The sound reaches me first. Initially soothing, and then with an edge of urgency, it makes me drearily abandon my state of inertia. The gentle clashing of the winds against the window pane quickly transforms into desperate knocking that threatens to crash it into pieces. The Mumbai rains have finally arrived and how! I walk into my bedroom balcony half-expecting the mud from my flower pots sprayed across the floor and am not disappointed. Tiptoeing my way to avoid slipping on it, I reach the corner and stand there silently. For some moments everything else fades out as I lean on the grill and let the raindrops splash on my face.
This balcony was the clincher when we decided to invest in this house. Well, this and the bigger one (yes, my bedroom has two) which is now converted into a study. It accords a gorgeous view of the garden, lake, and the small temple in front of my house. The entire township I live in has been developed by CIDCO, which also took upon the responsibility of the beautification of this area. Gardens, open gyms, lakes, etc are generously scattered around. The walking/jogging track around this lake, also built by them, used to be my favourite but I now prefer to take the road with my running buddies. I like watching senior citizens take a stroll, kids playing and people walking their dogs here though.
Rains cater to the romantic in me but as a parent, they bring in mixed feelings too. Standing on my balcony now, I’m suddenly exasperated and mildly incensed. The lush green of the trees, the cool rainy breeze, and the melodic pitter-patter do little to ease my nerves. He has done it again. Teenager A Jr, along with a couple of his friends, has gone cycling in the rain since early morning. It’s almost 11 am. I’m not sure whether he has eaten or how much cash he’s carrying. Our frantic calls have gone unanswered. My mind is flooded with exaggerated, hideous thoughts about his cycle breaking down, him getting hit by a speeding car, or falling off the bridge on the way. Yes I know, too melodramatic!
After some time I notice that the rains have mellowed down a bit and life has returned on the streets. Somewhere inside me, a derisive voice goes off. “Varsh, do you remember the time you went to Trimbakeshwar from Nasik on your old Kinetic Honda with your friends? It had rained the entire time and you hadn’t bothered to cover up. That family vacation when you stopped at a point on the Western Ghats while returning from Goa just to enjoy the heavily pouring rains? And oh yes, when you walked home with A, completely drenched, deliberately not opening your umbrella? Want me to go on? Chill girl, let him enjoy. Keep a hot cup of coffee ready and run him a hot bath when he comes. He’ll need both.” I try to silence it but it persists.
As if on cue, A Jr appears at the society gate below. He’s having a quick chat with his friends (getting their stories sorted, maybe?) before they part ways. My son, after all, he’s braving the obvious shivering and ruffling his wet hair, smiling gaily the entire time. All my apprehensions vanish in a jiffy. I take one last indulgent glance at him, the rains, and get in the house. How about pairing a cheese sandwich with his favourite strong frothy coffee, I think, and suppress a grin. Hopefully, a few years from now he’ll stand in the same balcony and relive this day differently. What are rains for, if not to evoke nostalgia?
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