If you are living in Delhi or Gurgaon, my apologies….rain was never meant for you. If you live elsewhere in the country, chances are you have seen rain and understand what it is. Here is an article on the rainy season.
I don`t remember when I first saw rain. Since I don`t remember, why don`t we make up the story. The year was 1977 and I was a 2-year-old lad fed on a high dose of Farex and tea in a Mestin (see pic of the Indian Army issue of Mestin). After a heavy lunch I was relaxing my head on a pillow when there was commotion in the house. “Stupid family!” I muttered under my breath and looked up. My mother was running to pick up the clothes drying outside and my father was running towards me. He was coming too fast for me – I just closed my eyes and said my last prayers. Next minute, I was sitting on his shoulders and he was running outside. (Did you know Aftab Shivdasani was a Farex model when he was just 14 months old. Obviously, he didn’t feature in the Farex containers that I emptied. He was born 3 years after I came into this World)
The Jamshedpur air felt good….oh wait. It wasn`t the air now…it was like air but very fast….what do they call it? And then I heard my father yelling towards my mother: ‘Hurry up fast, the clothes will fly away in the wind!”
That`s when I figured out, it was the ‘wind`. Years later, I would find out that wind was the female version of air…..air but a little ‘pushier`. Aren`t girls are nothing but ‘pushier` boys?
Anyway, there sitting on my father`s shoulders I felt the first drops of rain fall on my face. It was heavenly. If only my father hadn`t held both my thighs in his vice like grip I would have enjoyed the moment better. Maybe he was scared that I would fall. After five minutes in the rain watching my mother grab all the clothes, we walked back inside.
From that day to today, I have loved rain.
Needless to say, rain is very important in our lives. At least, in the lives of those nine out of ten folks who can only start a conversation on weather. “Hot day, eh?” “I just hope it starts raining!”
The last ten years of my life – seven in Chennai and three in Gurgaon – have been bad. All I have seen is a heat wave. But I didn`t wave back. Like all of you, I also hate heat.
What adds to the torture is that none of the weathermen have managed to predict weather correctly – and I have always got caught in rains when I am least prepared, with my laptop, wallet, leather shoes….stuff you don`t want to get wet with. I guess the only correct prediction about weather was when God told Noah, “Son, it will rain for 100 days and 100 nights. Now go build a boat. If you want a scale model for reference, check out Tradus.in – they deliver fast.” (Want to know the story of Noah’s ark?)
One of the memories that my current wife Rekha and I will cherish till we die (or divorce, whichever is first) is that one day when we got soaked in the rain for two hours. It was 2003 and we weren`t married then (psst! Don`t tell her parents, they already hate me for being ‘that’ dark guy who married their somewhat fair daughter).
Rekha had recently bought a TVS Scooty, and was practicing riding her TVS Scooty just below my house. I was teaching her – just like how Veeru taught Basanti how to use the revolver in the super-duper hit movie Sholay. That`s when it started raining. Knowing that I get super romantic when it rains, Rekha hatched her master plan. She didn’t want to enter my house all soaked up….primarily because didn’t want to meet Sharmila Tagore’s fate in the Bollywood movie Aradhana. So, she said: “Hey, why don`t we ride my Scooty in the rains on the East Coast Road?”
I agreed. We had the best time of our life together – next only to the time of Rhea`s birth. We still think of those two hours and chuckle. My only complaint about that day is that, after our drive, I had to drop Rekha back at her hostel and walk two kilometers in the rain to reach home. She didn`t trust me with her new bike – like a typical girl, she said it would get dirty. Yeah right!
Not everybody is lucky to have such moments. In fact, some don`t even have the rain.
But life isn`t without rain everywhere. For instance I was in Kerala, and it was raining on all the four days I was there – 23 hours in a day. I got into a discussion with a ten year old boy when in Kerala.
“Son, tell me does it always rain like this in Kerala?”
“I don`t really know uncle, I am only ten years old.”
“Are you telling me, it has been raining for the whole of last ten years?”
“Yes, uncle. It rains cats and dogs. Foul weather.”
“Son, wouldn`t it be fowl weather, if it rained chickens and ducks and not when it rains cats and dogs?”
“Uncle, you aren`t getting the point. By the way, The weather here is crying for some privacy.”
“Because it is changing everyday. There, didn`t I get you in your own game?”
“You seem like a smart boy.” I was beginning to hate the boy. I hate anybody who is smarter than I am and can crack a joke at my expense.
“That I am. I also know to predict the rains.”
“How?” This boy was smarter than I thought.
“The moment it rains anywhere, the Kerala Electricity Board switches off the power supply everywhere. That`s the hint.”
“Wow. Not bad. So you must hate the rains?”
“No, not really. All my friends outside of Kerala get a tree in their house only for Christmas.”
“And?” I was starting to like this boy.
“But we can hope for a tree in the house anytime – whenever it rains heavily, a tree falls on our house. My parents hate it though.”
“Shucks, that must be bad. But isn`t anybody doing anything about the havoc created by heavy rains?”
“Hmm….last year, after heavy rains resulted in landslide & flood in Kerala our Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan visited and promised us that he will not rest till he found out whoever did it.”
“Nothing much happened.”
I didn`t say anything to the boy. For Mark Twain had once said the same thing: Everybody is talking about the weather but nobody does anything about it.