The monsoons have finally arrived and all of the land around us has transformed into a multitude of wonderful shades of green!!
When we first arrived to Madhya Pradesh, everything seemed to be a variation of brownish-tan. The fields were dry and dusty, the trees had no leaves, the grasses were yellow and the mountainsides looked like they could use a nice big sip of water. Now, almost eight weeks later (and ~2 weeks into monsoon season), the land has completely changed.
Everywhere I look I see a new shade of green; the grass outside our room literally looks neon (I swear none of my photos are edited!!) since it’s all so new. The hills surrounding our campus have turned from dry, dead to green and luscious. All of the empty fields are suddenly filled with rows and rows of growing crops; some have grown to be over a foot tall in the past two weeks! It’s amazing just how many different varieties of green there are all coexisting in the painting-like landscapes.
Besides bringing life to the dry land, the monsoons have brought about a completely different climate. Before it was dry and HOT, for the first few weeks we never experienced a day with the high below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now with monsoon, the temperatures have dropped substantially, rather than an average high of 105, the mid-day temperature sits around 80 degrees. However, the air is no longer dry; when it’s not raining (which is honestly a majority of the time as rain seems to come down in sparse pockets/at night) the air is heavy and extremely humid. Unfortunately the humidity causes the “feels like” temperature to climb 5-10 degrees on average, thus I still wouldn’t exactly describe our days as “cool.” Finally, we’ve experienced the most beautiful thunderstorms; at night when the sky is covered in clouds, the lightning literally looks like a camera flash has lit up the entire sky.
The only downside of monsoon is the bugs; they have finally come out in full force. As someone who has always been a mosquito magnet, this has not been a welcome shift. The other day my 1-hour sunset yoga session left me with 11 new mosquito bites. On average, I think I’ve been receiving 8+ new bites a day (but don’t worry, I’ve been taking my malaria pills!). In addition to mosquitos, the rains have brought out enormous beetles, moths, ants, flies, freshwater crabs, frogs, snakes and more. We’ve developed an entire routine for entering our room at night in a way that minimizes bringing in unwanted insect guests.
Nevertheless, this wonderful, colorful weather shift has made me so happy that I think I’ve gone a bit crazy. As I wander around campus or look out the window of the car I’ve been constantly singing parody songs about the greenery in my head. Right now I have one stuck in my head to the tune of “Huurah, Huurah,” the Penn fight song. It goes, “Hara, hara, hara, hara. Hara for the plants turning gree-ee-nn.” (hara=green in Hindi)
To truly capture the essence of this shift I’ve created a series of ~transformation~ before/after pictures for you all (and keep in mind that we considered the SPS campus a green oasis when we arrived; the rest of the land transformation is even more stark!):