Thursday, November 27, 2008

Raindrops

I wake up to mom warning my sister she’d not wake her up again and that she was already late for school. My eyes are screaming to stay shut, while my feet drag themselves lazily to the wash basin. The gloomy weather outside only furthers the temptation to go back to bed. A coffee and a bath later, I’m all set for the day. I walk down to the gate only to realize I can’t walk further. The road is completely inundated, and there’s no way I’m spoiling my shoes walking in the dirty water.

“No school today!”, mom announces and I wake up with a jolt. Genuine happiness or relief or whatever emotion you may choose to call it, surges through me, in perfect harmony with the steady sound of the pouring Bombay rain. Here comes Complan! As I savour the newly introduced coffee flavoured drink, I switch on the television. What better way to start a day than sip your favourite drink watching Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel! The “new millennium” being around the corner is the buzzword everywhere, and I haven’t found it immature yet to stop watching Cartoon Network. I don’t think I will ever.

The railway station is a hundred meters away, yet I will never make it without my socks getting completely soaked. Wet socks and air-conditioning (they make sure its on at all the wrong times) make a deadly combination. The last thing I want is turning the routine fake smiles into genuine twitches of disgust. Ten bucks to an auto driver and I am at the moderately long queue, waiting to buy my return ticket. And today is one of those rare occasions in a human being’s life… I haven’t taken my mobile phone with me.

It’s been just a week since the new cycle came. My excitement hasn’t yet died down, and after about half an hour of cartoons, I put on my raincoat and step outside. Mom’s repeated “be careful”s are kind of irritating, but she’s only concerned. The sound of big rain drops hitting the rain-cap is music to my ears. I get on my cycle and pedal fast, the raindrops hitting me with more force the faster I pedal. The road’s more or less empty and I sing out loud even as I realize there wouldn’t be a point trying to slow down, and that even if I did, there was no way the brakes would cooperate. I’m singing louder. I smile.

I buy a newspaper for company. Half an hour of travel in a relatively empty train without a mobile phone can be mentally distressing. The train arrives. I board, get a window seat, the side where water wouldn’t spray even if it rained outside. Half an hour in that seat, ten minutes of reading the newspaper and twenty minutes of getting bored of the newspaper, sitting idle, and the journey itself. Twenty minutes I could’ve used thinking of something constructive, maybe a poem, maybe philosophizing where life was heading, maybe asking myself questions about the things that needed attention in life. None. I spend twenty minutes thinking about absolutely nothing. I know it’s impossible to think about nothing, but a bunch of incoherent random thoughts amounts to more or less the same. I get down and get to office, something routine, the only change today being, I hold an umbrella over my head all the way.

I stop pedaling, and eventually come to a halt. I remove my raincoat, for it makes no sense anyway in this downpour. Might as well get completely drenched for I haven’t taken bath yet. Cycling without a raincoat is a far better experience, for I can pedal faster, I feel lighter, and its way more thrilling! And now I have a friend for company too. He’s bunked school, while I wonder how his school even thought of working today. Today isn’t the day to talk about Lucky Ali’s latest song or the World Cup that’s just ended. It’s time to race in the rain!!

I’m sipping coffee two hours into work. The coffee isn't quite the same as what mom makes. But it’s at least better than having none at all. The rain hasn’t let up yet. I watch through the glass window, five floors below, a kid on the road chasing another. There are smiles on their faces, and I’m sure laughter too, though I can’t hear it from where I am. Rain drops create blurred moulds on the window glass, cleaning it of any dirt there might be as they drip. I wish it rained on the mind too…cleansing it of dirt, confusion and every speck of negativity, making it clear and transparent as the window glass. The air conditioning is on, and it’s cold. I wonder if it’s as cool outside too. I would have to go outside to find out. And there’s work…