Aboltabol Unlimited

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

rain, i don't mind

The rains are here, finally. Clicked this snap from my balcony today morning, it was still drizzling although you can hardly see the drops, but the smiling trees and the clean-washed skyline still tell that story.

They say Mumbai has only two seasons - rainy and 'non-rainy' because when it does come, the monsoon lasts for a good 4-5 months. But I can't get enough of it.

You wake up with the sound of rain, its still dreary dark outside and its been raining all night. Most of the clothes hung in the balcony line for drying, are still miserably wet. The newspaper-boy is late, and when you finally get your hands on them the papers are soft and wet. You don't feel like taking a bath in this weather, the water is ice-cold and your wet hair will stay like that, like a coat of heavy fresh paint on your scalp, for the next two hours.

These are the times when you curse yourself for still not having a car, auto-rickshaws make the most of a severe demand-supply mismatch in this weather, and you stand in the rain like a clown, umbrella in hand, waiting for some passing rick to have pity and drop you to office. When you finally get an auto, it feels like winning a lottery, so what if the seat is wet and there's no plastic cover on the sides to shield you from the rain. The 15 minute journey takes longer than usual, the rick inevitably stops next to a puddle in a signal, waiting for a rash biker to splash some more water on to your trousers.
Not the greatest start to the day, but...I still can't get enough of the rains.

My mother thinks its because I was born on a rainy, stormy night in the middle of an intense Calcutta monsoon, my sis thinks I was a Mongolian from Gobi desert in my last birth (but she enjoys the rains as much as I do) and my 'childhood friend' puts it down to an unusually long hangover of watching Raveena shake it in 'Tip tip barsa pani', but I just continue to lust for the monsoons year after year.

Some of the most lingering images and memories I have...of places, people and phases in my life...feature these wonderful 'monsoon moments'.
Every major place I've lived in have these moments.

Kolkata: of course has too many of these, rainy day-offs in school (best part- the ride back home in the school bus), swimming in the rain when officially the swimming pool was closed but the guard grudgingly relented because you promised you'll be in for only 5 minutes and he's too sweet to break your heart, afternoons of Pujobarshiki and coffee - a drink for 'elders' allowed to bachhas only on these special days, later - bunking school to watch 'A walk in the clouds' in New Empire (or was it Lighthouse!) in pouring rain, coming late for the first class in college every day for three months- and flashing a dripping wet umbrella by way of explanation to the prof, and of course...countless adda sessions in the canteen over steaming tea and shingara. Oh yes, and how can one forget that tram ride over Red Road with a breathtaking view of a freshly green-coated Maidan.

Ahmedabad: the dry soil absorbs rain like a magnet, the neem trees are moist and the branches - which stay gloomily still for the most part of the year, dance madly in joy in the strong breeze, together the smell of the moist earth and the soaked neem leaves creates a magic you can't describe in words, little puddles of water appear on what used to be a dusty patch of barren land, the Sabarmati flows again below Ellisbridge and reminds you of a great river that once was,the drive from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar suddenly feels like a forest expedition and the road seems to be running through a jungle of greenery, rain-dance, dunking, more dunking, the scary cry of a peacock in the dead of the night takes you back in time.

Delhi: The wide rain-washed roads in Central Delhi are picture-perfect,the North Campus is beautiful and fresh and there's a spring in the step of students who are going to give lectures a wide berth, the aloo-paratha tastes even yummier, CP to Dhaula kuan to Gurgaon - the early morning ride which usually reminds you of the (lack of) road-manners of Delhites suddenly becomes the most beautiful ride in the world, lawns of Hotel Ashoka where some random exhibition is happening suddenly come to life on a sunny winter morning as unseasonal rains have people running helter-skelter: most are only pretending to run away from the rain and looking busy trying to find shelter in the makeshift stalls - they're enjoying every bit of it.

Mumbai: a big 3 day adventure called 26/7, getting wet against the waves in Worli seaface, a quick run along the wet brown mud path in Joggers Park during a sudden burst from the skies - 3 laps is all you get before the jogging track is too muddy for them to allow you to continue, 3 laps to remember for a long time to come, coffee on a wet & breezy Bandstand, drive to Khandala - a Walk in the clouds revisited, pleasant surprises at office - rains equal to early chutti (reminders of a 26/7 that Mumbaikars haven't still recovered from psychologically).

And there's more: a wet chilly evening in Cubbon Park - and then Brigade Road - in Bangalore during a short visit, a ride in the Konark-Puri seaway in the middle of a cyclone - with the surging sea never going out of sight for long, the 14 km climb up to Kedarnath from Gaurikund along a wet slippery trail with mortal fear of a landslide just around the corner - but the best trek of my life...and I can go on.
Here's welcoming monsoons with two open arms...may this year's stay be as memorable.


  • 4 days of all rain and no sun and someone is still happy....no but well written, and of course the surprise office chhuttis are always welcome.

    By Anonymous akash, at July 05, 2006 12:27 am  

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