July 3, 2009
A couple of years ago, my friend Kasha took me to Rambagh for lunch. It was her birthday, she was getting married soon, and leaving India for Mauritius. It was the month of March, and the airy verandah at Rambagh Palace was completely empty, but for us.
Suddenly, with no warning and not a hint of a cloud, the skies broke into a loud, thunderous, spectacular rain. We were transfixed. From the verandah, it looked like a liquid silver curtain separated us from the rest of the world. A dozen waiters were hovering around us and we drank our cocktails, feeling dizzy but not knowing from what: the sight, the vodka, the smell or the goodbyes.
I have been dreaming of a rainy lunch at Rambagh for the past month. It’s been so hot. There was nothing to do but work and hide, and no small mercy from the skies. It was unbearable, the kind of weather that plays with your nerves and roasts your mind.
Now the monsoon has arrived and from all across the city, you can hear a faint whisper of relief. The showers, spectacular, are watched in awe. The smell is intoxicating and the birds, singing again.
Sadly, it means that the mango season is almost over. But it also means we are going to go out again, swim in the rain, wander in the bazaar.
And go to Rambagh for lunch.