‘Rain, rain go away, come again some other day’, I distinctly remember these lines from a silly song we would sing as children when at school. Confined inside the classroom, we would solemnly stare at the non-stop patter and listen to the drops crashing upon the tinned roof. Will the rain ever stop, someone would sigh while another, brave and mischievous with a glitter in his eyes would suggest, we can always play in the rain, unmindful of the wrath that would certainly greet us were we to reach home in drenched clothes.
Magical used to be the rain when we were children. To gaze at the everchanging clouds and hills changing hues as the sun played hide and seek with the valley was all we ever wished for. Wading through little puddles in yellow Duckback raincoats and gumboots was a charm, while spinning umbrellas to watch the raindrops scatter all around us, may be shut it or move it away for a minute, allowing the silvery drops to pierce our heads, was a game we adored. How we wished for the rain to never stop! How we screamed in terror and togetherness at the rumble of thunder and stared dreamily at the purple streak of lightning cutting across a grey sky! And how we joyously smiled at the rainbow, only if the recalcitrant monsoon sun chose to peek from behind a heavy curtain of clouds. Since we never had to bother about drying wet shoes or clothes or bother about any other chore that morphed into a damp squib, the rains never bothered us-there were elders to take care of the messy details!
And now as a grown-up I find myself at the other side of the spectrum. Nay, I do like the rains, and I do gaze, transfixed, at the approaching rain as it falls in slow sheets over the city. I do enjoy the liberty of a warm cup of tea on a rainy day and talk my heart out with my partner as we take a million pictures of the rain. However, simultaneously, my mind is at a constant churn thinking about the clothes that aren’t drying, musty and damp after weeks of rain, about the mealybugs that have decided to vociferously attack the plants, about the surcharges that Uber and taxi aggregators happily levy on rainy evenings, about my shoes and floaters unhappily getting embellished in brown mud every time I step out. Interestingly every single time I choose to wear a white pair of sneakers is also the time when the rain Gods choose to pelt me with their armour of heavy fat drops.
Nay, I do not abhor the rain, nor do I not sense the tingling sensation that reverberates though my veins when the rain clouds finally greet the city after months of harsh summer. After the yellow, dusty, sweaty Indian summer the manna from heaven is a delight. A heady breeze pinpricked with moisture, leaves rustling in merriment and rumbling clouds before the city is drenched in a welcome downpour is a true blessing.
But here you must listen to my plight-seven months of rain the previous year in my city had me palpitating and annoyed! After the first month of continuous downpour I was grinning in wonder that would put Joker’s wide grin to shame. Two months of greyness was patiently dealt with. Certainly, traffic snarls before the pandemic during rush hours were met with vehement anger but the new normal allows me to stay put at home. Three months of rain found the grin fading. I have had my fair share of rain I claimed and beseeched to the condescending clouds for a little blue sky. They heedlessly plucked me out as though I were an unworthy pebble stuck in the sole of their shoes. Ah, that crushed my soul! Four months of rain, all was grey, forlorn and wet. Books started smelling musty, leather shoes and bags felt mouldy to the touch. Five months of rain-that was a stretch. Truthfully, the most elastic of elastic bands would have snapped. I am but human. Six months of rain. This is December you dumb grey clouds, shoo away and let winter shine through, I silently whimpered. Haven’t you had enough after usurping the autumn? They turned a deaf ear to all my pleads and prayers and rumbled in disgust, shushing me off!
And finally, after more than six months, a faint winter sun shone upon the earth whence the last lazy cloud quietly faded from view! Hallelujah I wanted to scream watching the red-orange sunbeams tenderly painting a dawn sky each morning hence. After eons of rains and drizzle out came the pullovers for their annual sunning, dug was the earth and strewn were the seeds for a colourful spring. Happy was I, yet sceptical that the clouds would magically appear and dampen, literally and figuratively, my spirits. With a tune in my gait, I flitted about like a little butterfly, feeling sorry for Londoners and smiling at the azure sky. Stay away for the next six months, I mocked the rain, grinning slyly.
And crashing down came my short-lived happiness! Careful what you wish for couldn’t have been better elucidated. A cruel twist of fate plucked my partner and I from the pseudo-summer winter feeling of my city and dislodged us in the middle of a foggy sunless winter, rainy afternoons and evenings in the capital. Cold and damp have been the days, save a few faint sunny days, while the rain refuses to stop, smartly imagining he is my soulmate, following me through seasons and months, stuck like one nasty earworm!
Indignant and defeated, with a rain cloud above my head, I quietly go back to singing, ‘Rain, rain, go away’.