Have you ever tried just sitting in the rain? Bound by societal constraints, I am no longer comfortable getting wet in the rains. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy it. Waiting for Saee at the bus stop means wearing a raincoat, and sitting on a chair, enjoying the cold droplets falling all around me. It works for me in the shower as well, when I need to cool my head, I just sit under the cold shower doing nothing. Just being.
What is it about this element? The rains have been around forever. Yet, take a baby in the rain and she is sure to enjoy it too.
While I sat there in the rains, it led to a flurry of memories, long forgotten in the labyrinth of time. I took a look around me. Children in raincoats coming home from school, dancing in the puddles.
My uniform was a khaki-ish brown coloured frock. A deep green sash tied around the waist. Not much as smart uniforms go. But to me, today, it means so many things. I wish I had saved at least one uniform for a keepsake. I also had a Captain’s badge. It was the kind of badge where you had a rope thing going on your arm. Kind of thing the traffic police wear with a whistle at one end. We had a badge that said CAPTAIN. Mine was red, because I was the captain of Red House. It was a proud moment when our then Principal Sr. Rosy Fernandes, pinned that badge on my uniform. I miss you Sr. Rosy, wherever you are, I love you with all my heart.
Teachers… I don’t know how they teach in schools these days. Back then there was no such thing as not-hitting-the-kids. The teachers caned us if we did wrong. They were entitled. No one dared to ask why. We knew we were wrong and we got punished. But when we did good, oh! The love we got from them, is all I remember today. All my class teachers right from kindergarten to tenth standard. I love you and miss you all so much… 😦
I looked down next to where I was sitting. There was a puddle of muddy water churning as more water was being added to it. I remembered how we used to float paper boats. Cliched, but I wonder that my daughter has never done this. It is an exercise of satisfaction. Watching your little boat float atop the muddy puddles. Laying a spider on the boat and watching him scoot on your craft.
I guess my children will never experience this joy. We, my brother and I, we have had so much fun. I used to bring pups, and kittens from all over the neighbourhood. My mom would be gracious enough to offer them milk and bread. She didn’t entertain my pleas of keeping them at home, or we would have had an animal shelter of sorts in our small 2 BHK Vasai home. But she never told me that I was dumb for liking animals. She always gave them a bowl of milk if nothing else. Other than the regular pups and kittens, we also caught dragonflies, and an occasional chameleon.
I was your typical vagabond, tomboy, devil-may-care child. My clothes always ended up dirty at the end of the day. My face always ended up scratched. My hair was always messed up. I was happy.
I once ended up with a deep gash right near my right eyebrow. Vishal would remember. My childhood best buddy. My chuddi-buddy. We were running along the compound wall of our building. It was raining and the wall was covered in moss. I mis-timed and fell face down in the mud. A sharp rock cut a gash on my right eyebrow, narrowly missing my eye. I only cried when mom scolded me for being careless. Other than that, I was happy. I still show off that scar as a medal-of-honour.
Meeting my would-be husband in the rains. The memory of the first rush of love. The excitement, the expectations. The romance behind it all. He had come all the way from Indore to meet me. It was raining. He was waiting for me, an umbrella in his hand. I got off the rickshaw, to see him smiling right across the street.
The memory of him saying goodbye because he was leaving for Indore. My tears mixed up with the rainwater. Ah, rains! The havoc they play with your emotions 🙂
A rain picnic. All the doctor ladies in our town decided to take a trip to my friend Shweta’s farmhouse. Only ladies and kids. The only two girls being me and Shweta. I wasn’t planning on getting wet. You know, it’s the growing-up thing. Child-woman. Being a child, wanting to be a woman. But once there, seeing the kids playing in the rain, I lamented not bringing along any extra clothes.
Being me, it didn’t stop me. I grabbed Shweta’s dad’s lungi and t-shirt. She wore his shorts and t-shirt. We played football with the kids in the puddles that day. It was one of the best days of my life.
I was happy. I am happy. The enthusiasm has toned down a notch, and the memories only surface on special days. But when they do, they take me back to the old me. The carefree me.
I caught myself smiling unaware, when my daughter’s bus rolled in. She was wearing her own raincoat. We skipped in the puddles on our way home.
Giggling, both of us.
We are happy.