I like to think there’s something special about the rains in Kerala. Their very sound is different. But they have been playing truant and that set me thinking about my rather fluid relationship with rains.
Rains bring childhood memories-
Of wading along in knee high water through a maze of lanes, clutching my umbrella close while the beast pounded incessantly on it.
Of Father wading along beside me, pants folded to knee length; grim faced and silent because conversation was impossible in the roar.
Of the smell of new schoolbooks both texts and note and the slightly damp feel of them.
Of the smell of smoke from firewood stoves, the smoke wafting lazily in the drizzle.
Of learning the Malayalam alphabet, loop by intricate loop, the text decorated occasionally by minuscule droplets that escaped the tiled roof.
Of walking across a vast maidan to school, chattering with friends, happily squelching along in the rust red slush.
Of sailing paper boats in a ‘canal’ along the way, anxious about their fate.
Of hiding in the ‘store’ room on a pile of bedding, reading while the rain screamed and rattled the windows.
Of peeling off a dripping blue pinafore, changing into a dry frock and holding a glass of Mother’s steaming hot tea in fingers wrinkled by the rain.
And decades later-
Of dumping a heavy workbag and rushing up two flights of stairs to take down clothes from lines strung on the terrace as the first giant blobs spattered meanly down.
Of a farcical journey in a jam-packed ramshackle vehicle, a tangle of limbs slimy with rain.
Of insane anger over a trail of muddy footprints on a freshly mopped floor.
Of ceaseless worrying about wet roads and aquaplaning motorbikes.
Of the hallucinating elderly lost in an endless loop of memories amidst rising floodwaters.
Of disease, of death and the ever present depressing dampness in the pouring misery.
Of being privileged, cocooned and dry, while it came down in sheets.
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