Last month it was raining as I was leaving for work and it was raining yesterday too. Rains bring back a lot of memories. Rains have a way of making us feel good and feel depressed sometimes. Rains evoke different emotions in people. A lot of people I know like to enjoy a quiet snooze when it rains. The sound of the rains tapping on the windowpane and falling on the street lulls them to sleep while some have been known to enjoy a piping hot meal when it rains. It hardly rains in the Midwest region where I stay and when it rains, it is usually light rain or light drizzles which is nothing compared to heavy rains we have in India where sometimes it rains continuously for 2-3 days flooding the roads and low lying buildings disrupting life and transportation. Television images of vehicles and people wading through knee-high water are a sight to watch. We were so used to the rains every year that in class tests when we were asked to name the four seasons of the year most of us included a fifth season ' the rainy season. And it was difficult to understand when the teacher explained to us there were only four seasons ' Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and the rainy season was not actually a season.
In the west rains are usually associated with feelings of sadness and despondence but in India it is usually associated with romance, rejuvenation of life and joy. The heavy rains are known to inspire poets to write and the thunder and lightning, which accompanies such rains, are likened to the gods and demons warring in the heavens. There is an old Hindi film song that goes 'dum dum digha digha mausam bigha bigha....'. In fact there is also an entire Hindustani raga- 'Raga Megh Malhar' devoted to the rains.
I still remember the day I sat on a high stool by my balcony watching the rain as it fell down in torrents. I was just 8 years old then but the scene is imprinted fresh in my memory. It had filled me with happiness and excitement to watch the rain then and the rain had splashed onto the stool wetting the hem of my dress and I had sat for hours watching it as it fell down. Over the years I had a sort of love-hate relationship with the rains. I walked to school in the pouring rain sometimes and that was when I was a little disenchanted with the rains. As we sat on the classroom benches in our wet clothes, the wet uniform clung to the wet skin itching the skin giving goose bumps on the skin and a creepy crawly feeling. Still it was fun when I remembered to take the raincoat with me when I left home. The raindrops would splash on the face, kissing the skin but otherwise I was dry. But then the wet raincoat was bit of a hassle to dry and sometimes left a kind of sticky oil on the surface and that was when we graduated to an umbrella.
Carrying the umbrella around made us feel sort of grown up and important but the umbrella had its own disadvantages. Sometimes there was a microscopic hole in places where the spokes met the cloth. The rain poured from such holes partially wetting us and the humble umbrella was no match against the mighty winds that accompanied such rains. Many times the umbrella twisted and upturned slipping out of our grasp and falling onto the side of the road. All my adolescent college years were filled with anger at the rain. By the time I changed trains and buses and reached my college I was all wet and the sticky mud and dirt on the platforms and the street would scratch and sting my feet. And one had to be always watchful for big trucks and buses which drove over potholes filled with pools of muddy water inevitably spraying dirty water on to the clothes of anybody who happened to be walking closely.
Still nature shows off some of her beauty during the rains. Dark clouds hovering in the sky over a scenic beach with coconut palms swaying in the rainy breeze is the usual picture on a postcard or advertisement for a tourist destination. And of course one of the unforgettable memories of childhood is of children playing in the puddles and rainwater running in ripples across the road and the sweet smell of the earth after the rains. Every dark cloud has a silver lining they say and this is so literally true the sun shining through the rim of the dark clouds looks beautiful as if the cloud has a silver lining and all the trees look so green and washed and the water glistening on the leaves looks like beads of pearls shining on the leaves.
You never know whether the rains make you sad or happy next there were times when it rained when I was happy and it made me happier and sometimes it rained on my bad days and made me sad and more depressed. So I guess I can never be happy or angry at the rains. Rains are a part of life and a part of nature.