I used to love rain. Everything about water streaming down the heavens to flow down the top-of-my-head to the tips-of-my-toes spoke to me of being magically cleansed of my worries, of life’s daily trials and tribulations. Frolicking in the rain, unmindful about how I looked, how dirty this water may be, whether (or not) anyone was watching I felt free, somehow, and so very-very happy. I think this love for rain must have been inherited. For as long as I can remember, rain was something to celebrate in my house. A standard request for pakoras (of the assorted sort: aloo, baingan, spicy-green-chilies, onions, and ofcourse the inevitable mix when not enough of any one ingredient is left to make a substantial batch) would be issued, and a giddy excitement would hit every resident of my house. My father was always the first one out in the rain, with my brother and I following suit and then – eventually – my mother. I remember how we used to inventively come up with adventures like climbing up the spiral staircase battling the water flooding down, to reach the rooftop to dance in the rain. I remember singing songs in tune with my father’s voice. He loved to sing, and his voice was beautiful: strong, sweet and pure. (He used to sing me to sleep when I was a baby I’m told. Perhaps that’s how I acquired my love for music). On slower, mellow-er rainy days I remember sitting out on the back verandah with my family on the large wooden jhoolah my parents put up after they got rid of the tacky-steel swings of our childhood days. Lounging on the plush brown silky-velvety swing with matching throw pillows (but ofcourse), protected from the rain by the shelter of the sloping tin-roof-type-thing we sipped tea and enjoyed getting gently wet while we talked. We spoke of inconsequential things interspersed with philosophical discussions, always with gossip appropriately thrown in. And then when talking became boring, we’d always go back to square one: running around the rain, getting thoroughly wet. Only to come back inside eventually, get scolded by my mother and thrown into various showers and bathtubs to get wet some more, but return clean. Clean and ready to eat freshly-fried pakoras and have some more tea while we celebrated the rain from the inside.
But today, when I look outside the window of my suddenly-lonely house I see water descending enthusiastically from the skies and I feel none of the excitement I-used-to-feel once upon a time when life was simple. Instead, I remember how this time last year when my father and us (those-who-remained-after-he-was-gone) enjoyed the rain, as we used to do. I sit out on the swing almost alone, sipping tea and looking at the rainy crescendo and realize that it doesn’t make me happy anymore. Even then the chaos: the thunder, lightning and heavy-heavy rain seem oddly appropriate. Today, when it rains, the rain cries with me.