Come monsoon – every year while city dwellers wait in rapt impatience for the rains to dissipate the summer heat and farmers wait in fertile lands for a richer crop – I alone, wait in silent prayer for autumn’s dryness to disperse monsoon’s dampness.
Against popular opinion – I hate the rains. I know everyone else has a different perception about the rainy season; one that is equated to the romanticized beauty of monsoon: lush greenery, stormy skies, occasional cloud bursts, precipitated mists, blowing winds etc. But the monsoon I see is a far cry from any of that.
Much like the ground squirrel of the American mid-west who – during the colder months – embarks on a sleep of a lifetime; come monsoon I prepare for a similar trajectory. Only instead of regulating my blood concentration and stacking up bodily glucose elsewhere as my pre-hibernation ritual, I start stacking up on my book reading recommendations.
Because honestly there is no other time in the whole year when I yearn for good books to read, like I do during the rains.
Back in the day when I didn’t always have concrete plans during weekends and the rave for social media wasn’t mighty yet – I spent my days relying heavily on my holiday book recommendations. From a murder mystery here, to a teen romance there – I would spend my days huddled under my blanket reading for hours at an end.
Sometimes I would start reading a book in the morning and before I knew it, morning turned to evening and evening turned to night. I’d get so absorbed in the lives of the characters of the stories illuminated by the warm glow of my bedside lamp that I became oblivious to what happened outside. And just like that – the sun set, temperatures dropped, traffic became thicker and my windows became foggier.
At the end of 2017, I wrote an article about whatthat year taught me about life. A little over two years now – in the wake of a new decade – here I am, reminding myself of, and implementing those lessons, through a year of gratitude.
The beginning of 2019 was very different from the beginning of 2020; for one, back then, the new year’s messages poured in till almost the 10th. This year, its been barely few days in, and I can already see that the messages and merriment has phased out.
A small part of me believes it’s because people have matured and moved on from the hysteria of overplaying it. But a more dominant part of me believes, it’s because of a universal decline in enthusiasm. I can’t speak on the behalf of the entire world population – but as I see it, and as Joan Didion once said ‘the world as I had understood it, no longer existed.’
I learned early on that I have a bad affliction of not making concrete weekend plans. Usually I’m just lazy, but when I do, it’s mostly a one-on-one with a single individual friend who I can speak to at length about life.
A couple of weekends back, I made exactly such a plan. I reached out to an old friend after nearly 2 years, and to celebrate our union we decided to meet for brunch at quaint little café on a hill on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The location was a mid point between both our houses – symbolic of our mutual excitement to see each another.