I’m sitting on the balcony at the office in Dindigul watching the rain. I’m trying very hard to not scratch – more on that later I think – and the weather is proving nicely distracting.
All day the clouds have been getting heavier and more pregnant looking; they have been gathering and lowering until finally, reluctantly we are getting a bit of precipitation.
It started with a light sprinkling, drifting gently across my vision which brought that peculiar acrid smell of wet dust. The tin roof of the generator shed across the way developed vague, wavy horizontal dykes where the dust has been pushed down the slope a bit by the rain. People hurried up slightly but not much else happened. This drizzle wavered on for a bit and then petered out – pity. The humidity went way up, the smell of garbage intensified, the teeny, tiny puddles are evaporating as I write, the crows have shaken off the rain drops and it looks as if we are back to same old, same old.
Then no lightening, just this continuous roll of thunder like the gods were 5 pin bowling right over our heads! The sky ripped open and that generator shed just disappeared behind a wall of rain so heavy and vertical that I could sit on the balcony (which is covered!) and be dry but if I stuck my arm out it was soaked completely through in a second. The sheer noise level of the rain pounding down drowned out the cacophony of vehicles, horns and people which have been our constant companions in Dindigul these past days. A thousand, thousand dusty, spavined umbrellas sprouted like magic and turned into gleaming cylinders of black silk and quick silver. Those unfortunate enough not to have umbrellas huddled under awnings, dashed into stores or rather comically, put handkerchiefs on their heads and continued on their way. I am told that most Indians think it is bad for your health to let your head get cold – they have obviously never spent a winter in Winnipeg!
The deluge eased off enough to allow me to see the surrounding buildings and what a sight – at first everything was streaked with this rusty red dust which washed over the roof patios, down the walls and poured from the previously unseen downspouts like some sort of biblical plague. Rather disconcerting looking actually. Then as the rain settled in for a good soaking, every building started to show its true colours – quite literally. Places I hadn’t paid much attention to suddenly burst forth in all their lavender, teal, pink and purple glory! Have I mentioned that people in Dindigul like to paint their places – inside and out with really, really bright colours? I felt like someone had dropped me into a slightly demented Easter Parade!
All the lean, mangy neighbourhood dogs came out of the woodwork, shook rain off their shoulders – for no good reason I could see as they were immediately soaked again but perhaps they were getting rid of their own dust layers as well, and lapped up the puddles. More than a few got down and rolled in the water, an ecstasy of back scratching and mud distribution. The crows lined up on the wires like sentinels, spread their wings and had long over due showers; like the buildings they shed their dusty appearance and I could see hints of iridescence in their glossy wings.
Half an hour later it was all over and life got back to normal as it does. A small window into a small sunbaked Indian town, for your pleasure – and mine!