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The rain is back again in Mumbai after a dry spell of over a month. And everything is full of life again. The Mumbai region endowed with rich biodiversity has an exciting mix of habitats that range from forests, grass, hills and lakes, beaches, mangroves and creeks.

The forest cover of Sanjay Gandhi National Park has always been my treasured place to spend time in nature. I love to come here all year round. Every month, the landscape of the mixed deciduous and semi-evergreen forest keeps transforming itself.

The monsoon has always been my favourite time of the year. When the rain with its magic touch brings life and greenness to the rocks and earth and barren trees, our insect musicians rouse to their greatest activity. Out of every hole and crack, under the roots of trees, on the carpet floor, life emerges breaking the monotony of the dry months.

I cannot escape anywhere else once I have smelled the forest, once I have spent time with the trees, birds and all the beings that inhabit it. I long to come here again and again. Every moment I live here, every breath I take here, reminds me that I am just a small part of this big existence.

Butterflies are out here in the national park and are wandering in abundance. The life cycle of these winged beauties is one of the most fascinating dramas in nature. I did identify a few butterflies like Tailed Jay, Common Jezebel, Common Rose, Common Mormon, Spotted Grass Yellow, Bush Brown. I couldn’t photograph as many, as I was so engrossed in admiring the divine creation painted on the canvas of butterflies wings.

‘We delight in the beauty of a butterfly…but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty”.

Maya Angelou

The rain came down hurriedly on the forest. The wet roadside flowers waited for the bees eagerly. Soft breeze stroked the leaves playfully on the branches. The raindrops felt new to me today. It embraced me against all my dismay.

The rain confines me to a small corner of the park where I take shelter under a roof of a stall set up by villagers to cater to the tourists on weekends. The space is totally mine for this moment. I settle myself and see the rain pouring down heavily. The raindrop keeps falling on my head from the leaking tin roof. But I don’t mind it as long as the roof is intact since I have a few books and a camera to look after. It was bliss to hear the sound of the rain on the roof.

There was music everywhere. The sound of a river. A rustling of leaves. The music of nature carried me away in old memories. I close my eyes with tears and feel the forest hug me like an old friend.

Sometimes he pours down from the clouds
Sometimes he pours down from my eyes
Such is the rain!!

At times still, and at times surge
He has his own ways
Keeps lingering in my heart
Such is the rain!!

He stops my way and 
Shows new path to walk upon
As a friend, he walks with me on that trail
Such is the rain!!

He is always quite cheerful
Not gloomy like me
He make me happy with his pouring love
Such is the rain!!

When I am wet thoroughly
He pours down more and more
And then he starts falling from me
Such is the rain!!

And then, when he is gone far away
I get drenched in his memories
Seems we are made for each other
Such is the rain
And such am I.

                         - Clement D'souza


Help others roam

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