'Rain, rain go away, come again another day, little Johnny wants to play,' tattles my little cousin. The boy was naturally reflecting my own feeling. For, I too was waiting in fact wishing, for a respite from the heavy downpour so that I can venture out in the rain my clothes getting drenched, which is what happens even with an umbrella! The monsoon has just arrived. These are just the first lashes.
Mumbaikars generally receive the onset of monsoon with trepidation. What with water-logging wherever you turn, the roads turning muddy and slushy, gutter over flowing, tracks inundated in water, trains service disorganized, landing up in office invariably late, stranded for hours at VT or Churchgate after a hard day's toil, donning that uncomfortable raincoats whenever you go out or carrying the inevitable umbrella and finally losing the same, the unavoidable traffic jams, dead phones (they are even otherwise not alive. But the MTNL has a ready excuse this season). Water freely enters building compounds or even inside some of the flats.
You avoid the footpath or a sidewalk and straightaway venture on the road because you are scared of an open manhole lying underwater like a tiger stealthily waiting with its mouth wide open to devour its prey! Or may be, you can't differentiate a gutter from a footpath!
Again, you are scared to walk by the side of old buildings of our gullies and bylanes. For, the dilapidated building may, at any time, collapse on your head and finish you on the spot.
Shopping has to be quick affair. No strolling or roaming around holidays. You, wife and kids are all down with frequent cold, cough and fever. And umpteen other inconveniences, discomforts and disgusts. Every plan of yours goes haywire dampening your spirit. For every important work to be done, according to its importance 'is barsaat ko zara jaane do,' or 'is barsaat ko zara rukne do,' are the common refrain.
Here is something to bolster you. Unless our Vaitarnas, Vihars, Tulsis and Tansas overflow, can we have potable water in good measure? Can we afford to have a good bath splashing buckets-full of water, for the rest of the year? Can the farmers have a good crop to provide us with grains and vegetables in abundance and at times cheap?
Come to think of it, people elsewhere perform yagnas, play music and observe even fasts and wait for Cauvery and Krishna to condescend, open taps only to hear whistles, stand in queue for hours to get rationed water being supplied in tankers and that too every two or three days in several places, trekking miles to get a potful of that survival liquid, digging borewells only to get mud, mud and mud, the sight of the long stretch of parched land pains our heart. If those hapless brethren expect some visitors, then the former asks for a bucket of water to be brought along with them! We are lucky. Hasn't Lord Varuna been kind to us all these years?