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   And, once again, it is June and Monday and the rains... (February 6, 1986)

And, once again, it is June and Monday and the rains. The whole circle of seasons, starting again or ending.

It must have rained in the early morning, for I got up to the alarm of the water hitting the window, splashing circles on it. and the swish of the traffic, as it sped through the wet street below, casting a spray. And the waking thought was-it must be the monsoon.

The season had already announced itself, a sharp, sudden shower on Saturday evening, scattering an unprepared city to nearest shelters, raising a summer steam from the streets. And the skies last evening shades of red and orange, and a bank of grey clouds across the Arabian Sea.

The birds, the trees, the earth, which sense the arrival of the monsoon before the weather bureau with its weather satellites does, had also indicated its approach. The increased chatter of the birds, the trees bracing their summer browned shoulders, the earth giving out that peculiar fragrance that you can get deep in the countryside and in the middle of a city.

An early monsoon, like an early guest at a party, before the hosts have set their tables, dressed for the occasion. But nonetheless welcome like one of those close friends or family member, whom you have told that he should come a little early, before the others do.

The monsoon hurrying along its south-west current: across Sri Lanka, then touching the Indian shoreline (though what is Sri Lanka if not India!), a feeble current, then growing stronger, Kerala, Mangalore, Goa, then at the gates of Bombay. Very definitely an early monsoon, flying on mighty wings.

And, overnight, between Sunday night and Monday morning, May and June, the weather has changed from summer to monsoon, the rainy season of the English.

In another two days, maximum three, the maidans will turn green, the monsoon flowers will bloom in suburban gardens, there will be pools of water in the city, the sea will turn angry, wild and galloping, unruly silver crests on the top of the waves.

And the weather will get cooler, the temperatures dropping. Out in the streets, the umbrellas will march in steady processions, and at street-corners, on little sigris, they will be roasting corn on cob.

In its own way, the monsoon, no doubt, has great advantages. Probably it is Bombay's best season. The trouble starts when you have to go out in wet streets, stand in wet queues, wait for disoriented transport, spend a working day in wet shoes, damp clothes.

 
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