Saturday, July 29, 2006

Yeah right, the rains are back again

I have to confess - I've never really liked the monsoon. Yes, I know, I don't have a clean soul, I can't appreciate the better things of life, yada yada, because almost everybody I know loves the rains. They love the feel of water on their face, the pitter patter of water falling into puddly pools, hot chai, the smell of the earth (that's not so bad)... Somehow I've only noticed mouldy clothes, the grey skies, traffic jams, wading through filthy water, you get the picture.

The only time I've ever enjoyed the rains was when I was in school - in parched Chennai, storm drains would get surprised by the merest whiff of the rains, so any sign of precipitation greater than a drizzle meant an odds-on chance that school would be off. And we watched rainy days with great anticipation - uniforms worn with extreme tardiness, us going to the balcony every few minutes to check if the city was flooded, making calls to friends, hoping that this groundswell of hope would lead to a holiday. And the announcement of the holiday was accompanied by joyous celebrations, more phone calls, feverish plans that would be unmade during the course of the day... much fun.

College days were different. For starters, staying on campus meant there were no off days during the monsoon. And worse followed - water leaked into the rooms through ancient walls that were just as surprised by the rains as the city's storm drains, clothes got mouldy and smelly, classes had to be gone to and sat through in soggy clothes... all in all, not my cup of tea (or rain water). There was more to follow - squirrels liked to make their cosy homes in my room. I came back after a particularly rainy autumn break to find my room smelling of piss and worse, and a litter that had gone through a few shirts and a favorite sweater in making their homes. The next year, they were back - this time, a nest in my drawer.

The Mumbai monsoon is, of course, a different animal. For somebody who waded through 4 hours of waist-deep water on 26/7 like I did, the rains have taken on a different meaning altogether. I still live in the city, one year and 5 days later, telling and re-telling the war stories from that day, and while I joke about it, I can't help but feel a vague fear every time it pours in Mumbai. I hope that one day I'll be able to make my peace with the rains - but we're adversaries just yet.


Blogger Unratiosenatic said...

hmm! nice post. I guess the best deal would be having cloudy skies, medium temperatures (think 18 degrees) and a brief shower in the late afternoons. Kind of like Bangalore ten years ago. Wouldn't that be nice?

4:22 PM  
Blogger The Invizible Man said...

Yeah, bangalore ten years ago was quite sexy... i'll even settle for mumbai on certain patches this weekend. Was on marine drive on saturday - extremely windy, and nothing more than a drizzle, with a violent and sky-reflecting grey sea. Very nice - almost made me forget my argument with the rains.

11:23 PM  

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