Saturday, July 4, 2009

Marooned

Four days of steady rain and winds blowing at 65 km an hour. You look out the shuttered windows and all you see is sheets of rain and mist. In the garden the neem tree has fallen and the sankeshwar with its bright orange flowers is partially uprooted. Elsewhere coconut trees have fallen and casuarinas. Tiled roofs have broken. The electricity comes and goes, and then stays away a long time. The phone has a dial tone, but cannot connect with the outside world. On the advice of the phone guy, it lies like a baby wrapped warmly in a blanket to coax it back into life. The roof drips.

Everywhere is a great salty dampness. It seeps into all your possessions. A few books have mildew already. The wooden furniture is damp and mildewy. Wet clothes flap eternally in the veranda. The sugar in its plastic container is slowly becoming syrup. The glass shelf which holds it has a patina of moisture. You wait for the computer to conk.

You dare not step out of the house with something as ineffective as an umbrella. You try it a couple of times and find the umbrella turns itself inside out. You fear that like Mary Poppins you will simply fly away, holding onto the handle.

When the thunder of the rain beating down on your roof lessens, you can hear the thunder of the angry sea less than half a mile away.

Food supplies are low. You eat rice and dal and potatoes and homemade bread. And more potatoes and rice and bread. You dream of fresh fruit.

You dream of sunshine and golden beaches and blue seas.

You are stranded on a desert island in the monsoons.

5 comments:

Radhika said...

hope the lack of new post doesn't point to your comp dying on you as you'd feared!

Varuna said...

Not yet. Fingers crossed. But the electricity keeps going.

Sanju said...

Varuna, I keep going to this place called Kashid, which is nestled between Alibag and Murud. In Kashid, living without electricity is a way of life. The natives dont bother at all. When asked 'When will the light come?' the fellow replied 'Fakt aath taasat'. And yes, there was optimism and hope in his voice, something I shall never forget.

Varuna said...

Isn't it tragic that people in the modern world are forced to live like savages? Electricity is the most basic of needs. The problem in Alibag (where i lived briefly) is the blatant, brazen corruption of officials. Everything requires money to be paid under the table. Of course, the rich and famous who live in Alibag are partly to blame. They would rather pay up than stand up for a principle. Here in my village the light keeps going, but the linesmen are decent and hardworking. They have a complaint number and one guy just to write down complaints. I've seen this guy patiently answer call after call. I don't think anywhere else you can call the electricity dept and expect your complaint to be seen to promptly.The optimist you met in Kashid should be leading a morcha demanding electricity instead of passively accepting the situation.

Sanju Ayyar said...

Of course, yes. That fellow should be leading a morcha for sure. But I guess they have given up totally on the system. Reason why, on my last visit, I could see some of those chaps who rent out rooms, install Diesel Generators so that guests don't complain and they don't lose business.