The heat has been building in the last couple of weeks and has become unbearable. The sort of stifling heat and humidity that causes a wife to hit her husband over the head with a frying pan while he sleeps or neighbours to start feuding.
The night doesn’t bring any respite and I lie awake for hours before sleep finally claims me. I now have two fans, a ceiling fan which blows the hot air back down on me and a standing fan that then blows it across the room. Imagine sleeping beneath two hair dryers.
Last night after finally drifting asleep I awoke shortly afterwards feeling even hotter. Half awake and bathed in sweat it took me a while to work out the reason why. The power had gone and the fans taunting me with their silence. Then I heard it, a sound I have been waiting months for. Raindrops, coming slowly and gently at first, but then increasing in intensity. The Monsoon is not due in Mumbai just yet; it doesn’t officially arrive until June. This was just a tantalizing prequel of what is to come.
The power returned, the fans kicked back into life and now a cooler (not cool enough yet) breeze washed over me lulling me back to sleep.
This morning we left early, for the 1000km drive back to Bangalore. The trees looking slightly fresher, the air a little more crisp, but the rain was not enough to cleanse the city completely, not strong enough to wash away the 10 months accumulation of dust and grime.
The road surface now treacherous, we spotted our first accident within half an hour. Three Lorries simultaneous colliding with each other on a downhill corner, their bald tires unable to cope with the coating of oil, grease and water covering the road. Further on a car was overturned in a ditch, a man standing beside his damaged motorbike, thankfully uninjured but shirt and pants torn where he had slid along the road. The traffic now heeding the visual evidence and slowing, hazard lights flashing as they drove gingerly through the streets.
Once we left the city however and headed into drought stricken rural Maharastra, there was no sign of any rain coming soon, the landscape dry and brown as far as the eye can see.
400kms further south though, things were different. As we approached the border with Karnataka, rain clouds were building on the horizon and we were treated to an awesome display of Mother Nature’s pyrotechnic might for over an hour, as brilliant white bolts of lightning sliced their way across the charcoal grey sky.
I have never looked forward to rain so much!