The super rains and the elephant

September 1, 2016

This morning a Tamil boy told everyone in the village, he saw elephants by the riverbank. His mother told him to shut up. So did his father. I bent down and asked the boy calmly to take me where he had seen the elephants. It was by the riverbank at the edge of my lands.

There were elephant tracks and droppings….the boy was not fibbing.

Elephants have not been seen in these parts for nearly twenty over years. They must have journeyed across the mountains ridges to the East….but why have they undertaken the treacherous journey to come all the way here….they must sense something amiss.

Today we had eight inches of rain in less than a hour. At one point the winds picked up to at least 50 knots. She blew dead straight from the east…not even a single degree deviation North or South. As if she was telling me, ‘there’s plenty more where that came from.’ Like a cleaver. Right down the middle…bang!

I know this rain. I’ve seen her before.

There’s no winning with that crazy woman. Either way it’s lose lose when she starts throwing plates. Even if you have everything superglued and tied down it’s no bloody use. The question is whether you have the stomach to lose big or small that’s as good as it gets and the best one can ever hope for is once she had her fill, she will spit you out to the side like pea, that’s if you’re very lucky…the super rains have finally arrived.

I have been preparing two years for this…it’s finally show time!

Days before the skies of the desert turn ochre red. Window frames warp, doors creak, floorboards begin to curl at their edges, nails begin to loosen and catch against flesh, wooden spoons split, lips crack and when it seems as if one is content to only breathing in flaming needles. That’s just around the time, when the indigo people of the desert would stand in one long line and look northwards – they don’t say anything. They don’t move very much. Like birds gathered on a line in a frosty September morn. They just look on knowingly into the yonder….then slowly the winds begin to pick up and the skies begins to darken a tobacco brown…..the harmattan.

For days thereafter the winds howl incessantly like a widow mourning her secret loss. City folk scurry beneath the eaves of protesting flapping wind swept corrugated awnings covering their faces. From time to time they pause, look up searchingly to make up whether the sun is still there or might it too be swallowed whole by it’s violent approach from the North. A wind once considered so evil that a mad Sultan declared Jihad against it and marched out into the swirling desert to meet it with war elephants and a column of pike men in full armor only to perish. The red wind the sailors in Coite de Noire know as the sea of blood. The ever wandering Beduins call the kinsam, 50. As it last 50 days which they all greet with two rents from their antique Lee Enfield rifles with the salutations, ‘Allah wakbar’ – as it billows it’s last dying whispering hush across the sea of Guinea. Soon a few gusts of air and a thin rain presages the final approach of the…..the harmattan. Now mystery is furiously at work in the preamble of the twilight, the sands swirling and fingering into every nook and cranny, appearing as if by magic to cling to the secreted, spoiling well oiled machinery, mucking clothes and rendering everything a bitter after taste. Everywhere and everything is touched by the ochre red of infinitesimal of omnipresence. All the while, the constant rattle of window panes, the sobbing of rooms, the tears of rawed eyes having borne witness to prophecies…the harmattan…yes…I remember her….the red wind….the wind of winds.

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