There is more to life than just yourself, your own family, or your own kind – Lawrence Anthony
My date with monsoon was as unexpected as the date of its arrival. I think, if it were not for our reliance on monsoon, it shouldn’t be predicted at all. So this year I stayed away from the news flashing its arrival, although I sneaked some information from discussions with, literally, everyone I met. And just as unpredicted was the place where we’d meet – on a Friday evening on the way home from work. If anyone saw me smiling they had no idea if it was for the last day of the week, or for getting my shoes wet in the first monsoon showers of the year.
After all the days spent waiting desperately for the rains to arrive, the monsoon sure does surprise everyone with its pre-monsoonal heavy downpour. People forget the scorching heat of the summer, and get a new reason to complain about wet clothes and muddy roads. Although greeting monsoon in the city was unexpectedly pleasant for me, I would not call it a rendezvous until I had met monsoon in the woods, where monsoon’s persona really comes to life, where monsoon sways with the trees, blossoms with the flowers, sings with the wind, and dances with all life capable of flight. Monsoon always begins with thundering and lightening as a prelude to a four-month long song of heavens. And we monsoon-seekers hop around woods seeking out the large and small dancers of the tunes. And as leaves remain soaked for more-or-less throughout the four months, many emerge and die, and procreate and sow seeds for the next generation to continue the grand performance.
Yet as much as I romanticize a date with monsoon, I must tell you that it is riddled with swarming mosquitoes, horseflies, ticks, and leeches – and the deeper you go into the woods, the further it feels ethereal, and unbearable. But to feel the essence of monsoon, one has to brave it.
|The semi-deciduous forests in the backdrop of cumulus|
Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
|Many-keeled Skink, Mabuya carinata, hunting for winged termites|
|Ant drones ready to swarm the air|
|Assassin bug nymph in its best dinner suit - the carcass of ants|
|Spot-swordtail butterflies doing the courtship dance|
|A mating pair of Tiger Beetles, Cicindela fabricii (or is it spelled C. fabriciana?)|
|A mating pair of Forest Calotes, Calotes rouxii|
|A mother field crab carrying crablings (young crabs) in her abdomen or brood pouch|
|Chlorophytum tuberosum growing along the rocky parts of the hill under the shade of tender leaves|
|Branches of Karvy, Strobilanthes callosus, used to build walls of huts|
|Carpet of Chlorophytum tuberosum|
I wish you all a merry monsoon and a wonderful season ahead!