My love of rains

I formed a positive association with rains at a very early age. Summers in Delhi are harsh. By mid-May temperatures hover in the 40-45ºC range in the afternoon, and rarely dip below 30ºC in the nights. All this would be compounded by long, untimely powercuts depriving you of even a fan - in temperatures that otherwise need air-conditioning to cope with. On a number of nights, I would wake up stewing in my sweat and wonder what had I done do deserve this misery.

On other nights I’d lie in my bed listening to songs that had sounds of thunder and rain and pretend that it’s raining outside.

And then the Monsoons would try to make it up to you. The phrase too little, too late’ could be applied to the Monsoons in Delhi with remarkable regularity. Come August, and the wind in Delhi would turn so heavy with humidity, that it would begin to weigh you down. This would make the last days of summer (with maximum temperatures still above 35ºC) quite unbearable. And then one day, the skies would open up. The newspapers next morning would be full of pictures of traffic jams on waterlogged roads. A picture of a bus trapped in water under Minto Bridge would inadvertently be there on the front page. The power cuts would continue and on some days actually become worse. But the temperatures (at least in the evenings) would be pleasant enough for you to sleep through the night without a fan.

When I left Bangalore, the summers there were beginning to get a little warmer, but thankfully, were no where close to being as traumatic as summers in Delhi. Even on hottest of days, a pleasant cool breeze would magically transpire to keep you cool. After sunset, the city would cool down rapidly and I don’t remember a single night when I lost sleep because it was too warm. Still, I carried my pleasant associations with rain to Bangalore. The pre-monsoon showers would begin by March-end and it would rain regularly all the way till October. It was also my favourite time for traveling all over Karnataka but especially to the lush, rainy hills in Coorg and Chikmagalur.

Lush, rainy hills of ChikamaglurLush, rainy hills of Chikamaglur

In Amsterdam, it’s Monsoon every day. The city is under a cloud cover for almost the entire year. It’s also very windy. As a result you rarely get something resembling a torrential downpour. Rain here feels as if a barber’s water spray is being blown into your face. My pleasant associations with rains have come with me all the way here. On a Monday morning, when I look through our window at a feeble sunrise through layers and layers of rapidly shifting grey clouds, I actually get excited about my commute to work. On days when it’s freezing cold, and I am outside in the rain with an umbrella that I can’t open because the speed of wind would render the whole exercise pointless, I look at the sky (rain lashing my face, water droplets streaking through my hair) and finding myself unable to contain my joy, laugh like a man possessed.

A typical Monday morning in AmsterdamA typical Monday morning in Amsterdam

A typical Monday morning in AmsterdamA typical Monday morning in Amsterdam

May 3, 2012