Even though I have spent my entire childhood and the first part of my adulthood in Kolkata, where rain means water clogged dirty roads for days, power cuts, traffic jam, minimum food and water supply I never could hate rainy season. No I am not insane, or hopelessly romantic. I just loved everything about rain.
Back in my home in Kolkata we had a huge front-yard. That time it was not considered as proper Kolkata. It was a suburb, may be still it is. From main gate to our front porch we had to cross at least 20 meters of greenery with full of different kinds of trees, plants and interesting creatures. Right beside the main gate my grandfather had his dispensary, where he saw patients.
Our life was very laid back then compared to the life we have now. Yet we hardly had any time to feel bored or to be precise hardly had enough time to have all the fun we could possibly have within 24hrs. In our little jungle we had so many squirrels, few mongoose, snakes, earthworms, snails, dragonflies, butterflies, so many types of birds, visiting cats and our pet dogs. We even had sometimes neighbor’s hens visiting us with her babies. We had flowers, those bloomed during different time of the day and night. We had coconut, mango, papaya, guava, pomegranate etc trees to fill our untimely hunger. If I and my brother were not wrestling or playing together or with our respective friends or watching movies, cartoons on tv or sometimes studying too, we would be staring at those trees, creatures, smelling the flowers, running around after the dragonflies, inspecting everything or eating the fruits in our garden. We even had all the patience and time to watch snails or caterpillars walking. It was a wonderful jungle for us with full of extraordinary lives. Our days and nights were packed.
During every rainy season when it would pour continuously for 2-3 days and the roads would be filled and blocked with water, our schools would declare “rainy day”. And what fun that used to be. Every single member would be at home feeling cozy, fuzzy, playful and looking forward to the special lunch of Khichdi, spicy dum aloo, pieces of brinjal fried in mustard oil and a very special Omlet. And while we wait for the lunch, we would make paper boats for the little river in our front-yard. We would watch the boats floating till they are soggy and crashed by the rain drops. If we were lucky we might get to see some snakes floating too. And if we were extra lucky to have it rained so much that the water level of local pond and street has reached an extraordinary level that fishes in the pond thought of having exotic holiday, we might even see them floating in front of us.
After lunch I and my brother would make tents with bed sheets or wet sarees kept to dry inside the room and play. If we can’t manage to convince ma or grandma to use those sheets or sarees we would just open our umbrellas and join them together to make tent. And how amazingly our little bodies used to fit perfectly inside those tents. Happiness was free and overflowing back those days.
Power cut during such rainy nights were very common those days. If it was a cable fault in our locality we had to wait till it was morning. And that made it more interesting. We used to have runaway frogs hiding from the snakes as our guest in the porch and they would sing for us too. On such evenings I, ma, and brother would be sitting or lying in the floor around the kerosene lamp reading books or trying to make figures with shadows in the wall and then occasionally we would break into giggles. Grandpa would be sitting nearby in his chair lost in his thoughts. Now I know that he used to get lost in his childhood memories like I am doing right now. Grandma would be sitting in sofa or lying in bed beside my aunt taking rest. Most of the days baba wouldn’t be so lucky like us and would be having office.
Our doors used to be wide open back those days till it was time for everyone to go to sleep after dinner. We all would be around very close to each other. All the sounds of nature along with rain would be so loud that at times it would make me feel dizzy and contented if I concentrated for long. And then once my brother discovered a way of listening music in our landline phone. He would dial some numbers and request for some songs and it would play in the loudspeaker. I thought my 9yrs younger brother was a hero, a miracle boy. He was. He would play my most favorite song “nothing gonna change my love for you” without knowing it was my most favorite. And I would think “This is magic. This is dream.”.
I would go to sleep while listening to raindrops or thunderstorms. I would suddenly remember and be sad for the homeless people or beggars whom I saw other day. But then I would drift into selfish sleep in my comfortable bed holding my grandma or my tiny brother. I would sleep well. And then if I woke up to a almost bright sunny day next morning I would summon my brother and we would sing and shout in chorus…
“Rain rain come again,
Go away another day.”
We used to twist and change the lines obviously to fit our needs. Some days rain would be generous and listen to us and we would think it actually listens to us.
I still love rain. But the problem is that half of my magical world is dead, the miracle boy is all grown up, we don’t have much time to sit around together, the windows are closed due to the fear of dengue, the door is locked all day and I live far far away from my favorite jungle. Wish we could call back our childhood and it would be generous enough to oblige us like rain.