Dancing in the Rain

The rainy season had been my favourite season since childhood. In India, the monsoon starts by June end and lasts till about September. All the trees which are dried up become lush green again, landscapes that had turned amber in colour were now dark green. As I mentioned in my earlier post, that my childhood was in Jabalpur. It is a small city in Madhya Pradesh, which experiences extreme weather conditions, hence summers are blisteringly hot and winters send a chilled nerve! It is one of the reasons that monsoons were eagerly foreseen. On a blazing hot day when it rained for the very first time, all the kids of the society would gather down and dance to the tunes of rain! We would make paper boats and let it sail in the monsoon paddles. The scent of soil after the first rain is still fresh in my mind. In school, it was hardly a month of the new session that the heavy monsoons would follow. If it poured the entire night and the morning too, there were high chances that school would remain closed! I would be happy beyond words if I came back from school as it was closed.

In the rainy season, it is a treat to watch River Narmada and the Bargi dam built on it. This beautiful and huge river bypasses Jabalpur. It is one of the most sacred rivers of India. Jabalpur has a splendid waterfall named Bhedaghat. River Narmada is considered a very unruly river, hence, the waterfalls with so much force that it seems as if tons of milk is flowing with high intensity and creating a froth. Near Jabalpur, it’s path is through the hills of marble, boat ride here is a treat for eyes. The sight of the river is very magnificent here. But during high rains, and a full moon it wasn’t considered safe for a boat ride. The water levels in the falls lower during summer but by July-August, the waterfall becomes almost unnoticeable, as the river has already risen to its full level. This is the reason river floods frequently.

Bhedaghat Waterfall in the month of January
River Narmada flowing through the rocks

Home Coming through the Floods

I have an enthralling and incredible experience of monsoon to narrate you. This is the story of Archana, who belonged to a small town of Katni near Jabalpur and was studying Engineering from Indore. She is a dear friend and classmate of my dear friend, Soni Tai (Tai in Marathi means an elder sister). Soni tai was my neighbour in Jabalpur. She moved to Indore to pursue Engineering. There she developed an endearing friendship with Archana. Archana then was a simple and naive girl from Katni. This incident dated about 25 years back. She was for the very first time traveling alone to her home town for celebrating Rakhi festival. As she could not get a confirmed railway ticket, hence she opted to take a bus from Indore to Katni. It is a long route of about 12-13 hours and it was pouring heavily for the last two days. As the bus reached near Damoh, (a small town on the way) the bridge connecting to the other city was beginning to submerged in the river. Some people took a minibus and crossed the bridge through the water. The water was filling in a great speed so the next minibus was unable to cross the bridge. People who were remaining took boats and crossed the river. It was evening now, and the Sun was about to set. Archana was fully drenched and had no clue as how to reach Katni now. At that time a man noticed her and asked, “I stay nearby with my mother, would you like to stay at my house tonight? Tomorrow morning I can help you find another transport to your destination.” Archana was very confused, but what option did she have? Those times the mobile phone was not part of our lifestyles. So, she had to make her own decisions, and she agreed to go with him. In a simple hand-driven boat on the flooded river in the rainy evening, she went with an unknown man. The evening soon turned into night, a night Archana would never forget. It wasn’t easy to reach his house in the heavy rains and drenched clothes, moreover, the road ahead was submerged in water neck deep. It had been many hours that she was traveling in the heavy rains and she very tired by now. Finally they reached his home at 3 am and Archana was shivering with a high fever. Even though she was told about his mother, still seeing her was a sigh of relief. His mother like a true mother helped her feel comfortable. His mother not only served fresh dinner with love and affection but also took good care of her. The next morning after having tea and breakfast the man dropped her to the nearby Bus stop and she could directly find a bus to Katni. She was left with no money but that man gave her money not just for tickets but also some for the journey. She had no words to thank the man and his affectionate mother. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she was taking his leave. She felt like they were God sent for her help. Archana was really lucky to experience humanity and purity of intentions. This incident made her belief in God, in humanity rock firm. Archana looked at the positive side of the story instead of crying over the hardships. However, this innocent young girl no more had an affinity with monsoons now.

A trek through the Clouds

When I shifted to Pune for my higher studies, my love for rains grew deeper. In monsoons, the city turns into a mini hill station which is beautifully covered by a green blanket. The rains of Pune were absolutely different than that of Jabalpur. But Pune’s rainfall is very romantic. It seldom pours heavily but continues throughout the day, in fact, day after days it keeps showering lightly. Having a book in hand, coffee by my side and a view of dripping rain from the window was my idea of happiness. However, peace required to read a book is missing nowadays as kids create ruckus in the house most of the time.

