Saturday, May 3, 2008

A monsoon from many moons ago...

The rains always remind me of the monsoon season back home in Bombay. After months of sticky, relentless heat, the rains bring blessed relief to all.

One particular monsoon afternoon stands out vividly in my memory. It was when my father, sister and I took a walk along Marine Drive. Dark rain clouds hung low in the sky, their swollen bellies almost touching the grey waters of the Arabian Sea.

Just as we had bought a couple of corn-on-the-cobs and the street vendor started to roast them for us, the skies opened up and pelted us with needle-sharp rain. We hurried to a nearby pile of concrete frames left over from some long forgotten construction project and crouched near them while the sea hissed and foamed behind us, filling the air, covering our faces and coating our lips with salty spray.

My father, completely drenched by now, brought us the steaming corn when they were ready. We gobbled them up, the corn warm against our lips, our soaked clothes cold against our skin. It was the best corn I ever had.

To this day, whenever I smell the delicious fragrance of a corn-on-the-cob roasting on an open flame and it happens to be raining, I can taste the spicy-tangy flavour of the chilli-lemon paste smeared on the sweet corn from that monsoon many moons ago.