Sweat. Wet. Now, He is here.


You will understand this better if you have lived in Mumbai long enough. Or have lived there for long in the past, like I have. In essence, Mumbai has two seasons. One long sweat and a short, at times, thorough wet. And His arrival in every nook and corner marks the beginning of a fresh cycle.

Merciless months under the unrelenting sun.
Life, under sticky collars, inside ovens on rails,
pants, pauses, looks up in a silent cry:

Inside Mumbai local train
Nita Jatar Kulkarni

Hope rides a stray exhilarating breeze.
Dark conglomeration in the sky
portends deliverance.

Suddenly a night wakens to a wet road
and the refreshing smell of just-satiated earth.

In the distance, a rumble betrays merriment
at all the umbrellas that stayed at home.

Surprise, rain!
Faces squeal in protest
only to subside into beaming contentment,
covertly sucking up a drop passing by the lip.

Umbrella seen through glass spotted with water drops

Leather shoes follow
the best trousers into hibernation.
Routine is now a slushy trudge
in tucked-up pants
balancing a somersault-prone umbrella
with the lunch box.

Wet rails, wet roads, wet moods.

Unable to take it any longer,
the roads throw up in gutterfuls.

Schoolboy struggling in flooded street

Pools slosh where wheels once ran.
Dainty shins glow softly beneath murky wavelets
that tickle modest knees and brazen hips.

A tear is lost as was the hut
in the monotonous brown sheet.
Nights shall now toss and turn,
dank and dreamless.

God in color and clay
settle in lanes and mansions.

Revered for days,
then a fond farewell
in the shifting depths
to fervent pleas
to return soon next year.

Man waving bye to Ganpati during immersion
Only Mumbai

Then Mumbai returns
to a long sweat.
Until the next wet.


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