Friday, 15 June 2007

Weather report

This is not just a weather report - this is NEWS!

I was woken in the middle of the night (well, 4 am which here is morning but for me is the middle of the night), by a sound which I could not quite identify at first. Then I realised it was the sound of - RAIN!! How exciting. You have to have lived out of Scotland and in a place like Chennai for a while to appreciate the excitement of this. Since I arrived in Chennai at the beginning of January I have seen it rain only three times. Yes, 3. Added to which, we apparently get the retreating monsoon here which arrives late in the year, unlike most other parts of India and Nepal where I am more familiar with the monsoon patterns.

Anyway, in the middle of the night, as I was slowly getting used to the idea of rain, I was treated to a full performance from the elements. Crashing thunder, simultaneous lightning which lit up the bedroom long enough to have a surreal photographic impression in my mind, and the torrential rain. The electricity cut and the fan slowed and stopped which is usually a nightmare in the heat and humidity. However, the silence brought an intensity and immediacy to the storm. I listened as it approached a crescendo and then slowly faded. The lightning became less vivid and dazzling, and the thunder slowed in its response as the storm either disappeared or moved on to another part of the city. Before long the electricity and fan resumed as if it had all been a strange dream.

When it was time to start the day the roads were still soaking, the puddles full of leaves and blossom and the talk on everyone's lips was of the night storm. Later, in the middle of the afternoon, another murmur of excitement began and smiling faces announced that it was raining again. This warranted a look outside and a number of us gathered to watch the rain and breathe in the cooler air for a quick refreshing break before we resumed our tasks.

The rain cannot begin to compare with the constant reliability of Scottish rain, and the storm is tame in comparison with the incredible electric storms which were part of life in Nepal. But this night time storm brought real vibrancy and life to the new day. Now I wait in anticipation for the REAL rains to start later in the year.

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