Ravana’s Demons on the Roof

The evening storm will arrive, like clockwork, turning off the light of the sun right on time.  The clouds have been building all afternoon, the air more and more oppressive until just to breathe brings a fresh layer of condensation to the skin.  Under the fan, still, not thinking about the discomfort, not daring to anticipate the actual time of release, and then, wham!

The great clash of a timpani, hollow, vibrates through the air, through our bodies, like a whisper down the spine.   An instant’s silence, a quick inhalation of surprise.  A terrific gust of cold, blessed, cold air,  before the lone drum becomes the demented drumming of Ravana’s entire army on the roof .  I can’t see the lightning, it must be overhead.  The sound of the Niagara falling over my head  is almost obliterated by the crashing cascades erupting from the gutters, overflowing in long rills in its haste to continue flying earthward.  The thunder now a bronchial tama tama, tama tama, then another Versuvian eruption.  The rain so dense I can’t see through its veil to the coconut tree at the end of the lawn.  Lakes forming in the courtyards, the air full of rain, swirling indoors.  Tama tama, tama tama, tama tama, crash, cannon fire, incessant Zeusian cacophony.

It’s begun to unsettle the usually phlegmatic Miss, stalking on stiff legs in an aimless circle back to her place over my feet.  Maggie has her tail between her legs, her ears plastered to the sides of her face.  Podi slinks away – to the dark safety of the linen cupboard, if she can prise the door open, otherwise under my bed – it’s the lowest, most den like.

It’s moving away.   No.  False alarm.  The thunder is rolling back towards us  from the other side of the house.  Lighter now, more tenor in its timbre, it’s easier to hear now above the renewed assault on the roof.

The air is full of water.  A halo around the light under the courtyard eaves.

As it moves away at last, darkness becomes late afternoon again, the cold air travels off with the storm.   Podi emerges from the bedroom, tail at half mast, stalking to one of her thrones, feigning nonchalance, belied by a frenzy of cleaning, cleaning.  The Girls venture onto the balcony to smell the smells brought down from the clouds.

The sky becomes a study in greens, greys, purples, charcoal laced with yellows toward the west, like old bruising.  So still.  Quiet.  Already the temperature has risen a degree.  The lake in the bamboo courtyard still a good three inches deep, almost lapping at the living room doors.

The bird’s are back, calling, checking with each other, from tree to tree.  The occasional flash of lightning, a muttering rumble follows, other roofs still dripping, though mine now dry – gutters cleared this morning.

20 thoughts on “Ravana’s Demons on the Roof

  1. This glorious prose poem could be subtitled The Awesome Power of Nature Part Two. We once went to a wedding in the noisiest, wettest monsoon. The Church roof was of corrugated iron, and we heard not a jot of the service. When we came out, with the whole island to cross to get to the reception, road was two feet deep in a fast-flowing river, despite the deep concrete run-off ditches either side. We made it, at a crawl, in our 15 year old rust-bucket car, and hardly got our feet wet.

    • Many thanks FB – it was a stream of consciousness thing – I was sitting there, trying to learn how to do something, trying to concentrate but failing, and wham: At first I was stunned, then my fingers just started tapping – some of it was a little hard to decipher but that’s pretty well what I experienced the evening before last. Glad you liked it.

    • That’s fantastic Angeline, thanks for coming along. Last night’s storm was delayed – I don’t know why – but it was wilder, and really overhead – one rattling clap was sound and light combined , Podi cried out in alrm, and the power went off. Luckily i was able to reset the trip switch an hour or so later, after the main storm cell had moved off! Such excitement:).

  2. Wow! Beautiful prose. I could feel the glory of that storm like I was there!
    We are just a hop, skip and jump away from you and yet our weather patterns are so different! Could do with a bit of drenching in this furnace of a city

    • It fantastic that I could put you in the storm, Madhu, cause you would know if I’d got it wrong:) This is a blessed island, you know – with most parts getting some benefit from both monsoons (not that it has arrived quite yet, but in this build up time we’re in Camelot, where it never rains till after sundown, or there about). Having said that, the dry zone on the eastern side, particularly the north east, only gets the NE monsoon. You’re over Mombai way, or more inland?

      • Closer, just across the strait in Chennai! And we get the NE monsoons as well! The west coast where I was born gets the SW monsoons and that is non stop rain for days although not as violent winds and drama as the NE.

        • Oh, goodness, you are close! When I first began living here, years ago, I used to go to Chennai often for what I called Visa expulsions. I guess it”s changed a lot since those days – I remember a lot of talk about an influx of “immigrants” from the north:)

  3. “…the demented drumming of Ravana’s entire army on the roof.”

    Love that. Look forward to reading more about your adventures, and thanks for the visit to mine.

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