Thursday, May 21, 2009


The Monsoonal rains of Asia are spectacular down pours sometimes lasting for hours as the very heavens seem to take on the guise of a waterfall in full spurt. As a child I've danced in them, blocked up the central courtyard to make a swimming pool, dammed up little streams to make ponds.

But I have to tell you that a West African thunder storm is a spectacular thing to see.

Perhaps its the extended period of dry weather, perhaps the heat that scorches the very air, but the build up towards a shower is filled with anticipation.

The skies gradually darken,a little gusts of wind begin to blow, initially an almost solid block of hot air that pushes up against you.

The skies get cloudier, the wind becomes more incessant till suddenly, with a whoosh, the entire sky is filled as bits of garbage get caught up in the sudden rush of air to get thrown all over the place. By now there is an audible sound in the air, gusting winds, driving dust, paper, discarded bags everywhere, the air turning cooler and now the first sounds of thunder.

The rain comes then, rushing in from one direction... heavy drops, cluttering against the tin roofs, drumming louder and louder... Little explosions of dust as the first drops hit the dry earth, then little river-lets as the water begins to run across the surface, coming down faster than the earth can soak it up.

Thunder and lightening, wind blowing, the sound of rain everywhere... uncontrolled, wild, AFRICA