Where I live, July means monsoons. It’s the second-best part of the year, the first being airy June.
And this time of year, we’re always looking out for impromptu showers or disappointing thunder clouds. So we knew what to expect when we planned our trip to Thekkady. Plus, we had heard Kerala had had her monsoons earlier than the rest of India, and we were ready.
I left my not-so-new converse at home and wobbled on a pair of bathroom slippers that was too big for me, my brother rolled up his cargo pants, my father bought an extra umbrella, and my mother packed in more tissues than we would need to wipe a cereal-eating toddler.
We were all set.
When we started from home, the temperature was far from comforting. However, after we had driven for about three hours, the climate became more welcoming. The heat disappeared, dark clouds circled over coconut trees swaying along the highway, and once or twice we even heard a faint rumble.
We sped on and two more hours later, we slowed down into the town of Thekkady. It was past the typical lunch time, but we did find a restaurant.
When we ordered our food, the weather was perfect; it was cloudy with a cold breeze playing across the greenery on the sidewalk.
By the time our fish arrived, decked with slices of onions and tomatoes, a dash of cilantro, and a whiff of lemon juice, it had started to rain. Steady drops fell straight and heavy. And all of a sudden, the sky had darkened, the breeze was gone, and the streets calm.
But even as we ate, we glanced out through the glass windows only to see the rain receding. And about five minutes later, the sky had cleared, the clouds departed, and the sun made yet another brave attempt to shine. People pushed back the hoods of their jackets and some walked out from the small shops around.
When we left the restaurant, all that was left of the rain was the shiny gloss on the street.
And I understood the real meaning of monsoon in Kerala. It rains and it rains and it rains. And then, it stops—without a trace.
It rains when you want it, it rains when you don’t want it. And all you can do is sip spiced tea and enjoy the raindrops on roses.