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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rain, and a new blog

The met. office has confirmed that the monsoon winds have hit the Kerala coast already, and right now, at 1610 hours, the sky overhead is dark with billow upon billow of the best sort of clouds, and it has been raining off and on since morning. I have no idea whether this is the real thing or a pre-monsoon shower or whatever, nor do I care – it is a treat to all the senses, and I am luxuriating. I love a rainy sky accompanied by lightning and deep rumbling thunder more than almost anything else, and I had almost started forgetting what it looked and sounded like, and now I can draw in lungfuls of the smell of warm, damp earth even as the squall drives the drizzle into my face and the freshly-bathed trees sway in the wind and the rain patters on a tin roof, and I am happy again after a long time. How truly has it been said that we often quite unnecessarily look for complicated philosophical explanations for feeling happy and sad, when the fact is that all we need is for nature to smile on us now and then. And how unfortunate are all those people around the world, however rich, who live in such artificial or constrained circumstances that they neither notice nor can thrill to the changing rhythms of the seasons!... in any case, after living through one of the most horrid summers in recent memory, I am looking forward to enjoying a long rainy season.

(2115 hours): A little news item titled ‘World’s oldest blogger dies at 97’ caught my eye in yesterday’s newspaper. I clicked here, and was charmed. Take a look at it yourself. It’s mostly written in Spanish, but there are snippets here and there in English, too, and in any case it was the idea that fascinated me: that a woman, thanks to a gift from her grandson, could find a very invigorating new way to live life richly at age 95, that her thinking aloud on life and living could draw so many visitors that she became an overnight celebrity meriting a personal visit from her country’s prime minister, that she was blogging away almost right up to her dying day… I am a keen blogger myself, and I envy her, and pray that her soul may rest in peace (or that she might be happily blogging away in some other dimension beyond space and time!). It would be a good thing indeed if I could bring the world into my room the same way in the years left to me. I wish that Indians had been keener readers and writers. If they had taken to the internet with the same alacrity that they have taken to the mobile phone, this blog would have been far better known, read and commented upon already. It is a pity that in such a gigantic country where so many people supposedly put a very high premium on ‘education’, so few people consider reading a great way to spend their time!


Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda,

Thank God it started raining. I hope weather becomes pleasant from now on.

Thank you for introducing the new blog. I am sure you must have seen this Hindu article on her - http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/02/stories/2007090257761800.htm

Interesting bit is, she did not want to wait for her death and watch television while doing that. She made so many friends even when she was so old. I admire her grandchild too.

You are right about the reading habit. Perhaps that is the reason why all our libraries became unattended. For some reason globally people read less these days.

Having said that, an empty library or an empty art gallery can't be found even in the 'adventure loving' kiwi land where there are just 4.3 m people and most people tend to prefer sports than anything else. Despite the preference there are regular read meets, writing clubs, history telling sessions and many more such things happening all the time.



Shilpi said...

Wonderful, wonderful. It is a blessed relief to know that the rains have come in, and it was lovely reading this blogpost of yours. "Happy after a long time" indeed....and I know what you mean. It's a very visceral read that first bit. I can smell the earth, feel the rains and hear the crackling and see the lightning even though I'm not really there....

I'll never get used to the difference that nature makes in my life on an everyday basis. In short - the clear change of the seasons and quiet, clean and green surroundings do something profoundly good for the insides. I have no idea how some people take the beauty of their surroundings for granted and how some just don't notice. I also know that there are some who would feel better than they do (at some very basic level) if they had something similar in terms of weather and their environs...and what's more, they would have been far more constructive and productive than I am as a human being!

The other section of the post is rather uplifting as well inspite of the rather depressing bit about the low rates of reading prevalent in India. There must be quite some Indians who are avid net users - but I don't really know what they do on the net nor am I sure that I would really like to know...because I can guess in part.

A couple of lines in the second part of your post are absolutely peachy...one of them being - "...that she might be happily blogging away in some other dimension beyond space and time"!...

Thank you as always for the post, and once again - I'm happy and relieved to hear that the rains have arrived...
Take care.

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

Please do enjoy the rain. I was in North Kerala when the monsoon hit the coast seven days ahead of schedule. The relief was the same and so was the smell of moist earth. I was at a friend's house in the lap of a hillock, there was so much greenery all around and so much warbling of birds by the day and chirping of crickets by the night ... it was easy to imagine that we were in a rain forest!

Many thanks for introducing me to Maria Amelia. She started blogging on her 96th birthday and in the 880 days that she was alive after that, there were 16,99,000 visits to her blog. We know that the Spanish speaking people read a lot, particularly in Latin America. But this number is mind boggling.

But that is beside the point, the main thing is how Maria lived her life. My deepest respects to this wonderful human being.

krishanu said...

