Thursday, 10 June 2010

Here comes the monsoon

Mumbai where I live is experiencing the first showers of the monsoon. As I look out of my window, I can see the raindrops coming down gently, pattering against the windows. The very sight of the drops falling from heaven evokes pleasant memories and thoughts. I can still see the sight from my balcony: the rain-washed garden, the drops of water sparkling like pearls, the cool breeze... I'm sure you get the drift.

Going a long way back, I can't help but remember my school days. Ah, the joy of getting wet in the rains! I frequently used to pretend that I'd forgotten to take the umbrella with me while leaving, so that I could (hopefully) get wet on the way back home. The sight of the rains from the window of my school classroom is still etched in my mind as though it happened yesterday. The passage of years have not wiped out those memories.

Then ended school and one fine day I was in college. Suddenly the monsoon assumed different dimensions. The water logging under the railway bridge at Kings' Circle is another of those sights permanently etched in my memory, as are those walks with my college mates to the Five Gardens at Wadala just a stone's throw away from Khalsa College, my alma mater and the wonderful place I have missed ever so often since I graduated from there in 2001 (feels like the dinosaur days now!).

Then one day I was out of college. Suddenly the world looked and felt a whole lot different. We came to terms with the fact that school/ college was a small place within a much wider world, that what happened inside those walls mattered not a jot to the world outside. Suddenly, it turned out that the world was a much bigger place than we had imagined even in our wildest dreams, of which the school or college- which we thought was the world- was but an infinitesmal part.

And suddenly, the monsoon assumed wholly different dimensions. We had to worry about getting wet in the rain for fear of the fact that sitting in an air conditioned room with wet clothes could cause a cold. Rains seemed a nuisance because the streets got mucky and that meant your clothes could get dirty on the way to work. Heavy rains meant traffic jams and unlike in college, reaching late was just not an option. Unlike the good old days when we got free by afternoon, we were usually sitting late into the evening in office- trains getting cancelled just did not matter anymore, the day's work had to be done. One not so fine day, I came to the realisation that the monsoon was a nightmare rather than a pleasure.

It's been ages since I had the luxury of time to gaze at the view from my balcony, being on the move all seven days of the week. As for school, I fear the place has changed so much since I left it in '96, that the sight from my classroom window now remains only in my memory. The memories of college and those wonderful people I studied with (amazing how even the most loathsome people become wonderful in hindsight) seem like fleeting memories of another age.

Those days are long gone by. Nevertheless, one dream that acts as a common thread between childhood and the present is the thought of sitting in my balcony on a rainy day gazing down at the garden, a cool breeze beating against my face with a mug of piping hot coffee and garma garam bhajiya pao (with apologies for non-Hindi readers, the last part cannot be satisfactorily translated). That's one dream I have had since I was not yet in my teens. Sadly, it remains a dream to this day.

Hopefully, someday that dream will become reality!

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