Lukewarm Rain

Days like today make me really want to go back to being a child again. I sit here in my office, gulping down a lukewarm cup of coffee. My black umbrella sits right behind me drying off its little rain drops. This whole set up makes this space a little tight but I don’t mind having the umbrella for company. It’s a rainy day. Not the usual rain, but a more ferocious, all enveloping, gloomy rain.  When I first opened my eyes this morning I was not sure if it was day or night. Dark clouds had given the morning a grey hue. I walked into the balcony with my sleepy eyes and smelt the morning.

I smiled. Rain always makes me emotional, and especially this kind of full-throttle rain as it reminds me all those times in life when something significant happened. You see, every major life instance for me has had a rainy background score. But rains also remind me of the normal happy days of my life. The Indian monsoon hits Nagpur in late June and that is the time we would start our new school year. I remember many first days of school were filled with rain. Ma would never buy new uniforms in June. We would get raincoats and umbrellas but for the uniform we had to wait a month and a half for the rain to stop. I remember sitting at the corner seat in the auto and watching the little drops of rain soak the edge of my plaited skirt. I remember cancelled school assemblies. I remember the auto drivers and how frustrated they would be with all the muck around. I loved looking at the rainy school grounds from my fifth floor classroom. From above, the ground appeared like an artist’s canvas. The artist, in my head, probably painting a river basin; the long puddles looked like river streams. When going back home, I would be the first one to run out and soak the pouring rain. I didn’t care about spoilt uniform or shoes, after all I was going home and mom would take care of everything. As I grew up, I always remembered the start of school year with rain and I absolutely loved that association.

But it’s not school I am remembering today.

Rainy days were something else at home. My papa had put a tin material like sheet as a roof for the house. He had envisioned the house to get plenty of natural light from above so we did not have a concrete ceiling. Whenever it rained, it was like some kind of music being played. I remember hanging around the master bedroom, gulping down cups and cups of chai, having coal roasted corn, hot soup and what not. I also remember the music the rain filled our little home with. More often, I remember everyone at home, watching it rain and just soaking in the existence of each other around. On those occasions, we were a family brought together by rain showers. We did not do anything remarkable, but I felt cuddled, in an abstract way. I always try to think of those days and put a word to how I felt… it’s hard to describe it in one word, but I think that is what ‘joy’ feels like.

I miss that wholesome joy.

Rain brought its fair share of trouble for us too. The missing concrete roof meant that for at least two months in a year, we would have many instances when the water would somehow leak into our house and literally soak us, our furniture and our living. Many evenings were spent, putting the furniture on a high ground, collecting water in buckets and sweeping the water out. Some days our living room would be filled with at least 2-3 inches of water. Then we would all work together to clean and wash the rain out. Over the years, Ma and Papa spotted all leaks and corrected them. But see, that’s what I am saying, the rain made us work hard together too.

In more recent years, I remember driving my dad around on rainy mornings. I remember him running inside using his books as a shelter against the rain (he always forgot to carry an umbrella). I remember my little brother insisting that he lock the front door on a rainy night, trying to be all lovable and protective.  I am filled with some kind of gooey feeling remembering my mom working hard outside fixing something in pouring rain. And I think of rain and the many times my sister and I have gotten drenched riding on her two wheeler, caught unaware of the sudden thunderstorm..

So days like today give me all sorts of mixed feelings. But I think what I miss the most is that even though I have seen many rains since, I feel devoid of the moistness of life.

Rainy outside and dry here, now I sit in a cube, far away from rain, still sipping on that cup of coffee, all cold now.

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