In Pune, there is a trend, to visit Sinhagad Fort during rains. This fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj many years ago. It is a mountain fort build on Sahyadri range. I visited this fort many times. When I was a student in Pune, I visited this fort for the very first time along with my friends on the two-wheelers. On the way, many local vendors sell roasted (on coal) and spiced sweet corns (Bhutta/Kanis) which are fresh and tasty. It is a beautiful sight to stop on the way, sit on the parked scooter and look at the clouds hiding the mountains and enjoy drizzling rain. After having Bhutta we went ahead and reached the fort entrance. The trek to the top of the fort is not very difficult but very picturesque indeed, especially in monsoons. As we reached the top of the fort the view is worth all the trek. the peaks look mesmerizing in monsoons. There are only two colours visible during those times, grey, which the colour of sky and clouds and green colour of the greenery ambiguously spread everywhere. It feels like walking in the clouds. After enjoying the trek in the rain while returning we relished the tempting Kande Bhaji and Jhunka Bhakar with steaming hot Adrakwali Chai There is no other pleasure like having Bhaji and Chai in that weather and that place.

PS: The trek is very easy even children above 6-7 years can easily see the fort. Cars and bikes are allowed until the entrance of the fort. But if you plan to visit in monsoons and public holidays please consider traffic which can be quite problematic in the ghat road during rains.

The view from the top of the fort

A Romantic Evening

Later I shifted to Mumbai. Rains in Mumbai are very different than that of Pune. It not just has the potential to stop the traffic but also to stop all public transport including the local trains. If it is raining heavily the entire day, the city comes to a standstill. People of Mumbai have some bitter memories of Mumbai rains, Unfortunately, those memories ruined the good memories too. However, I remembered a mesmerizing story of the Mumbai monsoon which I will share with you. It was probably last week of May or first week of June. I was going to meet Paresh that evening for a dinner date, but it was raining very heavily that day. So, we both were very skeptical about our meet. Those were the golden days of our courtship. Like many of you, I too cherish those days of my life. We did not know each other before, as our’s was an arranged marriage. So it was this time that we started understanding each other. It was a Saturday evening and fortunately, the rains stopped in the evening, so the plan was still on! Paresh came to pick me at my PG. I think my roomies were more excited about my date, so they helped me dressed and get ready. I was wearing a Black dress with some contemporary stone jewellery. I was glad all the efforts of my roomies were fruitful and I received lots of compliments. We first went to a classy restaurant in South Mumbai. After having a wonderful time at dinner we went to Marine Drive. This place looks beautiful during nights, illuminated by the street lights at the edge of the Arabian sea, the curved road looks like a necklace. The breeze is pleasant and refreshing. We sat there looking at the waves of the sea in drizzling rain for hours together. Leaning on his shoulders I neither felt tired, not sleepy. Whenever I think of that beautiful evening it always brings a smile on my face.

It is one year that we shifted to Germany now. I miss the monsoon of India. There is no rainy season here. It rains round the year and in winter there is snowfall. So the eagerness or the fun of waiting for the monsoon no longer exist. The other thing that I miss about Indian monsoon is singing and dancing in the rain. Here, in Munich, and I guess many other parts of Europe and even the rest of the world there is no fun of getting wet in the rain. The enjoyment of first rain is also something I really miss.

With the rainfall, temperature drops drastically and then, rain can only be viewed from the window with a mug of tea/coffee not out in open like India. The seasons here are also very colourful and spectacular. Like I feel Summer is associated with green colour here since the temperature rises and trees are green. Autumn or the fall is associated with Amber colour, as leaves dries and fall. Winter has associated with white due to snowfall and absence of leaves on the trees. and with Spring all colour make a comeback with tulips, daffodils and roses. Spring everywhere denotes regeneration. But amongst all these seasons my favourite season monsoon is missing, maybe that was the reason I missed monsoons too here.

स्वच्छंद मनासारखा तू कधी तरी नाचत ये….
कधी तरी तू रमत गमत स्मित हास्य घेऊन ये…
कधी तू लय बद्ध होतो आणि कधी निराकार ताने सारखा वाटतो…
ये रे ये रे पावसा… तुझ्या पासून कोण अलिप्त राहू शकतो !!

निरागस बालपणासारखा… तू सर्वांनाच प्रेम स्पर्श देतो….
पहिल्या प्रेमासारखा पहिला पाऊस पण अविस्स्मरणिय असतो.
मैत्रीच्या नात्यासारखा तू मला निखळ सजीव वाटतो..
ये रे ये रे पावसा… तुझ्या पासून कोण अलिप्त राहू शकतो !!

बालपणचे खेळ मी तुझ्या सोबत खेळले …
प्रेमाच्या पाऊसात मी चिम्ब भिजले …
तूला पाहून मनातला ताण सगळं क्षणात हरवून जातो…
ये रे ये रे पावसा… तुझ्या पासून कोण अलिप्त राहू शकतो !!

नकळ्त आयुष्याचे पानं उलटले…
ऋतू बदलले…. प्रांत देखील बदलले…
तुझी वाट पाहण्याची गंमत मात्र पूर्वी सारखी नसते….
ये रे ये रे पावसा… तुझ्या पासून मी कशी अलिप्त राहू शकते !!

पावसा, तुझा ना रंग ना रूप ना आकार….
तरी दिसतो तू मला सजीव आणि साकार…
परदेशात तू मला भेटलास तरीही आपलसा का नाही वाटत?
ये रे ये रे पावसा… तुझ्या पासून मी अलिप्तनाही राहू शकत !!

Meenal

8 thoughts on “Dancing in the Rain

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