Sunday, June 24, 2007

Raindrops keep falling on my head...

... because I don't wear a raincoat or carry an umbrella. Much against my parents' wishes, I might add. I guess they have a point - I could catch a cold and, possibly, die. Not the best thing to happen two weeks before one is shifting to a new city and a new job. But I think it's simply criminal to go out into such awesomely beautifully wonderfully lovely weather - a light breeze, light rainfall that occasionally fizzles into a gentle drizzle before perking up and upgrading to light rainfall again - buried in protective clothing and sequestered from the weather. (Aside: That was one hell of a long sentence. 46 words!)

So I stepped out into the soft afternoon rain, walking along the city roads as I took in the sheer beauty of the weather. The tall roadside trees wept in delight at the rains, shedding theirs tears on my hair as I ambled by. Little drops splattered on my skin and rolled off, leaving a trail of gooseflesh. The tantalising smell of fresh wet earth filled the air. Nearby, a little bird trilled in the sheer ecstasy of the moment, and a watery rainbow shone across the sky. Perfect.

There are those who choose this season to make a splash. Quite literally. Yes, I'm talking of those who drive heavy vehicles - trucks, buses and the like. It becomes a competition among them to see who can splash more pedestrians. If they see a puddle with pedestrians beside it, they charge at it like an aroused bull at a cow in heat, or a RSS worker at a nude painting of a Hindu goddess. "Ha, so the 47G rascal splashed seven people, did he?" thinks the driver on route 10A, and vrooms in and out of the widest puddle he can find, drenching nine people. "Take that, nameless faceless long-suffering pedestrians! Guahahaha..." As a result of the sporting instincts of these drivers, I was drenched down my entire right side within 15 minutes of stepping on the road. Outraged at the unfairness and inequity of the situation, I crossed to the other side of the road so as to give the left half of my body a chance at being drenched.

The Chennai Corporation, of course, had its own unique way of contributing to the ambience of the monsoon. Open potholes, filled with water and spewing mud, played 'Guess How Deep I Am!' - a popular game in this season - with motorists. Open-air sewers (one of which is, I believe, officially a river!) overflowed their banks, spreading bacterial cheer and sending an ungodly stink rising free through the air. The occasional electric pole or tree crashed to the ground, inducing pedestrians to practice impromptu high jumps as they went about their business. And, as usual, blocked or non-existant storm drains made paying for a swimming pool membership redundant.

However distressing the infrastructure might be, however, the true character of a city in the rains is represented by its people. Motorists, leaning forward to peer through the windshield wipers, drove with their windows open and their ACs off for the first time in months. Street urchins, some more naked than others, screamed in joy and jumped in and out of the puddles. Professionals in formal clothes held their pant legs up gingerly as they tiptoed along, the water invariably sloshing into their shoes. Riders on two wheelers drove at full speed, experiencing the brilliant feeling of rain on their faces (helmet law be damned!) A lone athlete rowed manfully along the Adyar river. Couples, both young and old, came out under shared umbrellas to savour the most romantic weather imaginable. Some were probably aroused to greater passions - I saw a girl on the pillion of a bike nibbling her partner's ear. Schoolchildren, their bags on their heads, sloshed along happily. A roadside tea vendor grinned in sheer pleasure as he made roaring business. A group of nuns sang as they walked down the street hand-in-hand. Policemen garbed in impressively large head-to-toe mackintoshes and galoshes and floppy oilskin hats stood at their posts smiling at the passing populace. And I watched the city go by, and soaked it all in.

As Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has a habit of saying, FANTASTIC.

8 comments:

Aks said...

Hey dude, just love the way you write...
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Lovely :) Beautifully written piece that evokes memories of an evening...slight drizzle, onset of the first monsoon, a drive with someone, nice romantic oldies playing in the car, the only dampener was that it ended at the airport where I was to take a flight and go away from him :( Wish I could write like you do and tell that someone how remarkable that evening was! Sigh!

AC said...

Thanks Aks :)

And Anonymous (this might sound slightly Agony Aunt-ish, or in my case Unhelpful Uncle-ish)... tell him! If nothing else, just tell him these exact words so he'll understand how special that evening was to you. From the sound of it, I'm sure it must have been a wonderful experience for him too!

Anonymous said...

Nice post... btw, was the fact that both your posts exclusively about rain are titled after songs intentional?

Minster said...

yo Ac, heard you got into lehman. how goes life there?

AC said...

Thanks anonymous... and no, that wasn't intentional :) I hadn't realised it until u pointed it out!

Hi Minster... I did my internship at Lehman last year, but I'll be joining Bain full time in a week...

Jaya S said...

The 46-word sentence is lovely, as is the entire piece. Now hopefully you'll excuse me for saying this, but one other person who writes just as eloquently about the rain is Ruskin Bond.

AC said...

OMG... that is seriously heady praise!