (September 30, 1992)

And the weather has turned peculiar: booming and thundering in the night, placid and warm in the day.

The weather bureau says, it is end-of-monsoon weather. If it is so, it is the first end-of-monsoon weather which is like this.

I have no objection to this pattern of rains. Let the nights provide the required quantum of water, and let the days be free of the discomforts of the rains. Though I am aware that it could play havoc with the open-air Navratri programmes at the Jolly Friends' Club, Vile Parle Dandiya-Raas Mandal and other places. Still, if it rains two nights and remains clear the remaining seven nights, they should not complain.

Though the monsoon in Bombay is more vigorous than in most places of the world, we are still blessed that it rains only three months of the year, however heavy, and the remaining nine months are guaranteed cloudless and dry. In certain other parts of the world, where the citizens indulge in a lot of outdoor sporting activities, when it is not snowing, it is raining.

So you have crowds huddled under umbrellas at cricket and tennis matches, staring at wet and empty grounds and courts, and not getting their money back at the end of the day.

What is upsetting about Bombay is that it has only two seasons, the monsoon and the dry season. Most of us have not experienced the pleasures of a four-season year, when not only do the temperatures change, but the colours of nature, and you can see it happening around you.

I have only a fragmentary experience of this, not a whole

symphony but fleeting passages. The last fortnight of a winter in Germany, a grey Rhine flowing through a

graveyard-sheet white countryside, gaunt leafless trees lined along the streets.

I regret to say that I was continuously reminded of the scenes in films of Nazi oppression, of Jews being taken to concentration camps.

Then, on my last day in Bonn, the weather thawed ó and suddenly it was spring.

There was an even more dramatic change of scenery in Turkey, where I spent half a winter in a town sandwiched between the Taurus mountains and the high hills through which the road finally led to the Mediterranean coast. The winds howled from the icy mountains and froze the water in the open gutters.

Then, one day, and this also alas towards the end of my stay, the storks flew in from the African coast, a weak yellow sun rose over the Taurus range, and it was spring. And the town's tailors, barbers, bakers, moved their shops into the street.

Finally, I was in London, when summer gave way to autumn, and the trees in Hyde Park shed their leaves and the wind brought them clattering into Oxford Street. So, when you have nothing else to write, write about the weather.

 
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