Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A tennis match: France and India - Roubaix and Kanpur

When I lived in Dehradun earlier, and it rained cats and dogs, I often joked that what would happen if we say "Hey Bhagwaan, roko ise! (Oh god stop it!)". Perhaps, god would give us a message, "Kya karoon yaar control hi nahi hotaa! (What can I do my friend, I can't control it!)"

Kanpur, a city in which I have been living for the past three years, is troubled by extremities. Heat, cold and rain.

Make some dough with wheat atta (farine de blé) and put some yeast into it. Keep it for sometime .... Put it in the oven ... what do you get? Bread ... In Kanpur, you would probably save the cost of the oven in the summers. You would perhaps bake the loaf of bread even by putting it in sunlight.

Winters are equally horrible. When the Uparwallah (Le Dieu) decides to deep freeze us, answering nature's call is a terror and a task to be apprehensive of.

Come rains, and you have your rooms full of a hundred ... rather a thousand ... varieties of insects. Insects of all shapes, colors and sizes, which you might only have probably seen in your worst dreams, appear. We have fluorescent tubelights in our rooms and these attract the insects... large ones ... Ok, I decide to switch off the tubelight. After five minutes, there are creatures moving on you computer screen, and you think something is wrong with your eyes! You decide to turn off the screen as well. There are small insects biting you while you make honest attempts to sleep.

This year, rains have played a hide and seek with Kanpur. It rained once in May, and then it did not. For the past few days, it has been only humidity and no precipitation. The only things melting are seen to be human beings, who, out in the sun, sweat out more water than they drink.
It was just day before yesterday, when I was talking with a french friend of mine who lives in a city called Roubaix, and complaining about how the rains had cheated Kanpur, while it had been raining in nearby areas. She offered to send the clouds to Kanpur! I joked "Tu a fait le magic! La pluie est arrivée! (You have done the magic ... the rains have arrived)" The joke turned fortunately true after two hours. Kanpurites were happier! Today, she said that the clouds and the rain had moved away from Roubaix.

"On peut jouer au tennis avec les nuages. Tu es prête? (We can play tennis with the clouds. Are you ready?)", I asked her. "On peut utiliser les nuages comme les balles de tennis (We could use the clouds as tennis balls)!" The match has started ... let us wait for the results.

Hope, we could make rains happen and spread happiness to people.

Note: For a more poetic version (French) visit De Roubaix à Kanpur ... histoire des nuages written by the friend who lives at Roubaix.