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June 17, 2009

BangaLore #24: See you (mon)soon

by Sonalee Rau, Online Staff Writer
Dear Monsoon,

It's over? So soon?

I've been in India for a year, and I've thought about what to write in this blog for many months now. But how can one fit the salient features of a year-long experience into 300 words, when the lack of suitable clichés is the only cliché suited to a country like this? India is so much more than its culture, its color or a scene in a dubbed movie where Will Smith chatters in fluent Hindi. Yes, it is far from perfect and problem-free, a country where bureaucracy prevails and things take far too much time to happen - yet folks have an inexhaustible ability to adapt to changing times, welcoming external influences while holding dear their root values and beliefs.

Unbelievably, the year's flown by; it just took time for me to appreciate that I belong to this vibrant place. I was slow on the uptake. Likewise, it took you, monsoon, a bit longer than expected to get here. But the point is that you're here now.

The rains hit Silver Spring this year before you came to Bangalore, where you had been expected for a couple of weeks. It's a time of rejuvenation in India. Because of your return, the world is coated with the sheen of newly fallen precipitation, rain-slicked streets reflecting the eager faces of Indian children preparing themselves for a new school year.

And just as you get here, we're going. This week, this reporter will head back to good old Maryland for what will be the second summer of the year. But there's a saying which exists in almost every Indian language, usually used in the place of the word goodbye: "Go and come back." Here, it's a mark of hospitality and a way of expressing one's wish that outbound visitors will return in the future. And it has another, deeper meaning which I discovered for myself this year. It means that once you've been in India, you're an inextricable part of it. It means that even if you leave for awhile, you can't leave forever.

It's a pretty special city you're raining over right now. Have a great stay - and see you soon, monsoon.



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  • amy on June 18, 2009 at 10:20 AM
    awww i love you sonalee!
    glad ur back in md :)
  • NK on July 21, 2009 at 8:25 PM
    God, if I'd written a public letter to the Indian monsoon season, most of it would have been censored.
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