I am afraid my Internet connection was down and out due to the approaching storm; hence, I read your newest entry a bit late. Although I do love the monsoons, and all the relief that it brings, probably the destruction wreaked by 'Aaila' will be recalled as being the focal point which ushered in the monsoons in Bengal this year.There can be no doubt that people in Durgapur did not face even the even a fraction of the misery and hardships faced by the affected in the 24 Paraganas and parts of the Sunderbans.And yet, as I am in Durgapur presently, I saw the roads and the markets almost empty of any signs of life. Such is the power of nature, perhaps: it's ability to inspire awe and respect whenever it wills.
It has been only one day after the storm passed as I am typing this; already theories of 'Administrative' failure and absence of any plan to cope with crises are doing the rounds. Some of these are, as usual, being spread by politicians, ever ready to take advantage of any situation which generates public sympathy.But, some of the allegations are true indeed: we do not have a system in place where we can evacuate tens of millions of people in the face of an approaching storm or any calamity, our administration is unable to organize and consolidate all the concerned departments during emergencies: the flaws are too visible.
The toll of people who have died in this rather unexpected calamity is sure to rise in the next few days. One can only hope (pointlessly?) that this incident instills some sense in the higher echelons of the Government.
By the way, The sunderbans, it appears are eroding fast, and it's destruction seems to have been accelerated further by the massive waves that 'Aaila' generated. The loss of the mangrove forests means, as we all know, the displacement of millions of people who have lived there for centuries; it might also make the Royal Bengal Tiger extinct.As concerned citizens, is there absolutely nothing that we can do, except reading about the worsening of the situation in the papers daily? I wonder what the readers of this blog have to say.
Krishanu Chatterjee

Soumallya Chattopadhyay said...

It is very nice to see the parched and thirsty Earth(along with the human beings)have at last been able to heave a sigh of relief because of the pre-monsoon rains.
At the same time,we have come to know that there has been a great deal of devastation in Sunderbans,Patharpratima,Gosaba,and the nearby areas.It is very much lamenting that while Mother Nature seems to be pleased with some regions,she has also expressed her anger over some poor and helpless people.The "AYLA" seems to have been the outcome of her anger.
However,we shall sit back on our chairs and cherish this monsoon,hoping that it brings happiness to all the people of our country.
Regarding your complaint about the reading habit,I would say that the fickle minded people,who claim to be "busy" all the time,and yet they do not get the time at least to scan the newspaper at home,will always be like the frog in the well.I have pity on them.
I have been following your blog for the last two years and these writings have been simply"Wonderful".
They are informative and interesting to read.I have noticed that commenting on your blog has been like an e-group discussion,where I am able to know the thoughts of other people.I sincerely Thank you and your fellow readers for your kind replies that you have given me wherever I have raised a question while commenting.
I hope that you will continue blogging for the rest of your life(like the old woman has done),and I assure you that you will find yourself amongst a large number of SENSITIVE,EDUCATED and GOOD friends in their true sense of term. HAPPY BLOGGING.
Yours sincerely,
Soumallya Chattopadhyay

Anonymous said...

We need rain in Chennai. Badly. This post makes me long for the October, November days (that being our monsoon season). Then I can sit on my porch, listen to the pitter patter of the rain, enjoy the freshly laundered look the house plants and trees around have and the smell of fresh damp earth! The only smell that can rival petrol's :-) You are right, my mom keeps saying the same thing. That it doesn't take much to be truly happy and at peace.
You are right about the fact that reading is not much prevalent in our country. Pity. As of now, I have buried myself at the British council library. The only place that seems to satisfy my love for Keats and I am learning to appreciate Tamil literature better from my father (it doesn't do to ignore one's roots).
This is a long comment. I could not help myself though. The post warrants it :-) My first time here :-)

Suvro Chatterjee said...

You are welcome to write much longer comments whenever you like, Vaishnavi. That was neither a really 'long' comment, nor unpleasant reading!

I took a peek at your blog, but I'd like to know you a little better before I make any comments. Do write an email; the i.d. is suvro.chatterjee@gmail.com. I like to know something about friends I make on the net. About me, you will get all you want to know in my profile here, and on orkut, and in the essay titled 'What sort of person am I?' on this blog itself.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh! From where I am I have to close my eyes to drift across a world away to Durgapur where at this time of the year one can savour the relief brought by the first monsoon rains. Has me salivating that this is also the onset of the mango season ! Mind you, it's raining here too (and God knows we need it) though accompanied by howling winds and freezing temperatures. My dogs are playing around me as I chop firewood for the night and as our heavy breathing condenses, it seems like we smoke. The change of seasons does hurry nature along and is a real treat to those who can get out and watch...Best wishes.