Rains. They trickle down my being every time I experience them. They bring up these alive memories with all their scent, taste, wetness and humidity.
My clearest childhood memories of rain are of that small town that Dad was posted at, and that snug house we lived in. Those houses would always have verandahs, and we would invariably make tiny paper boats and float them on the streets. Then Mom would call us in, and place a chair in the verandah for me to sit and watch the rain. Bhaiya would climb the bicycle kept at the side and would cycle backwards, speaking incoherent stuff with such ingenuity that it sounded like a language. It would always crack me up. When I say that, I picture myself laughing an insane childhood laughter, thinking for the infinite time, how amazing and funny and wonderful my brother was, while looking outside so as not to miss even a tiny bit of the rain. Mom would place the tea pan on one side of the gas stove, and the kadahi with pakodas on the other. We would never have electricity when it rained. So I would sit on the verandah and imagine Mom cooking in the kitchen while the scent of pakodas filled my nostrils. I would wonder why she would rather cook and not come out and enjoy the rain.
I loved watching those droplets that moved over the wires on the street and then fell down, giving way for newer drops. That sight could entertain me endlessly. I would ask my brother silly questions about gravity and the water cycle, and he would enthusiastically explain them to me. I was always fascinated with the water cycle. I would imagine a far-away sea from where enough water would have evaporated to form those beautiful thunderous clouds. I had never seen a sea. Rains would always kindle my craving to be near a sea.
I loved sniffing Mom's aanchal. She smelled of detergent, starch, pond's talc and of the incense that she would light everyday after bath. She always smelled the same, but you could never have enough of that smell. Sometimes, she would play the tape on battery. We had very few cassettes, and the song being played would most probably be from Abhimaan. It would float out to the verandah, filling the spongy place inside my heart, that would soak that music forever. As childhood.
But then, rains also made me think of the birds, whose houses would be destroyed. I would think of where the dogs would go, until it would dawn upon me that there were people whose houses would be flooded and destroyed too. I would imagine Papa working in his office, oblivious to the rain, and I would feel very very sad for him. I would wonder whether the paper boat would have made it outside the gully. I would find that out, once the rain would stop. And in the triumph or loss of whose boat made it how far, I would forget all about the birds, the dogs and the homeless people.