Friday, July 15, 2011

Where You Are When It Rains

It does matter you know. The rain feels good or bad depending on where you are. Have a look at the normal associations people have with rains. Probably the only good association that comes to mind is the smell of the wet earth. Other than that, its probably traffic jams, screwed up schedules, sitting in your hotel room waiting for the rain to ease up so you can continue your holiday. Ever been in a Bombay local train during or after a shower? Trust me, its one memory you don't want.

I love being at home when the rains come in, especially if it is a weekend. To laze around in bed or in the balcony with a cup of coffee in hand and a book to read - divine! Only need a hound curled up at ones feet to complete the picture. It feels very cozy and nice. An additional benefit is I can avoid going out to do the chores by making like Milli Vanilli - Blame it on the rain. Even if we have to go out for dinner or a movie, it feels good to drive through the rain (provided it is a short distance). Get into the theatre, eat some popcorn and when you are out the rain probably has stopped and the streets are nice and empty.

When I'm in office, it feels just the opposite. Especially if there are a couple of meetings to be done. Just the thought of driving through traffic, find a parking spot, walking through the rain (because an umbrella is never handy when you need it) and then sitting in an office when your clothes are wet and the ac is blowing - brrr, sends a chill down my spine.

One of the terrible-est experiences I had was being stuck in the massive rain that took place in July 2005 in Bombay. I had to walk from Borivali to Vile Parle, a distance of about 25 kms. I took me about 7 hours to complete that journey. Luckily, one of my colleagues who stayed close to my place was with me and we managed to brave the rains together. Man, it was a mess. At certain points, the water on the road was flowing so strongly that we nearly got swept off our feet. People were stranded everywhere, be it pregnant women or children staring out of school buses. We finally made it to my colleagues home late at night, to find that there was no power and there wasn't even enough water to drink, let alone shower. The power came on the day after that and finally the wine shops opened :) After a long shower and a couple of beers, we headed out for a movie and some hot food. Talk about coming back to life.

In different places, the rains come in different forms. Many times, Bombay showers come out of nowhere, soak you completely and just before you head into shelter they stop. In Kerala, the rain keeps 'crying' non-stop. Never more or less in consistency, it keeps pouring consistently till you get sick of it. In Delhi, its like a threat. The skies remain dark and the humidity reaches an all time high but no sir, no relief from the sky. I think Chennai showers are still more 'normal' than the others but the massive puddles on the roads remain long after, even when the sun has been blazing. Its just where you are when it rains baby and how you feel....

I had the privilege of doing my graduation in a college with a huge lush campus of 365 acres, covered with a zillion trees. When it rained, we used to head for 'campus walks' sometimes. It is a completely different feeling, getting totally soaked, walking through slush among trees that keep dripping down with water. Once we were lucky to see a monitor lizard which was caught in a drain. We left a tree limb for it to climb out and safely moved away. I recently tried to re-capture the feeling when I was headed back from the gym. I had already called ahead to tell my wife to put the geyser on so that I could dive into the shower after my long walk of 200 meters. It was barely drizzling and I took my cap off after 50 meters because I just could not feel the rain. Maybe I didn't get wet enough. Maybe I was too jaded to get that 'close to nature' feeling, especially with all trappings of a crowded colony. I just wasn't satisfied but man after I took a shower and sat down to read with a cup of coffee and a book -, it did feel DIVINE!

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