When I first moved to London, people would ask me what I miss about Calcutta. Mostly, I missed the Arsalan Mutton Biryani. Family was a distant second.
Then one day I heard someone in the street dragging along a large, thick plastic sheet. It made a crackling sound exactly like the hammering of rain on a tin roof, and in the split second between hearing the sound and identifying its source, I had thought, against all logic, that it had started to rain really hard. And suddenly, I missed the monsoon.
Londoners complain about rain all the time, but that is because they've never seen what I like to think of as real rain. The sky turning black at noon, the temperature dropping several degrees in minutes, the ominous stillness in the air before the fury of the storm, the clap of thunder, coconut trees buckling in the teeth of the gale, thoroughfares knee-deep in water. In our neighbourhood, many women still blow conch-shells when there is a really good thunderstorm.
Yesterday, by all accounts, there was a corker. My friend Takai took these photos at mid-afternoon. I like the geometric lines, the sombre tones and the graphic novel-style layout (for which, too, credit goes to Takai).