A wonderful afternoon in Kolkata

After a sumptuous lunch at home, I sat down in my living room right before my favourite view. Through the windows, I could see my small verandah, almost an awning of sorts. Beyond the awning, two tall plantain trees and another tree in the back yard were directly in my view. If I focused out enough, it felt like I could only see foliage.

As I was looking out, listening to some quiet music, the sky grew dark and a wind began to blow. The leaves of the plantain trees fluttered like elephant’s ears in the breeze. Imminent rain filled the air with its smell.

Within minutes, oceans came down in full fury.

I walked out to the verandah to smell that earthy fragrance of rain falling on thirsty leaves, to hear the sound of patter in the trees, to hear the splattering of water on hard ground, to feel the spray in my eyes. As I stood taking it all in, I suddenly remembered how, as a little boy, I used to stand in the same spot that I was standing on now and watch the rain for hours. I would rush home from school to catch the rain from the verandah. On the two holidays of the week, I would take a stool and sit in the verandah watching the rain fall from the sky, through the leaves, down to the ground.

The 1978 monsoon was especially powerful. The ground floor was completely flooded. The water level had come up 15 feet or more almost to the level of the first floor, which is where we were. I would sit in the small verandah with my friend from upstairs. We would make paper boats and throw them down to the water hoping they would land just right and sail away.

Somehow, I had just chosen the exact same spot where I used to sit, or stand, nearly 30 years ago.

A wonderful way to spend my afternoon.

Recovering from malaria can have joyful moments.

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