Even though in our coastal metropolis the rain is not looked upon as anything more than a hindrance to our routine commuting, I wish to remind you that in any case, rain only craves for new eyes to witness it.
When I think of the rain in Bombay, I think of the veiled women in burqas running for shelter, or angry fisherwomen cursing the downpour as they haul in their catch. A year's dust settled on the leaves washed off in one day. I think of school, which begins around this time of the year-- Children walking around at dawn with swollen faces and umbrellas in their reds and greens and blues, and in all the other colours that life can bring. I think of those few people who take the time to fold paper into boats and watch them float by in streams that crawl their way towards the ocean. I think of people getting washed by the raging waves at Marine Drive, or those without any umbrellas halting at chai-wallas, talking about unexpected things. I think about the roads veiled with the wilted flowers of Gulmohars and their open empty seed shells.
In Bombay, it always rains twice. Once from the skies, and then when the trees and rooftops drip. The rain pours and runs over the streets at night and not a single trace of it can be found the next day. Sometimes it rains for days incessantly, with not a single ray of light crawling beyond the clouds. And at times not a single drop appears for days. It is almost as if the rain cares little for yesterday's triumphs and tomorrow's consistency. It dances in the present and vanishes as the fleeting moment slips through our hands.
The rain has a unique ability, to align questions with no apparent answers. Questions about love, about life, about the balance of everything. Even the driest of persons become nothing short of philosophers and poets, quoting poems from fat leather bound books and ancient proverbs. The rain answers none of their questions anyway.
I remember a childhood in much simpler times when as the smell of the first rains wafted through our homes we ran out with windows in our hands to play football in grounds filled with mud. And returned home covered in mud, drenched. Children now do not care for this. They prefer remaining indoors with the fear of getting hurt or falling ill in the rain. This question, however, has no answer. As generations have passed by, the essence of childhood-- innocence and optimism have been replaced by staunch pragmatism. In any case, a life that revolves around what ifs leaves very little place to make mistakes. After all, how does one learn to rise, if one does not learn to fall first?