Monday, 14 May 2012


Just the other day I was talking to my nephew in Delhi ans he said the dust storm blowing all around was threatening to leave inches of dust inside despite the closed windows. Took me back in time, this seems to be happening a bit often nowadays.

We lived in Chandigarh when I was a child until Dad was transferred to ( the then ) Bombay. An idyllic life, as most small town lives tend to be. Nothing much ever happens, as a child you go to school ,play, study, go for an outing to the lake or the market at the center of town, which is the MOST happening place, where nothing ever happens; and of course the occasional movie.

The innate charm of Chandigarh most decidedly is that it is a well planned city and nature is as visible as man made constructions. The homes have well kept gardens, and parks for children to play are abundant.

Weather changes have been occurring all over the world and it must be the same in the town of my childhood.
As a child I was unaware of these. There were the three main seasons summer winter and the rainy, it was never the monsoon then. One hot , the other freezing cold when electric heaters were the norm and the rains which were gave much needed respite from the summer heat.

Then there were the the storms. There were many towards the end of summer, most of these accompanied by gale force winds often but not always rain cooling the atmosphere with the suddenness of their arrival.

One afternoon Mom came on the porch and yelled "KALI AANDHI, GO INSIDE! " It was the middle of the afternoon. Mom suddenly remembered the mangoes, they would have been ruined in the rain, so we all made a dash towards the trees, while the help ran upstairs to collect the drying clothes. The wind was blowing stronger and we were collecting as many mangoes as was possible before the downpour. It was getting less bright and Mom pointed out the scene to us. At the far horizon it was DARK and it was coming closer, striding running almost sprinting to cover the entire town. When Mom had shouted the warning, I had instinctively understood the urgency in her voice but not what the content of the words, having never experienced a black storm.  And my word! Within minutes the wind-speed increased to frock raising, tree swaying levels, the latter almost bent from the effort of protecting themselves from the unnatural onslaught. The bright afternoon light changed to evening then twilight to pitch dark all in almost a blink of the eye. The darkness which was evident in the far horizon overtook all the houses. And then it started raining. Incessant impenetrable sheets pouring down in the night / afternoon. No thunder or lightening, just darkness and rain.Then as suddenly as it appeared it stopped. The garden and the porch waterlogged and the atmosphere cool.We were inside with candles lit in the face of the darkness, as the electricity had gone as usual, the rains and the winds had played havoc with the electrical system.

The darkness remained for about a quarter of an hour, and as suddenly as it had showed up, vanished into the blue. From light to dark and back to light in a spate of a few short minutes. Incredible!

1 comment:

somesh said...

well i think you childhood was indeed an eventful one!!! love the storm description...i wish noida had it atleast once a week in the monsoons!