One by one, we walked through the balcony door and instinctively gravitated towards the ornate banister. The last one out of the flat closed the door. The four of us assembled ourselves to allow for personal space. Once settled, I pressed the heels of my bare feet into the balmy white tiles and noticed the indescribable color of dusk in the city.
Power shortages in my neighborhood are rare, but they still happen. During this particular outage, it was actually cooler outside of our flat. At the moment, our home only offered still fans and powerless AC units.
A gust of chilled damp air, which preceded a grand clap of thunder, alerted us of the ensuing storm. There was only a three-hour spell of calm between the approaching shower and the previous down pour. We stopped bothering to complain about the rain. Instead we simply surrendered to the relief that the rains offered from the merciless Tamil Nadu heat.
Those who smoked did, and I was amused by the smoke that accompanied their words for a few intermittent sentences. Leaning against the door, I confirmed that it was shut thereby preventing insects from entering the flat. Satisfied with the barrier, I soaked in the landscape of the coastal Indian metropolis. The palm trees swayed across an indigo night sky and a stray cat leaped to a covered windowsill as the first few drops of rain fell.
The monsoon season in Chennai is a terrifyingly frustrating, soggy experience. This is especially true for those who are new to Chennai. However, when the first burst of sunrays engulf the city (after days of consecutive down pour); one begins to see it as a poetic opportunity for bonding and an essential part of life in Southern India.
That evening on the balcony, we were just sharing time, living out our own experiences, and spending this new one with each other. We made plans to travel and explore new parts of Asia together. We spoke of all the dry fun that we will have when the floods subside and planned rain-proof activities for the weekend.
There was only enough light to speak into each other’s silhouettes, but our respective accents revealed the identities of the speakers. The four of us are citizens of different continents; however we understood that Chennai was home at the moment.