Witnessing a Cyclone-3

The last segment of the storm was that with rain. Though the gusty winds had shaken up almost everything by now, the rain added its own touch to the experience. I certainly feel that on a normal day I have witnessed much more rainfall. But today, even the slightest rain came down very hard on us.

The rain drops gathered massive velocity, thanks to being aided by the wind. They came down with such intensity that they managed to break past the beading seals in the window, flooding a small area of room.

After a few minutes of continuous rainfall and periodical winds howling past, the situation dialed down quickly. As a matter of fact, the skies cleared up and one could see the sun set. We went around the house to take stock of the situation. Though we didn’t sustain much damage, the foliage in our garden and a few houses in the vicinity did.

Our encounter with Cyclone Nisarga wasn’t as catastrophic as we thought it would be, thanks to last minute change in trajectory. But it sure imprinted in our hearts and minds that nature has reached its breaking point and the pay back for our sins were long overdue.

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.

Myna at Sundown

A Myna perches on top a tree, a mandatory pit-stop before it heads for its nest at sundown.

Shooting subjects from a confined location is a challenge. Given the rather less geographical canvas to scan through and move about, one must look hard to spot a subject. And with the thick foliage around, it is often after a good game of hide and seek before a little one like this spares a moment, to get snapped before taking off to another location.

One positive effect of the lockdown is the dramatic increase in the number of birds. Though often hard to spot, they let their presence and numbers be known through amplified chirping and calls they make, something rather rare during a normal day.

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.

Flyin’ to the Moon and Back

The full moon rising amidst the passing cloud cover during late evening, as viewed from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

This particular full moon has some exclusiveness attached to it. It goes by the name ‘Kartik Purnima’ in India, the ‘Hunter’s Moon’ in the West and also is known as the ‘Harvest Moon’. The specialty of this full moon is that it particularly is cooperative around the time of the autumn equinox, making this full moonrise quite unique in itself.

During the time of this celestial event i.e 13th-14th October 2019, Mumbai was facing rather untimely rains which also translated to a wet and damp Diwali in the city. So there was a certain doubt if one would be able to witness any of the moon amidst such questionable weather. Also those set of days coincided with the festival of Karwa Chauth in which the moon is of most prominence and much sort after.

But inspite of the speculation, the rain gods didn’t spoil this spectacular event, with the pre rains and the passing clouds only adding character to the magnificent show playing up in the heavens.

Content Info- earthsky.org

Audio Track: Savage Garden- To the Moon and Back

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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