Rainy October

For the past week or so, it has rained every afternoon. So big deal, you say? Yes it is, really, because this is no ordinary rain. For one thing, the regularity is astounding. On the dot at 2.30 pm, the darkening skies suddenly turn fiercely black, the kind of soot black against which the green trees and white buildings are sharply etched, and the thunderclaps begin, loud enough to crack windowpanes and make people cower. Lightning streaks across the blackness and produces the kind of weird, dazzling glow that is terribly incongruous in broad daylight. After about 30 minutes of foreplay, the rain pelts down — it really PELTS.

The streets are routinely waterlogged, and photos of grim-faced commuters wading through them have become a daily staple in the papers. Coupled with the dengue outbreak, the city has had a rough time of late, and I wouldn’t blame an outsider for thinking of Kolkata as a sort of gateway to hell. Sigh…if only s/he could have been here during Durga Puja…


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