Witnessing a Cyclone-2

The storm started getting stronger by the minute. It came in brief pockets that carried much of its might. One such pocket had passed by few minutes ago, blowing away the solar water setup and the roof of a nearby house sending them crashing to the ground.

Then came this one which played its game with the mango tree we had planted right in front of the house. The earlier pockets had been rocking the small plantation for quite some time now. By watching the ferocity of the wind that rocked the trees like possessed people, we knew that one of the trees had their fates sealed. We assumed it would be the coconut as it was the ‘black sheep’ of the lot- never giving a proper produce in the last 15 odd years. It also had a lot of erosion at the base and its leaves broke off prematurely. But it was the mango tree, the star of our garden that was on the books.

As one such pocket of gusty wind came along, one of the bigger branches of the canopy, the one that used to give us a large number of mangoes, spanned from the main trunk and crashed to the ground. The power to the wind was so hard that it broke the branch into two segments, one of them crashing on to the road.

As we were still shaken by the solar panel fiasco, we didn’t focus on this very episode. But it was later when I skimmed through the footage and realized that I did capture that very moment on film. Though we were a little heartbroken that a good portion of the tree we nurtured and cared for about 2 decades snapped of in a matter of few seconds, we counted our blessings as there was no damage to anyone. And after the storm had passed, we realized that the condition of the foliage down the road was much worse- a trail of destruction till the very end.

Witnessing a Cyclone-1

As if 2020 wasn’t enough of a bummer in itself, Mumbai witnessed its first cyclone which went by the name ‘Nisarga’ in over 100 years. Though the maximum city was mostly spared by the cyclone due to its last-minute change of path, the region Navi Mumbai got to witness some of the power and glory of Mother Nature.

The Konkan region being on the west coast of the country isn’t as susceptible to cyclonic storms as compared to its eastern counter parts. Cyclones do form in the Arabian Sea but they rarely make landfall in the region, especially in the city of Mumbai. Even though there is debate on the previous cyclone of 1882, this one wasn’t missed by any chance, thanks to the internet and the fresh memory of the havoc caused by the Cyclone Amphan a few days prior.

Though the city and I have witnessed different types rains and floods, this one was new. As a matter of fact, there was hardly much rain compared to a normal rainy day in the city. But the wind was what turned the tables-literally and figuratively.

First was the big sense of calm. It was as if time had stopped in its track. Though there weren’t dark clouds, the sky was dull and there was an eerie silence all around, amplified by the lockdown. And that’s when the cyclone made its entrance.

One doesn’t see the wind, but feels its presence. Trees rocked so hard and wild that they could snap any moment. Even the few raindrops in the air crashed down hard, gaining immense velocity by the wind. The howling of the wind from the gaps of closed windows seemed as if death was whispering it was time to go. One might have been in the security and comfort of their home but in a scenario this apocalyptic, no ever was truly safe.

At the Edge, witnessing the beauty ahead

A panoramic view into the canyon below from the cliff of the Tiger Point at Lonavala.

The current situation of the world is that of uncertainty and sorrow. And especially in an age when most of the people are well connected, each of us is able to witness this firsthand, helplessly.

But this same calamity has brought out a positive side of the world. Be it the tireless spirits of medical personals and the people involved, the mutual understanding and kindness between citizens, the ability of many to be there in a family and the overall revival of nature due to drop in pollution levels.

There is no denying or underplaying the fact that this is the one of the worst disasters of all times and the sorrow it has brought along. But seeing the positives even when standing at the very edge of uncertainty, holding on to the hope for a better future is just as important as the cure is.

Stay safe everyone. This too shall pass. There is beauty and peace beyond all of this 🙂

The Blue Hour Spell

A panorama of the Haji Malang Range as seen during the blue hour with the entirety of the range standing tall and the lifeless concrete jungle at the bottom. No matter how much I have photographed this scene, it always has something new to interest and captivate me.

Sunset Perfect

Though it is high time for the monsoon to have stopped completely, it does rain quite often even now. The mornings usually have an overcast with the sun making a brief appearance at times. The evenings follow with raging thunderstorms that are often accompanied by spells of heavy rain. But inspite of having an unpredictable weather, the evenings often lead you to amazing scenes like these, becoming a must needed treat to the tired eye and soul. And the fact that these untimely rains keep the dust, pollution and heat in check is always a boon!

The Green Stairway

A beautifully lit sky forming the background to a vibrant lush green slope of a hill as viewed from the foothills during sunset at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

Enter the month of October and the rains will be soon gone, only to surface next year. Though it rains quite often even now, the signs of the retreat are evident. This year, it had rained enough and after a point it had started becoming a pain. Yes, the monsoon is far better than the scorching heat of the summer and water is a resource that one always finds good use of. But I wished it had rained in patches and a bit more mildly, giving everyone a small window to enjoy the fruits of the monsoon. Or maybe I, as my city, should have prepared in a much better way to have take it more as a boon than a bane. But there is always a next time. And yes, I will really miss the rains once they are gone…

A Storm rolls in… – II

A storm rolls in over the lush green plateau and the numerous peaks before descending into the valley.

The hill range acts like a boundary wall holding up a good amount of rain bearing clouds as they pass by from the west. When there is a heavy downpour, these clouds send down huge quantities of water, often resulting in swelled up streams and waterfalls across the town.

Though as beautiful as it seems, it would be rather terrifying to get held up on these highlands when a storm like this passes by.
 
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A Monsoon Trip to the Hills- I

A panoramic view of the Kharghar Hills Tabletop and the Valley below, as viewed from higher ground one fine rain free afternoon.

It rained plenty this year, replenishing most of the land. The foliage had turned into a vibrant shade of green. The clear skies and the intense sunlight aided in bringing out the best of the landscape. It really is a treat to watch the magic of the monsoon during a cheat day like this!

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Dramatic Evenings

A massive cloud formation engulfs the Haji Malang range looking similar to a dramatic pyroclastic cloud that forms after a volcanic eruption.

This image was made during a rain free evening, just before sunset, as viewed from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

Fruits of the Monsoon

Though the rains have been merciless this year, they do bring special treats along. The earth gets covered with a layer of green, the air becomes cold and damp, numerous streams and waterfalls dot the region, all tricking ones senses into a game of pleasure and pain.

The journey to the base of this waterfall is a treat in its own as one needs to hike a bit to reach it. As the strength of the fall depends on the rains the hills receive, one has to wait till it pours continuously to witness it in it full glory.