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Monsoon Series: Epilogue

posted Aug 6, 2014, 9:59 PM by Madhuri Sen

The rains have always been special for me. There is something about the smell of the wet, heavy earth; the booming of the heavens, the purifying showers, the unique monsoon sea spray, the frowning skies and the flirtatious winds that makes every emotional experience stand out more starkly.  I find nothing more romantic than a long walk in the rain, nothing more calming that those showers when excited, nothing more conducive to sorting out life and its perspectives with the showers for company. Of course being able to sing to the beat of the rain and sometimes the lashing waves or to break into an impromptu jig to celebrate life in general are only tiny bonus points.

It was in the rains that I insisted on walking to school even when my mother was sure it would be declared a “rainy holiday” coz everything was knee deep in water. The apparent excuse was what if there were any classes conducted and I missed them. Really it was the excitement of walking in the puddles, seeing an empty school, mostly empty roads and getting soaked to the skin. The books always got packed in extra plastic to ensure they were protected.

It was in the rains that the school reopened each year; which meant new uniforms, new water bottles and tiffin boxes and new teachers who would love me.  I was actually geeky enough to love my studies even in school and would get choked with the excitement of a new academic session starting, and most mistook it for the happiness of being reunited with my classmates after the long summer vacations. It was the prospect of acquiring new knowledge that I was rearing to go back to (strange as it may sound). I always read up all my text books long before the vacations got over, usually within a week from when they were bought. The teachers only served to bring clarity to what I had read.

It was in the rains that the first guy (who I had a five year long crush on), asked me out in my high school years. I only mumbled and ran away. Was too confused to be the cool chick I wanted to act out to be. That date never happened. That day I could not smell the rain though, only the horrid ammonia after smell of Anne French that I’d used for the first time and swore never to use again. The smell of Anne French even now makes me gag.

It was in the rains that I figured that crossing over from Xavier’s college at Metro using the overbridge to walk the entire stretch of Marine drive was a lot of fun.  I made it a ritual to buy a green coconut and sip its sweet water, while the rain water mixed in it. It of course lasted forever, coz eventually I was only sipping rain water. But it’s an annual ritual. I walk down Marine Drive end to end at least once every year. More if time permits. I have been glad for company when I got it through the years.  But it’s not been often. Not many can take the fury of the rains and waves at once like it is usually on the days I choose to walk; when nature’s passions are at their highest. 

And then there are those flooded days every year when I have had to wade home through many miles since transport would have come to a standstill. There is only once of all these occasions when I couldn’t actually make it home for three days at a stretch. That was the legendary 26 July 2004 holocaust that saw the city come to a standstill for many days. Even so those days were lovely – mid week, shacked up at a friend’s place with no phone, laptop or TV as electricity had been shut off.  Entertainment was by way of long walks by the sea, eating out and listening to radio updates at the restaurants and pubs we hung out in. It was that episode that made me decide that I wanted to live in the vicinity of Carter Road in Bandra, just by the sea. It took a couple of years from then to get my place there, but I did.

There are many other stories of flooded days including making new friends while wading through, fighting the odds to make client press conferences happen, walking scary dark stretches with treacherous open manholes lurking if not whole open gutters, impromptu dancing at the sound of some random wafting music along with whatever company had come together. The one thing I consider miraculous is that I’ve never ever got stuck in a train that can’t make its way forward on flooded tracks. That’s like the worst thing to happen as one can’t jump off on to the tracks safely either.

And then there are the more personal memories that I can’t put down here for easy reading. Walks, promises, songs, expectations, budding bonds……with the canvas of the monsoons making it all more poignant. Many such monsoons to relish. Life is good. Life is beautiful.
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