'The imbroglio of inky clouds swirling overhead contained nimbostratus, cumulonimbus, and Lord knows what else, all driven by updraughts, downdraughts, and vertical wind shear. Thunder boomed. Lightning went zapping into the sea, the leader stroke of one strike passing the ascending return stroke of the last so that the whole roaring edifice seemed supported on pillars of fire. Then, beyond the cumuliform anvils and soaring castellanus turrets, we saw a broad, ragged ban of luminous indigo heading slowly inshore. Lesser clouds suspended beneath it like flapping curtains reached right down to the sea.
"The rains!" everyone sang.
The wind struck us with a force that made our line bend and waver. Everyone shrieked and grabbed at each other. The woman on my right had a plump round face and dark eyes. Her streaming pink sari left her smooth brown tummy bare. We held hands much more tightly than was necessary and, for a fleeting moment, I understood why Indians traditionally regard the monsoon as a period of torrid sexuality.
The deluge began.'
Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater, in Travellers Tales: India.
As I wandered around the supermarket yesterday, drinking my Fairtrade Organic flat white, putting my free-range organic chicken in my trolley and nibbling on my pain au chocolat, I considered the shallow nature of my middle class existence in light of the current horrific flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. As I indulge my refined tastes there are mothers holding their children above flood waters to avoid drowning and snake bites, farmers despairing at the loss of their life's work knowing the coming suffering of their families and elderly people who were unable to survive their struggle against the monsoon waters.
Our media has not yet placed much importance on this story, until they get some gruesome pictures that will push it up the rankings for a day or two. Unicef considers it the worst flooding in living memory. Development agencies such as World Vision will be taking donations to supply relief aid.
I'll continue to think of the mothers doing all they can for their children in the deluge.