Sunday, May 03, 2009

The pied crested cuckoo

I saw the fan-shaped cloud around half past 2 yesterday. A shadow of hope, up there in the vault of a blazing sky. So I asked the ‘gunman’ (because he was nearest, see?), ‘Looks like there’s a chance of rain, eh?”

To which his considered answer (after first clutching his gun tighter, in case the cloud was a security threat) was ‘That’s a cloud’.

Quite. Very helpful, with the temperature up in the mid-40s (that’s Celsius, Mr. Y Doodle) and the furnace breeze lifting lazy clouds of dust from the roadside. I was out from 7 in the morning to beat the heat. Fat chance. The sun was a hammer well before 9 o’clock, regardless of shades and hat and wet towel and regular sipping of water,. By the time I got back at 4 in the afternoon the back of my neck was throbbing and my skin felt like it had been toasted.

But that was yesterday. When I woke at a quarter to 6 this morning, the room was unusually dark. I ran (well, almost. Cut me some slack here) outside. Oh blessed day! Clouds from one side of the horizon to the other, shades of grey, birds quieter in the trees, that little hush that comes before it pelts down, and faint upon the air the smell of wet earth.

And the added pleasure of being proven right on my prediction yesterday, of knowing Things About Weather even though I'm a city slicker.

But only a faint drizzle so far, the kind that barely darkens the earth and leaves an inverted shadow of the trees upon the ground below where the diffident raindrops cannot reach. Bring it on, Rain Dude! Don’t give us a teaser and a no-show! Come ON!

Update: 24 hours later, it STILL hasn't rained. Haven't these guys heard of Truth in Advertising?

* The pied crested cuckoo is known in North India as the 'chaatak', which, according to Indian myth, sits with its mouth open waiting for rain to alke its thirst. Silly twit, but then, it IS a cuckoo. Me, I've discovered Red Bull with watermelon juice. And a spot of Old Monk.


mystic rose said...

Who?? I have no idea who Krishna bhai is.

And the poem is here :

To tell you the truth, its Kingsley's rendering of it that awed me.

km said...

temperature up in the mid-40sGershwin had NO idea when he wrote "Summertime".

Lazyani said...

Yes sir, the lack of rain after all that preparation and waiting was a big let down.

But as I stood on the roof top looking at the horizon and enjoyed the show of strength between the dark clouds and the stiff breeze, my kalboishaki laden childhood came back-- albeit for a short time:)

Unknown said...

But it was a wonderful kaalboishakhi and there was some rain in the afternoon.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

M Rose, Krishna Bhanji is better known as Ben Kingsley

Krishna (no no, THAT was not you), Gershwin knew Noel Coward, so he WOULD have known about summertime.

Ani, E Lungs, I'm not in Cal (and won't be for a while), so do not torment me with talk of kaalboishakhis . Here, it's still dry. And hot.


S said...

i think i'll try that watermelon juice-old monk-red bull concoction. and offer some to anyone who promises some rain in bangalore.

mystic rose said...


mystic rose said...

Never mind. I read up on that. No wonder he looks so Indian.

Anonymous said...

The summer heat is palpable in your writing!

TalkingHead said...

Last time I stopped by your blog (just a few days ago) I was turned away, I was told I needed to be invited. SHould you revert back to that mode (or if you still are in that mode and I have been allowed because the sun is shining down on me today) may I request an invitation that will hold for later? Because me like your blog. Muchos.

Australopithecus said...

Faaltu gyan: The pied crested cuckoo has often been accused of flying all the way from Africa riding the pre- monsoon wings.Though a large number apparently prefer to stay back in the subcontinent. So if one has been seeing many of these here critters, i'm told the rains will not be that far away
At least that is the case for most of the south.