The land is parched and brown, pitted like a piece of stale cheese. Withering yellow leaves droop mournfully towards this ground. The grass is a tangle of wiry strings much like a ball of twin fallen and unwound. Signs of life stirring in the microscopic vision reveal themselves to be the industrious ants tirelessly trudging across this famished land.
On the rock, a lone chameleon perches still, betraying his presence only through the glint of sun in his eyeballs. Everywhere it is till, hot and silent..the earth sweltering under the blaze of the great summer sun. It has been like this day after blistering day.. two months of unrelenting heat.
A sudden noise akin to clothes being hammered on the washing stone breaks the silence as a couple of pigeon doves pick a fight over the best seat on the window shade. Otherwise, the world feels as though in a standstill, a portrait of still life and whatever life remains seem to be watching and waiting; waiting endlessly for a sign from the heavens above. It will cone, it always has though not strictly by the calendar. Sometimes sooner, more often later but it always arrives as it suddenly does on this very afternoon.
The rain announces its arrival with a grand premiere, no less than the trumpeting elephants, prancing horsemen and liveried footmen that herald the arrival of a king. The shimmering sky gives way to the dark cauliflowers creeping over it as the first gusts of wind sweeps majestically across the earth below bending if not breaking anything that dares to stand in its path. Clouds of brown dust swirl up like mini tornadoes carrying the withered leaves and plastic bags to an unknown destination. And then as in any royal premiere there is the lull before the storm. A sudden stillness freezes the landscape into a patina of dull grey and brown. The moist smell of damp earth diffuses into the air, a waft of perfume that entices the most reclusive of beings.
A sudden tweet emanates from the upper echelons of the neem tree. First a single call, then one more and one more before it settles into a steady repetitive rhythm. The bulbul has awoken. Soon enough there is an answering call as an excited chirping begins from the bougainvillea below. Within minutes the hitherto still land has become a stage for an impromptu orchestra – twitters, chirping, fluting and tweeting take turns sometimes alone and then in tandem. Just as it reaches its crescendo, a smattering of applause breaks out from the back benches of the grey sky above. The first drops of rain descend on the earth below hesitantly and somewhat inhibited as though unsure whether their time has really come. The applause then catches on and converts to a roaring deluge as the orchestra players bow out behind the green curtains of the trees.
For two hours, a steady roar takes over the world, like a bass steadily strumming on occasionally descending into the low keys before returning to their normal state. By the time the rain tones down to a reassuring pitter patter, night has fallen and natural blackness paints itself smoothly and silkily over the greyness above. Life on thie land eagerly looks forward to the morning after, now with a sense of hope and expectation. The anticipation of a better day that is cooler, calmer, livelier and more caring to life as we know it.