It is always cloudy in Ranchi. Before global warming announced its entry in all glory, there used to be more or less just two seasons here – monsoon and winter. Spring was short lived and lasted only for a month, from mid-March to mid-April. And it went away unnoticed since that is a very busy time of the year. Kids would be preparing for their end-term exams and their parents would be busy keeping an eye on their work-play balance. Office goers would be working extra hours for the onset of a new financial year and small shop owners would be placing orders with their suppliers for the yearly monsoon supply- umbrellas, boots and raincoats. And hence, the fresh green leaves of spring would give way to bright canopies whistling in the faint winds of a short summer.
By this time, vacations would begin and everybody would be either entertaining guests or be away visiting some. The first drops of rain would hit the roads in June itself. Typically, they would come with a lot of wind, cooking up dust swirls and hailstorms, clouding the sky with menacing colours and then clearing it up with beautiful rainbows. That fresh smell of wet soil would seep into houses, lush green fences and suitcases propped up on high lofts. And it would remain cloudy henceforth till the next spring arrived.
Nowadays, the clouds scurry overhead in the mornings and late evenings only. The rest of the day is bathed in bright sunlight that makes the sky look blue like the ocean. You can count the specks on it. When a flock of tiny black birds start their journey back home, they paint little eyelashes on the otherwise perfectly clear countenance of the ether. But I still imagine what it would be like to go back in time to that Forks-like Ranchi where there used to be two seasons only. Where September meant the exercise of taking out sweaters from old trunks. Where after a chilly winter spent before the fireplace, couples would come out into the crisp autumn air, crunching dried leaves beneath their shoes. Where the tall eucalyptus trees existed in harmony with the firs and what I used to call the ‘Hanging Gardens’ of the MECON colony.
It’s no longer as cloudy in Ranchi as it was twelve years ago but there is still a mist that hangs around potted plants in the balcony and floats on dew-dripped petals, taking me to a place that will always exist in my mind.
Swasti has a habit of unwinding after a long day’s work by penning down pieces like this. She believes it is a perfect concoction of three things she loves – writing, nature and imagery.