Anandpur Waits for Rain

Each day I wake up to a sky fiery red and ominously orange, winds bending down the lush green trees and tickling the thick lawns in township of Raas. It is a beautifully pregnant sky expecting rains any moment now. Ever since my folks moved here 10 months ago, this is my first monsoon. I think of the blissful other side of Rajasthan where i grew up, which almost floods every year. I take in the refreshing morning with deep fresh swigs of air, and there it is.. the elevating pitter patter of a drizzle which wets the Earth just enough for an intoxicating fragrance; but my joy is short lived. I know what the winds mean just 17km away, from the village of Laambiya, where the desert officially starts.

Its a 35 km drive to Anandpur. The landscape rapidly changes from rocky hills to sandy hills to golden brown sands on both sides of highway. As June boils into July, visibility each day is lower and it is difficult to drive with the dust storms. The winds from the south west mercilessly and boldly pass through us and stopping them would quite literally mean moving the mountains. Just a wee bit transverse would suffice. The Earth is angry and responds with howling lashing winds that seem determined to carry the desert eastward. A lone shepherd in the distance with his heavy bright turban and muddy white dhoti must be envious of the winds which will only bless Delhi, I think. There is sand and more sand, the largely lazy monotonous drawl of nature is occasionally punctuated by an Acacia or Khejri or Neem or a patch of prickly grass. In contrast, women with their vibrant poshaak and ghaaghras fill colours in the golden yellow sands. These women carry two pots of water on their heads, veil drawn till chin and a child on their waist. Chatting away merrily. I wonder what equality, emancipation or liberty means to them.

I reach Anandpur and eagerly look for thick Neem, Peepal and Banyan trees to park under. The fields are ploughed, the seeds are bought. Of 2800 agri loans, interest on 1462 is serviced and the farmers have nothing to worry till December.

And now we wait. We beg the mighty Banyan, we beg the abstract Indra. We wait for the first rain to kiss the parched lips of Anandpur’s soil. As June dies, the village is done with most of its other affairs and prepares to move to fields by first week of July, waiting for nature to signal them to sow.

We wait.

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