The Southwest monsoon is holding steady this week, having reached the Andaman Islands five days early; it is forecast to reach Kerala on May twenty-ninth, two days before its average arrival on the Southwest coast. We are regretting our imminent departure from central India, for we will miss experiencing the annual arrival of the monsoon. Still, yesterday afternoon pre-monsoon rains drenched the city of Pune-the first soaking rain since we arrived in late December. The skies darkened at about five. Then heavy rain fell for about an hour. The temperature dropped to thirty-six or so, though it was a steamy evening as E and enjoyed a good soak on our walk home from the bookstore.
This morning the sky is clear and the air crisp. The trees seem greener, washed clean by yesterday’s rains. In the afternoon we watch the Cheel chicks in the nest at the top of a tree above the Tilak Tank. Every day they grow larger, their feathers darkening. While we watch, the mother takes flight, pumping her broad wings under dark thunderhead clouds building above the hills to the South of the city.