Friday, July 13, 2007
The monsoon is finally here. And though we are heaving a big sigh of relief that the welting days are finally giving way to chilly nights, I’m not too happy with this change in the weather. I wonder what is inherent about the rains that makes me lonely, depressed, and nostalgic – all at once? I decided to dissect the issue –
1. The number of friends I have are the same since this summer (unless some had died an unfortunate death drowning in the flooded waters. Sorry guys… no wishful thinking this is!). So why lonely only when it rains?
2. I haven’t discovered a particularly disheartening problem to brood over. Why depressed then?
3. Neither do I have any fond memories from the recent past that would turn me suddenly nostalgic.
The climate is pleasantly cool. And I know that it is reason enough to cheer up. A rise in temperature can upset some. Ahem! Like it did to my sis the other day. On a hot summer day she suddenly broke into tears and started crying profusely. When asked about the reason, she blamed it on the soaring heat which was playing spoiler. But we guessed that the real reason would be having to leave a college she spent 4 years studying, bonding, fighting, and living. Heh heh.. Sorry Gee! But I couldn’t resist it.
The first memory that rains bring to me is the school reopening. It is a mixed feeling, a bundle of emotions - the excitement of growing up and moving into a higher grade, the joy in meeting friends who were away visiting grandparents, uncles , aunts and hundreds of relatives an Indian child is entitled to have, the pride in exhibiting all the new things bought for the new academic year, the reluctance to leave the cozy comforts of home – all rolled into one. It’s a beautiful sight to see the colorful umbrellas and bright raincoats. And I would be wrapping my arms around my new bag fearing that it would get wet, successfully avoiding the smaller puddles, only to fall into the biggest one!!! The effort of balancing the umbrella against the wind, getting dirty with the speeding cars splashing muddy water, the fear of writings being ink-stained ,all put together would tire me out. And I wouldn’t want to step out in the rain again.
Then I grew up, went to college, carried fewer books and stopped fretting over them, learnt to balance the umbrella and even to accommodate more people under one, mastered the art of avoiding puddles, and suddenly rains became such good fun. I found a new thrill in getting drenched. So one rainy evening, ignoring my parent’s concerns, I set out alone. I boarded a bus, got down at the stop and started walking towards my destination. Suddenly I was caught in a torrential rain. I got excited thinking about the sympathies I was gonna get once I was home. But then I had learnt to enjoy only the rains and not the accompanying lightning and thunder.
I heard the deafening voice of the loud thunder and saw the lightning streak the sky. My heart started pounding faster. I was assured that my death was nearer than I thought. (More so, because this incident took place just a few days after a lightning tragedy that killed many people ). But somehow the idea of getting killed when struck by a lightning didnt appeal to me. It was too silly for words. So brushing the thought aside, I started walking as fast as my legs would carry me. I remembered that being under a tree during lightning can only increase the risk of getting struck by one and noticed, ( surprisingly for the first time after walking that road for almost three years) to my dismay, that the road I had to walk on was dotted on both sides with huge sprawling trees. All I could do was to avoid the sides and move to the centre of the road. But when debating over which was a better option – being struck by a lightning or being run over by a car- I knew that the latter was more probable on Indian roads.
Meanwhile, the thunder grew louder and the lightning closer and I saw (erm.. probably imagined) it just above my head, within my hand’s reach. I saw death really close that day. I tried to remember all those precautionary measures I had learnt when I was a kid. And something inside me said – METALS! I had to get rid of all the metals. I frantically took out my chain and pulled out my ear studs, one of which I lost in the frenzy. I almost abandoned my umbrella with a metal top. I ran for my dear life. And from that day onwards rain has almost managed to top my endless list of fears.
Years passed… Rains took a new meaning. And now when the rain lashes outside, I sit indoors watching a mushy movie, attempting to read a soppy book, but all the while feeling lonely, depressed and nostalgic. Guess falling into puddles was better. Sigh!