Life in Assam

Of Wetness and Rain

What I first remember of Assam is like a far-off, sleepy dream out of someone else’s life…
Nearly five years ago when I got down at the Dibrugarh airport, the first thing that struck me on stepping out of the sealed airplane was, ‘how humid is it?’ for the air was thick with moisture; it made it hard for me to breath but also made me want to curl up and go to sleep; in my three years there I was constantly sleepy! The airport consisted of a small, almost worn-down, thatched building that did not make me recoil in horror (as many others have reported to feel after a flight from Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport), but I stared at it in amusement for much longer than was necessary. Inside, there was a small hall with conveyor belts and a make-shift arrangement of chairs and counters to act as a laughable but quite functional airport. A small crowd was milling around beyond the building which opened into a yard which broadened into the parking area.
All I remember of the bus ride from there to Sivasagar is that I slept most of the way, drowsy and drained both emotionally and physically and that the weather was so uncomfortable that I was practically gasping for air. At one point I woke up and our bus had stopped at some station. I could hardly remember where I was or why but through the confusion a rather sweet music seeped through to my ears. I cannot say whether I liked or hated the melody but I did feel at peace with it and I returned to my sleep.
Of my three years in Nazira, Assam some moments were exceptionally sweet others unbearably bitter but whenever I look back, I can only recall fondly the good things: the green foliage there was no escaping from, the constant rain, the fear of snakes, the abnormally large insects, the lizards clicking and so on. You get the picture.
The first year our house was located next to a pond. Electricity was a problem, so was heat in the ill-ventilated house that I spent most of my time cursing. Life was only punctuated by visits to the nearby department store, long drives into the unknown after dark and playing badminton with a friend who lived nearby. But when it rained (which was often), I forgot to complain because it became worth it. Wind blew through the house from end to end and you could actually see the rain approaching from a distance over the pond. I could’ve stood for hours, just watching it. Now I miss that smell of wet earth, that exotic exhilaration I felt whenever the weather turned wet and everything mysterious and romantic became attainable.
In terms of the wind which I grew to love, the next two years were painful though life improved in other ways once we shifted to a new house and my friendships grew firmer; new ones sprang to life. It still rained a lot but the pond I’d grown so fond of was gone. Well, life is transient, as has been proved to me over and over until I accepted it.
Watch this space for more reminiscing of Nazira.


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