"This is what happiness was---he'd never known it before; this melting away, this exaltation, your guts spilling into your head, filling your eyes---your mind transformed into your body, your body instinct with the joy in your mind; this sensation of reality having met its end." Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace
It hasn't been any time lately that I felt this way, this happy, this exaltation, this utter joy. Life, I find, has other plans for you; such exaltation just a rare treat when you are good. Not that I have been the picture of goodness often. But happy I must say I am. If not over the top, cloud 9, yippeeee kind of happy, at least peaceful, I am breathing again kind of happy.
The latest one was going home. When a place looks as alive and beautiful as it does in the pictures above, you cannot but feel that pang of joy. We have a little stream in our fields below the house. Ma was telling me one night about how it had overflown in just under three hours, its tiny banks bursting, after a bout of lashing rains. I just knew then I had to revisit childhood again.
I have always wanted to be in Cherrapunji during the monsoon, even after it has been usurped from its wettest place on earth post. I like to believe it would be just as beautiful as Madikeri during the rains. Wet, very very cold, misty. It was through all this that we forced ourselves out of bed every morning for school. It was quite impossible to stay dry; I don't think I ever went to school dry, unless Appa was dropping me. The rains thunder down from the sides there; with strong rains, it was impossible that you could keep yourself and the books dry. The books invariably won that battle.
But I tell you, monsoon in Madikeri is as romantic an image of paradise as you can get. It gets cold, very much so. Forget rain dancing, a single drop is enough to start shivering there. What seems fantasy now was what I did almost every afternoon, curl up in bed with a book, a hot cup of coffee, a thick blanket, possibly a diary too, for those rushing thoughts. It has remained, the epitome of romanticism, the urge for every rainy day thereafter.
And there I was, soaking it in again. The cold. The rain. Getting wet. The gush of wind on my face. The wetness. Green the colour of live. Home. The joy and exaltation of being a pahadi, a girl of the hills.
The mountains. There was a peace and a brief peep into childhood, its simplicities, its dreams.
And it was raining in paradise.