Saturday, August 14, 2010


It was one of those days when the rain just fell and fell without a stop. Sometimes heavy and sometimes light, subduing the sound of chaos in the city. My time travelling mind took another trip back to the small town in eastern India where I grew up. Monsoon there meant endless days of grey sky and non-stop drizzle. Like a thin wet sheet that covered everything. It drove people to stay home venturing out only when necessary. Something about that weather made you want to feel snug, huddle close to loved ones and listen to their stories over a nice cup of tea.

Some days the rain used to pick up in the evening and pour throughout the night. By daybreak the sky would be overcast and it would drizzle the whole day. During those days of heavy rain we would get constant updates on the rising level of Ganga on the local radio. There would be a queer sense of anticipation and foreboding all around and the stories shifted to that of floods and near disasters. We listened to them spellbound.

I loved those grey wet days. The best part was not that the schools would be shut. The best part was to sit by the window, look at the rain falling outside and feel the gusts of wind blowing droplets all over you. My hyper-imaginative mind would re-create all the stories heard before and I would be totally lost to reality. The best part was sneaking into the garden with an umbrella when my mother was asleep and shake the flowers drooping with water. I would be certain that the flowers were happy to be relieved of their burden.

I was looking out the window at the wet railway tracks. When the muted sound of the locals faded in the distance, the sound of the continuous drizzle took over. Right ahead across the railway tracks was a tall building under construction. I could not see any signs of activity or people there. It seemed isolated, abandoned and forgotten under the grey wet sky. A woman with her son in a raincoat and half pants walked past the tracks, the only sign of humanity around. Strangely desolate.

A gust of wind blew the droplets all over me. I turned around to look at the people inside the house. The TV was on and all were talking about one person’s recent visit to Chicago. Somebody exclaimed about the nuisance of the going out on a rainy day like this. I detected irritation in her voice.

I turned my attention back to the outside world. I longed to hear the stories my father used to tell. I longed to go out and shake the water from the flowers and hear their relief.

I still love grey wet days.