Reader’s Corner

As the monsoons continue to lash over all of us, read on for a lighter look at the eternal struggle between the woman and the housewife and mother.

Monsoon Schizophrenia
I love the monsoon and as dark clouds gather overhead, I am moved by a strange delight. Something within me is as starved, as parched as the dusty, brown earth, and when the rain comes down in sheets, I too feel revived and rejuvenated. I can sit for hours on the verandah drinking in the sweeping mists of rain, the trees swaying drunkenly in a delirious dance of joy, the quick shifting clouds, now banking on the horizon, now scudding across the sky. I rejoice in their moods and colours from soft, smoky Grey, to the dark, full of promise thunder cloud Grey. The piercing, blinding darts of lightening and the clap of thunder hold no fears for me and I struggle to keep myself awake in the dead of night, so that I may enjoy the sound of rain and the drama up in the heavens. If it rains for days on end, it’s never too much for me.

Yet, skulking within the soul of my person is another, quite different entity – the traitorous housewife, who after the first cooling shower, eyes the cloud askance. She, hearing the rain in the quiet predawn darkness, instantly begins to worry about school and college, of umbrellas and raincoats. Where have they put them away – after two year of draught, it’s hard to recollect just where they are. Will Misha get drenched, and what, if she deliberately walks through all those muddy, cold giving puddles? What of the buses? Will they ply on time?

Other worrying scenarios drive the sound of the rain and the sleep from her mind. What of the “part-timers” – those domestics so essential to the mental and physical well being of the housewife. Will they turn up or will the cleaning, washing, sweeping be left to the lady-cum-servant of the house? It’s pouring cats and dogs now and serious doubts regarding the arrival of the milkman, bread man and the paper man make her sit up in bed.

Oh! This rain – will it never stop? Where, on earth, can one put out clothes? Arun and I both object to seeing lines of washing flapping on the balcony – but since we are not members of a nudist camp, clothes have to be washed, and furthermore dried in the rainy season. This can take a couple of days. The housewife dislikes the smell of damp clothing and towels that never dry. She is preparing to do fierce battle against the hordes of insects, mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches and sundry, other creepy crawlies and flying creatures. Her mind draws up plans to somehow keep muddy shoes outside the house and wonders in despair why Dost’s paws can’t somehow be encased in gumboots?

Mercifully, this period of mental agony, of two creatures struggling to gain ascendancy over my person, is brief. Come the cool sunny days of October and I shall be whole again. And yet, I often suffer a pang for the child that was, when monsoon was a season of pure, undiluted and unmitigated delight.
Juhi