I’ve never enjoyed the rain. Being from the Middle East, the rain was not a phenomenon I witnessed on a daily basis, or even on a monthly basis, and in my 10 years there, I remember it raining just once. And hailing once. On both occasions, school ended early, and we shut all our windows, making a lot of noise in class – creating a ruckus for our Class Teacher. It was worth it.
On the contrary, I love water. I’m a camel, and drink a lot of water. Hearing about water scarcity, or water resource problems petrifies me. Chuck alcohol, forget about your caffeinated or aerated beverages. You can survive off water. My mother taught me the value of water somewhere around the 11th Grade, where my friends began to drink Red Bull, but I was deprived to prevent me from becoming the dependent. Water inspires me in other ways as well. There’s the calming effect of staring at your own reflection within a water body – allowing you to introspect about miniscule, trivial details within your life. There’s the hustle and bustle you witness on beaches. So many memories of water, the only substance apart from the internet that my generation will consume and sustain itself on for days.
Coming to India as a child was an exercise in despising the country. The school I studied in didn’t follow the CBSE system, nor had an affiliation to any other Indian Board. Being a British run educational institution, we followed the Western academic calendar, with summer holidays spanning from June to September. Three months of scorching sun, and nine months of taking care of me meant it was usually time for my parents to get their share of “annual leave”, so I departed for India like a diligent child, holiday homework et al.
I arrived here each year in the middle of monsoon. Pathetic weather conditions, no stable Television, Electricity, or Internet connections, mosquitoes everywhere, cockroaches entering my home from random holes, and that nasty smell. I hated it. I cribbed occasionally, I think, but my grandparents entertained the cribbing and supplied me with alternative outlets for my frustration – learning how to dismantle a computer and put it back together, figuring out how to play games on the computer, reading, learning Sudoku, and even stitching myself a bag.
My parents and guardians had reservations with this water thing as well. I was never allowed to get drenched in the rain as a child, instead hearing frequent reminders of my “wheezing”, or catching a flu, and I wasn’t allowed to drink cold water, ever. On weekdays, I was prohibited from swimming, unless it was for coaching purposes, and my parents enforced a strict 1-hour rule in the pool.
To see them get drenched in the rain today was amusing, to say the least.
Since I’ve moved back to India, I’ve embraced everything this place has to offer – including the weather. Being in Bangalore, there isn’t much to complain about, but being a member of the human species, I’m used to complaining. The fluctuating climes offered repeated tests to my immunity levels.
I didn’t get drenched till I moved to Gujarat though. And then too, out of necessity, when the weather turned on me – as I sat in the library till 12, and then headed back to the hostel on a day that had seen soaring temperatures of 45 degrees (Celsius).
It was strange. I felt cold and my clothes stuck tight to my body, but my hair felt fantastic. I lept around in puddles and ruined my sandals, and my pants, but I felt very carefree doing so. Without an umbrella, I felt the water droplets rushing through the spaces between my fingers, and peeling away any residues of dirt I had collected on my hand. It felt like a bath from the Gods, and for a long while, I was lost in my own thoughts – imagining cariacture images of what that would legitimately look like.
This evening we got stuck in the rain. My dad and uncle dealt with it by being themselves: pragmatic and methodical – attempting to find shelter and wait out till the most opportune moment arrived to cross the road and walk on home. My aunt and I were more head-on. She jogged cautiously, and I walked briskly, ensuring we didn’t ruin our respective footwear. I carried my bag on my head to prevent a little bit of the water from reaching my scalp (to no avail). The objective was simple: get home fast, stay as dry as you possibly can.
My dad got his pants wet while crossing the road, and my mother shivered throughout – she couldn’t bear the cold.
It taught me a lot about how moving out of my comfort zone has made me adapt to a host of changes. And think more objectively.
Moving around when you’re feeling cold is also a faster way of warming up your body.
Coming home, we did what I do on this blog. We analyzed. Talking about what would have been better “in hindsight”. I don’t know why we do these things – it seems rather redundant.
But the conversation was delightful. All of us taking turns with the hair dryer, me attempting to style my Bart-Simpson hair, a bit of catching-up on Sports, and general sleepiness.
That’s what I’m grateful for today.
Also, massive props to my grandparents for helping out with a pooja this morning: everyone woke up early to accommodate my internship schedule, and we managed to finish ahead of time – even though I woke up last!
More tales tomorrow.