Telegraph Calcutta

And the Rain as Well my Drink


In this rain. In all of this rain. In all of it that makes a cup of everything there is, and caps it and brims over and over like it couldn’t be bothered who’d do all the mopping after. In this rain that is determined on its trajectory and target – fall and spare nothing your embrace. Single-mindedly just come to fall upon whatever it is that is there to fall upon. In this arrowshot rain fired down from the skies. Each salvo aimed at a spot, each salvo headed precisely where intended by those bellicose archers up there that arrive astride those loud warrior clouds.

Rumbling across, rolling over all that falls in their path, like armoured divisions that would brook no obstacle, stop at nothing, expend every bit of their armoury, to the last pellet and bolt. In such rain, that only ever knows it must fall and fulsomely fall. It rains upon the rooftops where there are rooftops. And then it can rain like rooftops falling, a continual belligerence, rooftop upon rooftop upon rooftop upon rooftop, like there would be no end to the falling. In such rain. In rain that conceals and then reveals, its ravages or its riches, or what it has rendered drenched as proof of its passing.

But it reveals Mahadeb not just yet. If it’s at all falling upon him somewhere – and if indeed he is somewhere, lost to us, but somewhere, aware of his own presence, cognizant he is Mahadeb, inhabiting his own flesh and blood and bones, his own consciousness and his destinied part – it has him concealed yet in its darkened curtains. It isn’t time, or so we must assume and carry on living in hope he will someday be revealed and will return and make this patch of the street what he made it when he sat atop his cart and stove and served out sustenance in earthen bhaanrs that spoke to the senses of milky tea and petrichor. In such rain it is that people run away and people return.

In such rain is embedded relief. Or it can also be, if what such rain has concealed it eventually reveals. It has been said of rain, or of falling water, that it cleanses the body and the soul and the future. It comes to fall and it sweeps away malevolence that hangs about us, at least for a bit it does, and it is the only one that is able to do it in the fashion it does. It falls, a cascade, and it consumes – dust, fume, smoke, pollen, diesel, carbon, dead and living pestilence, all of it, what do they call it with alarm on the weather shows 24/7? SPM or whatever it is that it is. Okay, let us Google it, let’s not be lazy, let’s consult the Gospel of our times. Suspended Particulate Matter, that is what it is: SPM. Or, so Google says. But it needs no Google to say it comes down. It came down much before Google came. And it does what it does.

It bathes cats and dogs. And mice and gutter rats. Roofs and terraces. Marquees of plastic and marquees of tarpaulin and wimpy canvas. Eaves and awnings. The throats of surviving gargoyles. And the askance throats of lilies. Lanes and streets and high-streets. The tops of cars and often their mud-sloshed sides. Trees and branches and leaves. And fruits and flowers, the fallen even. And all of man’s goods vended under open skies – the apparatus of dubious remedy and dolls with wet frocks of lace, bolts of unsold gabardine and burqas that would have to be put out to dry. Baubles for boys and baubles for elder men for they, too, are only good for baubles now, no more. Towns and cities. Populations and desolations. Vast flanks of mountains and their narrow crevices. Escarpments of rock and runnels of gurgling earth. Rivers and valleys. And plateaus and mud plains. Ants. Centipedes. Millipedes. Birds. Bird eggs. Bird nests. Lairs and foxholes. Lovers and the lonesome, departees and arrivees. In this rain there lies a cleansing.

And yet it lies not. It wets and passes, and it is towelled and dried and nothing gets cleansed. Not our prejudices. Not our bigotry. Not our recourse to violence with fist and dagger and sword. Not our poisoned tongues, nor the put-rescence of the minds that wag them. Not our will for vengeance, none of our anger. None of it, none of all or any of what entitles us to be called humans.

So come down and do not stop

Come down upon us

We’ll complain and make some fuss

But come down, and give us another drop.


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