I had the wonderful chance to spend real time in Bengal from 1967 thru 1969. Known as East Pakistan at the time, this part of the world is now known as Bangladesh. I spent most of my time in the city of Dhaka (spelled at that time, Dacca). In this part of the world there is a cooler dry season and a warm wet season, the Monsoon. Bengal is fronted by the Bay of Bengal, and at the back are the Himalayas. The wet air is pushed inland hard up against the cold mountains, forced to rise and falls back over the land as over two hundred inches of rain basically in six months. That’s just over an inch a day. That’s wet. Remember that not every monsoon season day was a rainy day. It often rained several inches in one day.
Remember in Forrest Gump when he talked of and they showed the rain in Vietnam? It would happen just like that. There were strange things that happened too. There is so much energy in that kind of weather. There could be hurricanes. There could be tornados. In high winds the corrugated tin roofs held on huts by bricks and such would take off flying. That was not good, not good at all.
I once tried to return to work after lunch and stepped out into a chartreuse colored sky. There was so much electricity that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I turned right around and went back inside. A tornado touched down shortly after in another part of town. That storm that day broke our papaya tree in half. It was a young tree, only 4” diameter.
I am writing about another common vision. You could be in bright sunshine with blue sky overhead watching a storm cloud complete with lightning and downpour only two blocks away fly by. I just loved that weather, the best thing about living there.
Over 40% of that land is under water every year. Without the monsoon it is the most crowded country on the planet, and every year Bangladesh loses 40% of its land to monsoons. In my poem, I say I will drink. However, in Bangladesh, all that water is better left on the ground. It is contaminated by overcrowded human presence for thousands of years. It might be right to observe that the yearly monsoon bath the country takes is the cleansing that allows humans to continue living there without being sickened by their own waste building up on top of itself. It all washes into the bay.
It's Monsoon Season
The darkness and storm
is headed down the side street,
couple blocks away
from me and I'm parched.
It's monsoon season. You might
not understand how
that relates but when
this is all over I will have more
than enough to drink.
April 9, 2009 12:47 PM