Tuesday, January 24, 2006


University got cancelled today. actually the government declared a holiday for all educational institutions due to heavy torrential rains. too bad cause the Uni had re-opened yesterday itself. anyways, i can only be too glad as i had a Business Taxation class today from 1:00-4:00 pm. kak huh? (in any case it's an Elective and i don't think that i'll take it. Ms. Pillay shall have to wait until next week to see if she can convince me to join her class). and coming back to the torrential rains, it was pouring as if God had forgotten to turn off the water in his bath today morning.

anyways, Rishi (being the great pal that he is) was kind enough to call me and wake me up at 6:30 am just to inform me that it was raining outside my window and that Uni was off for the day. well, believe me when i tell you that he's a good friend. :D

so i did what any sensible person would do if he got up at the crack of dawn and had nothing to do. grab a cup on coffee and stand out in the balcony watching the rain pour down from the heavens. God, i do love the smell of the earth after the rain. but at that moment it was just raining and i couldn't resist holding out my hand and let it get drenched. any one who knows me since my childhood will tell you about my great love for the rain. standing out there on the balcony brought back a lot of memories. and i'd like to share some of them with you all.

the first one goes back to when i was about 3 to 4 years old and lived in A'bad with my mom and my grand parents. dad was in Canada at that time and my best friend was Chiki, the proverbial 'girl-next-door'. we both went to the same school (Rachna) in the same rickshaw (Kalubahi's) and the only difference was that she was in KG (A) and i studied in KG (B). mom also taught in the same school at that time. i remember quite well how we were always running around in the rain to the great dismay of my granny who was always bothered that we'd catch a cold. and to be honest, we did catch the cold a lot. ;D well, we moved to Canada a year later and i never saw Chiki again until the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, when we all had to move to the old bungalow while the aftershocks lasted and the authorities determined whether the high rises were safe or not (Chiki's family had also moved in for the same reasons). right now i have no idea about Chiki and i can only assume that she still lives in A'bad.

Loni is a small town near Pune in Maharashtra. we moved there after dad decided to come back to India (the first time around). all i can say about that place is that i hated the school there cause they forced me to study Marathi. the one memory that stands out from the Loni days is that of the monitor lizards and the snakes coming out of their underground burrows after the rains and how we (myself and a bunch of other kids) were always collecting rocks and stones for a supposed 'Stone Garden' that a bigger kid wanted to build and how we found scorpions under the bigger rocks.

after Loni we moved to Baroda (not for the first time) for the coming 6 years. i do have a lot of memories from that period of my life but the rains always meant only one thing. Rushin, Andrea and myself searching for snails and tadpoles and building (digging) a big hole in Mrs. Modi's garden that was to be our lake when the rain water filled it up. also making paper boats and sailing them in the lake was a big hobby during monsoon. and yes, how can one forget the hot pakodas that mom made...
sipping a cup of hot tea/coffee and eating hot pakodas while it rains. that's living life Indian style

A'bad (Ahmedabad) has always been my city and i consider myself an Amdavadi to the great agony of my father. but dad, i was born there and have lived there for most of my 21 years. and so it comes as no surprise that monsoon has always had a special meaning in A'bad. be it running around and dancing in the rain with my cousins on the terrace at camp (the bungalow) or stopping my bike on the way back from school to get drenched in the rain. also, racing in the water clogged roads with my friends, spraying the dirty water all over each other has been an all time favorite. and yes, i do remember a lot of times when we've had to push the bikes home and had trouble starting them due to the water entering the silencers (exhausts, for the one's uninitiated in Indian English). :D somehow that always happened with Tejas and Dhaval. or maybe, it's just the miracle of seeing a dry and sandy city turn lush green in a matter of days after the first rain. or maybe it was the sight of lightning streak across the skyline of the city at night from the balcony on the 12th floor.

West Bengal also holds it's own when it comes to the rains. i have never seen the fury of rain unleashed as violently anywhere else. we also have a name for the most violent of these storms that is born in the Bay of Bengal. we call it the 'Kalboisahkhi', meaning 'storm during the month of baisakh' (i.e. in the month of April). these summer storms are a novelty of West Bengal, since no where else in India you have these violent rains lashing out in April. and yes, one more thing. somehow they always happen during the night. it is amazing how the night sky booms with thunder and lightning and how the rain pours as if it's trying to wash away everything that stands. and it's during these storms that the 'Koi mach' makes it amazing journey from one pond to another and to the top of trees. nope, i'm not kidding. Koi is a fresh water fish that has spikes on it's back and underbelly and at the base of it's neck. using these spikes it crawls out of the water and travels across land and also is capable of climbing trees. it's a local delicacy and hence one has to be careful that all the fish from your pond don't end up in someone else's backyard. so you do what you must. you go out and brave the storm and catch as many of the 'Koi' fish that you can find and throw them back into your pond. dad has pretty fond memories of doing so back in our village. the wonder's never cease, do they??

well here in Mauritius there are no 'Koi' fish to catch nor is there any racing of bikes in a water clogged street. nor do the kids play the after rain games of 'spinning tops' and 'marbles' in the damp soil. the snakes do not come out of their holes and i have never found scorpions under the rocks. but then, i have never really looked for them out here (the one thing that did happen and that happens in India as well was that the electricity failed for a while, and i lost my first post earlier in the morning. so i had to retype the entire thing). and all i had with me today morning was a cup of coffee and no pakodas. but still, the rain was as enchanting to me as always.

ps: Jaanu, good luck on your first day working at Applebee's. :D

1 comment:

Gordon van den Heever said...

Yeah bru,

Just to leave a comment. It's because of this fucking rain exactly one year ago that made me stay 6 months longer in Mauritius.....It will keep on until end of March, mid April. And there are scorpians in Mauritius. You remembered the one I kept in a bottle when I caught in one sunny afternoon on my porch...one ugly little biatch...uhm.....

Anyway, enjoy the rain my friend...there is a time and place for everything in live!