| [ Published Date: July 22, 2005 ]|
Over the fields and far away...
A touch too romantic to begin, but that’s where I was a couple of months ago. Far away from everything Mangalore. Dreaming of dark gray clouds and the tap-tap sound of rain drops on the clay-tiled roof.
Rains are romantic when you are away, far away from home. Well, I guess they are romantic even when one is up close with it. The element of uncertainty adds to the romantic allure.
Be it the mad scramble to pull off clothes from the line at the first sign of darkening clouds or the confidence to leave it be with a firm `No, it won’t rain. Not just yet!’ there is a continuous communication with the forces above. Rather, a furtive effort to give rains a human form and read its mind. Will you rain down…?
I once did a rain dance with my cousins to calm dark clouds brewing up a storm in the horizon. We had had planned a daylong picnic at the Pannamboor beach and the rain was playing spoilsport. We were a little big to rhyme 'Rain, rain go away…’ and the dance worked perfectly. It seemingly appeased the rain gods who relented with a long sigh, fading away the gray in the sky with a spray of fluffy white clouds. That it poured down on us as we were winding up that evening is another story.
As I said a while ago, one shares a very warm camaraderie with this thing called rain. It isn’t every season that one stares up at the sky without blinking or shielding ones eye and making mental notes on the impending fate of the burgeoning clouds.
Here in Mangalore, where, I believe, it pours when it rains, it can feel like a thriller movie in action. The rains playing to the audience with clanging thunder and frighteningly fiery lightning. Nah doesn’t seem so romantic then. More like an enraged dragon in a demonstrative mood. Spewing fire and screaming mad.
Well, lemme not delude myself. I am sure it isn’t romantic to all those who have to rush to seek dry shelter every time it pours. And of course, who would want to contend with a rain that hampers ones very livelihood.
Romancing the rain or otherwise, I too could do without the potholed roads that resemble craters on the moon, albeit soaking muddy.
I could do without the mildew that forms around everything wood/wooden. I balked at the sight of the fine creamy formation on an old African man carved out of single piece of wood, a gift from a dear friend, just a week after the monsoon set in. And since, it has taken a liking to a newly purchased palm frond lampshade, a date leaf woven basket and even my wooden spatulas.
But rain it must. To make memories... Memories of paper boats let free in the rain water collecting by the front door; of leaky roofs and pots and pans to hold it in; of free showers that tingle your very bones; of slippery porches and tricky paths; of overgrown sidewalks and slimy worms; of raincoats and unexpected holidays…
And to create that inimitable exotic smell of hot mud coursing up in the air with every drop of rain. There is choreography in the way the droplets crystallize the soft mud, turning it into little craters before washing them loose with more drops, sending soothing smells of baking mud.
There are a whole lot of them, memories that is, stacked scrappily in the little mental library to run a fond finger through them and select the ones that match the mood of the moment.
Away from home, the slightest sign of gray in the skies could induce a trip to the meadows of childhood. There is still a longing to rush out and feel the rain without any protective gear. But… I did it the first time I experienced rain in the Gulf. But here… With so many batty folks walking around the streets, shaking a finger or two at passersby, I am bound to get my share of strange looks.