I wait for my husband to come home from his evening kamjari and say those three little words that mean so much to both of us: 'Let it rain. Let it rain. Let it rain.' It is now 140 days since we had rain in the Dooars. The forests look like they could turn into Australian bushfires. The sky is a sickly dust haze. Days are hot and the nights turn unpleasantly pleasant, ruling out all chances of a cloud build up. 'Coming home looking like a thundercloud every day won’t help', I used to tell Mohan some weeks ago, but I don't have the heart to say it any now.
Garden people have this habit of consoling themselves with saying that the next Puja on the Indian calendar will bring rain. So everyone starts off with cheerful assertions about how it will rain on Saraswati Puja (January). The wise ones don't stay disappointed for long, and they start to say, 'It will rain on Shivratri for sure.' That comes in mid-February. Hmm. 'Fagua' is the next cry that goes up. 'Surely Fagua/Holi will bring rain.' That's mid-March. It just went past. What now?
Fakkar Baba of Oodlabari was well-known all over Dooars. He died of cancer some years ago. Baba was a devotee of Lord Shiva and was said to be a seer. He smoked hard all the time. Whatever he smoked early in the morning had him in a trance, and people said that was the best time to consult him. He was known to predict promotions and transfers of Chhota Saabs and Burra Saabs in the Dooars gardens with some accuracy. If he ever predicted who'd get the sack, they never told. Rain was his area of specialisation. The Baba had devotees who'd invite him to their gardens to conduct special 'Pujas' for rain.
(Also pulished on www.koi-hai.com)