"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

weather

Après Le Déluge

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“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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The south-west monsoon is with us until September.

After staying for several months there will be a short respite.

Then more rain: the north-east monsoon.

Five months of heavy, but fortunately, intermittent rain;

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And the parade ground given over to cattle.

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A Question Of Balance

It was one of those mornings.

The local LG Service Centre had called to say my DVD player was ready for collection, following its recent malfunction.  I decided to combine the trip with buying coffee.

The taxi driver was new to me; his driving style unnerving.

The weather was poor.

Rain

And more rain.

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For an hour, I sat in the back of the car.

The driver alternated between rapid accelerations and emergency stops. His hand continuously sounded the horn.

I felt nauseous and bad-tempered.

We finally reached our destination. But the service centre had inexplicably re-located since my last visit. A move not mentioned when they called, and signed only by the damp sheet of paper, pasted on the door of the old premises.

Their new workshop was a few kilometres away, across the city.

Forty-five minutes and several phone calls later, we found it.

After waiting a while, the DVD player was produced. I asked to see it tested.

It failed.

I sulked.

During the return journey, following yet another emergency stop, I pointedly readjusted my seat-belt.

I put my hand on the driver’s shoulder and made it clear he must ration the use of his horn.

The rest of the trip was spent in relative silence, with me half-wishing the driver would make a foolish mistake, to further justify both my opinion of him, and my irritation.

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We reached Ravi’s Coffee Shop.

Ravi, himself, was there.

The sights and smells were comforting and absorbing.

Ravi’s quiet dignity; his calm, noble face; and his gentle smile brought me to my senses.

I started to see my frustrations in perspective. I began to laugh at myself.

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Living abroad entails many changes.

One of them is the loss of language proficiency.

Facing the challenge of LG’s repair-shop, and an over enthusiastic boy-racer, my first inclination had been sarcasm: a skill I spent decades honing before retirement.

But my Malayalam is non-existent, and local English is limited.

Sarcasm achieves nothing.

A more balanced approach to life’s small frustrations is now required.

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“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration..  I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less clearing up to do afterwards.”   Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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The Aftermath

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The morning calm is deceptive.

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Last night’s storm was ferocious.

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Heavy branches have fallen.

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Power lines are down.

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Outside, driving is hazardous.

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Inside, candles still splutter.

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Driving Downtown In The Rain

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I need to go downtown.

But looking out from my door, there is no escaping the monsoon.

All I can hear is the wind.

All I can see is the plentiful rain.

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Once it eases a little, deciding against the ferry, I take an auto:

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Business by the roadsides has quickly resumed.

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Work on the new bridge to the mainland has restarted.

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Only the fishing fleet remains anchored in enforced monsoon idleness.

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With errands completed,

I take the auto back across the bridge to sunshine,

colour

crowds

cattle

And all that remains of my umbrella.

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The Morning After, The Night Before.

It is official. The monsoon has set.

On first hearing this phrase, I thought I might be experiencing an Al Gore moment, and that the monsoon must have finished early – extremely early.

But by setting, the monsoon has in fact arrived.


When I retired to my bedroom last night, the comfort of sleep was unaccustomedly difficult to find.

Instead, I was entertained by a mighty son et lumière performance.

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For over an hour my room became the stage on which searingly bright lights, cruelly sharp shadows, deafening sound and powerful tremors fiercely interplayed.

As dawn broke I questioned if an early morning walk would be possible.

But, other than a few puddles, life had returned to normal.

The beach was beginning to  bustle:

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Footballers were back in position;

The cheerleaders their customary, sanguine selves.

A boy was opening my local tea-stand,

His first customer already waiting.

For young and old it was business as usual.

The sky was brightening,

The storm blown out.

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The Season Of Umbrellas

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Now is the season of umbrellas.

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The monsoon may still be somewhere over the Andaman Islands  but along the Kerala coastline we see its harbinger.

Looking out from my door

the trailing edge of cyclone Laila

has brought more rain.

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Raindrops

 

The sky darkens. Rumblings of thunder become longer and louder.

Gentle raindrops begin to fall.

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