A severe case of blogger’s block has struck me… and since I’m currently reading ‘Chasing the Monsoon’ by Alexander Frater, I reproduce something I wrote in 2002…
What is rain, amma, asked my two-and-a-half-year-old when he heard me talking about the rains in Oman’s interior.
An innocent enough question since his last visit to India was when he was just a year old. And as if the heavens anticipated the curiosity, it rained intermittently the next morning for about two hours.
I could not miss the occasion for anything in the world and sans umbrella and sans regard for advice not to frolic in once-a-year rains, I went downstairs with my son.
Rolling up my faded jeans and hastily dropping a towel over my son’s head, we stood watching the rain and feeling the raindrops trickling down our faces. Passing cars splashed muddy water and my son let out squeals of delight. The wonders of rain had finally got to him.
But I feel I can never express or explain to him, what rain and monsoon really meant to me till I came here to chase the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.
Was it the first shower through which I trudged my way to school and back, with overturned umbrellas and dripping ice-sticks?
Was it the first sight of the morning sun peeping lazily over determined rain-clouds as I passed the two bridges towards Ernakulam?
Was it the wind sweeping across the face upsetting neatly-tied hair?
Was it the surprise of peering out of stately school windows and wondering why it was not raining there but was pouring a few yards away?
Was it the scene of hundreds of sea-gulls descending on the swoosh of the waves at the nearby beach?
Was it the cold evening where we sat huddled together hearing Narayanan anna weave ghostly tales?
Was it the sound of frogs croaking and the trees making a sound eerie enough for my ears?
Was it the smell of rice boiling on the stove and the thought of a hot early dinner with piping hot rasam and unlimited pappadams?
As days passed and I entered college and discovered the magic of friendship, the concept of rain changed too.
Now it meant sipping cups of coffee and having endless discussions on everything from Bill Gates to Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Ten friends sitting together on the rainbow bridge at Marine Drive and throwing pebbles into the sea. Debating about the future. Wondering where we would all be ?
The gang saying goodbye at the railway station when I left for my Mass Communication course. The salt of the tears which mingled with the sweet scent of raindrops on my compartment window.
New place. New faces. Another beginning.
The rains lashed with a fury this time and I was left standing knee-deep in water inside the house one morning.
The first joy of manoeuvring a two-wheeler through muddy roads and the wicked happiness of splashing water on passers-by. The wail of the engine when clogged by rain-water and it refused to start.
Work and with it came brainstorming sessions, ad campaigns, instant deadlines, an easy camaraderie, a new love for hot tea on rainy afternoons over moong pakoras from Hanuman Gali.
Back to God’s own country again in mid-July and the daring to venture on top of the Athirappally waterfalls in the peak of the monsoon.
Marriage in mid-November when it rained and rained on the Mapillai Azhippu day drowning off all dreams of my husband showing off. The gang still made it, the ten of them, with hitched up saris and muddy trousers.
Two years later, and in October, the rain was still there welcoming my little bundle of joy into the world.
And now life continues, with memories of those ‘rain-filled’ days.
Sometimes, God does answer my prayers like the last rain we had. I made pakoras, took them to the office, and four of us went to the terrace and had a jolly good time reminiscing about the rain. Funny sight it was, munching pakoras sandwiched between huge dish antennas, precariously trying to balance ourselves. But it was worth every moment.
I pray for many such moments. And maybe when I have finished chasing the golden pot at the end of the rainbow, I can introduce my son to the wonders of Edavapathi and thulavarsham. Of what it means to be born in a land blessed with the power of rain.