Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rain Rain - Go Away or Come Again?

What does the rain mean to you? I am instantly reminded of the song 'Raindrops keep falling on my head'. The problem is I don't know the reminder of the lyrics so I have to go na na na na and everyone else gets irritated. Anyway, I like the rain. Not in a 'its good for the earth and the farmers' way but because of the memories associated with it.

One of the best memories I have is of my college campus in the rains. The campus was huge and had abundant greenery. All the roads had huge trees on either side of the road forming a leafy rooftop. When it would rain, the whole place would smell so earthy and rich and it was like the entire campus was cleaned up after the rain paused. Of course, we would be cribbing as we were stuck indoors. That's when Table Tennis matches really became fun as it was the only sport indulged in (gym was an absolute no-no). Also, everyone would linger over tea and snacks yarning away time. At least once during the season, somebody would suggest a campus walk. That meant we would don shorts, t-shirt and rubber slippers and head out to get drenched for two-three hours. It was really refreshing and if we were lucky, we would spot something exciting like a snake or an 'udumbu' (monitor lizard, I think).

All my experiences with rain haven't been very soothing. Worst one - Bombay on 26 July 2005. Man, it was crazy. I was out for nearly eight hours. I left office around 3 o clock with two colleagues. One of them was a girl who stayed close by and we decide to drop her first (who says chivalry is dead?) That took us a good two hours wading through nearly chest high water some of the time. If you know Bombay, you don't want to guess the stuff that must have got mixed up with the water. After reaching her place, she asked us to stay over but we decided to go home. So she fed us and sent us on our way. I have never seen so many people on the streets when it rained. Everyone was walking home with typical Bombay attitude. At times, the force of the water was so strong that we had to hold hands to avoid been swept off. Finally, we reached near my colleague's house and he asked me to stay over. I decided to head home but a little way down and I gave up due to sheer physical exhaustion and went back to his place. There was no water to bathe so I just towelled off, got into some clean clothes and crashed out. Phone lines were down and so I had no idea where my friends and colleagues were or how they were faring. My poor parents were worried sick. I could only give them a message the next night when utility services came back in our part of town. Though I am not in Bombay anymore, whenever it rains there I still shiver. The city bounced back in no time though, within a few days. Go figure.

I think every city has it's own quirks once the rains starts. Goa shuts down completely. The locals are literally hibernating or running on extreme power-down mode. Bombay is messy and bad-tempered. Traffic jams up and trains are a nightmare, where you have to contend with people wearing wet clothes or hauling dripping umbrellas. Everyone is especially intent on reaching home and you better not be in the way. Chennai gets flooded at the drop of a hat. It may rain for half a day but the puddle outside your house will be there for three weeks minimum. The humidity hits the roof and if you are thinking of putting the A/C on to control it, you better have backup because the lines have been knocked down. Bangalore rains are short-lived and fairly peaceful. Unless of course, you are stuck in traffic. You can leave your car, hop into the nearest restaurant, have a bisi beli bath and chai and come back cause you ain't going nowhere, sonny.

So next time its going to rain, try and get home asap. I am sure you noticed how food tastes better when it rains. A cup of coffee, some fried food, a good book and the rains. That is coziness, baby. Another plan is to get together with a few friends, bring out cards or scrabble or whatever and have a great time. There is another plan which I can think about but not mention here as. Whatever it is, enjoy it. Not because 'rain gives life to everything on this planet' but 'since you can't control it might as well enjoy it'.

Now that it's raining more than ever,

Know that we still have each other,

You can stand under my Umbrella,

You can stand under my Umbrella,

(Ella ella eh eh eh)
- Rihanna (Umbrella)