Calcutta and Kochi are diagonally apart from each other in the coastal India. Till a year and a half back I had always stayed in and around Calcutta and had got quite used to its weather. There wouldn't be any extreme, there would be moderate heat in the summers, reasonable cold in winters and nominal rain in the monsoons. However, my body had still got tuned to surviving in temperatures of 3-4 degrees Celsius as well as 40-41 degrees Celsius, courtesy the 4 years spent in my college hostel which had more extreme conditions than the ones faced in Calcutta.
When, I came to Kochi, climate was probably the last thing in my mind. Months passed as it did remain the last thing in my mind. Yes, the heat was sweltering, ceiling fan would be of little use but that wasn't something which I hadn't faced often. Come June, all my reservations got rearranged. The monsoon had arrived. My colleagues had been telling me that monsoon in Kerala is crazy, like nowhere else. Every time it used to rain heavily in May, they used to say, oh this is nothing, its yet to start. They were true! Kochi became a powerful shower soon enough. It was never a drizzle, but always heavy rain. It used to pour down like anything. Its like you go out for a minute and that's sufficient, it will drench you completely.
It had too much of a bearing on me. Gradually I started hating Kochi for it's rains, for the inconvenience it brings. I could not move out whenever I felt like. It rained too heavily. The droplets were so hard that they hurt you when they hit you. Umbrella would be of little use and even the raincoat would not keep you dry. You could not see a distant place clearly. The rain blurred your sight much like morning fog does in winter. The clothes got dirty or muddy easily, but when washed took an eternity to dry. The puddles formed everywhere and streets got flooded. Sun didn't shine and rain didn't stop for days at a stretch. I pined to see the sun shining, to feel the sensation of sun rays hitting my skin. Power cuts increased. Couldn't read in night. The problem was that I increasingly felt that I didn't have control upon far too many things which had a direct implication on me. I was at the mercy of elements. Roadside groundnut vendors vanished as they could not park their cart in the rains. Even the autos mysteriously vanished.The same stand which used to have dozens of autos standing in other months were now empty. Probably more people took autos during rains,hence it was difficult to find even an auto now.Shoes took a beating. Public buses were not very pleasant to get into. They would be filthy, soggy and dark. Instead of seeing the natural light through the windows, you saw the meek luminescence of the bus bulb with the khaki curtains down. This ordeal lasted till the early days of December. 7 long months. There would be brief periods when there wouldn't be any rains, but yes they would be brief. I was a happy man when the clouds receded and the familiar sun came back in December.
It's June now and as in last year the monsoon is back. It's raining and raining hard at times. The autos are difficult to get and the groundnut vendors are yet again not there. Clothes and shoes still get dirty. But the rain doesn't torment me this time. I wake up every morning to see that it's raining, but it doesn't matter. It's a small walk now from my home to the bus stand. Its raining when I go to sleep in the night, but it's good to lay down and read. Its nice listening to world space when it's raining outside. Funnily, when rest of the country is suffering in the heat, its cosy here. I go to my balcony and see the leaves of the trees outside. They are glistening green with a droplet or two on them. There is life all around you. I step out of my home on weekends, it still splatters hard, but I brave it and reach Brindavan. Its empty, I get served quick and also get Idlis and cutlets even if it is late. There are less people coming in the rain. An exciting idea dawns upon me. Soon enough I"ll go to jetty on a weekend and board a ferry. How pleasing will it be to see the rain hitting the backwaters. I"ll look all around me, see the chinese fishing nets, the huge ships, the distant Marine Drive on one side, the few islands on other and there would be water teeming down. May be I"ll get down at Fort Kochi and go to a place called Kashi Art Cafe. They say that they serve good chicken. Suddenly all this seems a good thing to do when walking in the rain than in the sun.