Peer Review by rainydayz (United States)

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First of June..

By: Ree Sethu


 My South Indian state of Kerala is known for its natural beauty and long three monsoon seasons that consecutively ranges from early June to Late November. It almost always hits on the first day of June.It hits when the summer rains that occurs at evenings of the months of April and May subside and heat is more than ever one day and then it starts raining the next morning, most probably the first of June.  There is heavy rain always. Literally. It rains the whole day and whole night. The familiar scent and the coolness of the rain spreads everywhere, pleasing our senses and pacifying one's mind. There is a sudden burst in the growth of the shrubs and weeds and the greenery spreads everywhere. And, it is the time when the schools re-open after the summer break for the next academic year. It is when people rush to shops and supermarkets for purchasing  notebooks, bags and knick-knacks for their kids. The results of the public exams of the 10th grade and the Senior Secondary would be announced mid-May and the admissions to the next level would be beginning by now. Umbrellas are seen everywhere and the school kids in their uniforms would be playing in the rain as they return from their schools. Nights are cool and early mornings cold. Freshness of a new beginning and of the rain is felt in the air. I've heard that these rains and this weather are people feel most nostalgic about, if they ever leave the state. 

   When the schools begin, it will be raining so hard that the students can barely listen to their teacher. Last year on this very same day and time, I was sitting in my   10th grade classroom, slightly nervous about the public exams in March and slightly disappointed about leaving my village school and my mates after the exams for Senior Secondary School, and missing my boyfriend who was my senior by one year very badly, since he had  already left for higher studies  but still optimistic about the future and daydreaming as usual. It was raining so hard that none of the students listened to our teachers. We all were gazing outside  and enjoying the rain despite the frequent warnings and scoldings and reminders about significance of the SSLC exams. During break hours a couple of my best friends (who were boys) and I were stationed  in the verandah collecting the heavy drops of water in our hands and splashing at each other, shrieking and laughing. During the lunch hour my mates and I desperately huddled under our friends' umbrellas (since we always forgot ours) as  groups of three or four (which is obviously more than what the span of an umbrella can cover) and  trying in vain, not to get soaked, to reach the girls' toilets in the backyard from our small classroom building which was isolated from the rest of school. We were sharing our lunch and talking endlessly. We were secretly criticising some of our unpopular teachers and teasing and gossiping about some frenemies and discussing favourite songs and bands. The school was bustling with the teens (that is to say, us) and teachers.

  Now, it is a yet another first of June.  The monsoon has begun, as always. It is raining right now, while I'm typing. The nature doesn't seem much different. The coolness hasn't yet spread, but it soon will. But the schools, offices and shops are much different. At the place of schools bustling with  students, their corridors and verandahs remain silent and deserted. I, who should be getting admission to some different school am waiting at my house, bored and desolate and lonely. They say online classes will begin today, for all classes except the 1st grade  and the +1.(And hence I don't even have any classes to relieve the boredom.) The SSLC and State Senior Secondary exams which should have ended in March has just finished a couple of days ago. Many are at hospitals. Many in quarantine. All are in lock-down. A minuscule virus has redesigned the lives and living of many. Yes, I and many more, are waiting for a return to the familiar rhythm and freshness of our lives. Still the rain is pitter-pattering as I'm typing; as if the nature is ignorant or unbiased about everything but its stable volatilty.

Message to Readers

I would really, really appreciate feedback. LOVE YOU ALL..*blowing infinite kisses* Stay safe..<3

Peer Review

I was moved by this piece and its ability to show the pre-virus and after virus lifestyle. I loved the descriptions of Kerala by the author and I can tell that this place is super special to them. I want to visit there! The writer has a real talent for using events that are pretty common to most to relate to the reader, but those events are depicted in such a light that shows how big they are to us during times like quarantine when we cant experience them anymore.

I would have loved to hear whether or not the rain was able to calm you thoughts at the end of the story due to the large change that occurred. If it was able to calm your mind during the stressful time for school was it effective this year? Did the rain make you upset this time around reminding you of how life was before quarantine? Did the rain give you hope for the next first of june out of quarantine?

Reviewer Comments

I'm super glad I decided to review this piece, but it leaves me wondering what other wonderful stories you have on your page! I cant wait to check them out when I get the chance.