BENGALURU: The meteorological department has predicted ample rains through the country in the next few days. The rains, brought in by the southwest monsoon winds, do nothing for me these days. Especially for me, as I grew up in Odisha. Most people peg their life according to the years they passed class 10 and 12. We Odiyas peg our lives based on the years of the cyclone and ‘Super’ cyclone!
I have always believed that it is only children who truly enjoy the rains. There is a stolen joy in running around when asked not to. In splashing across puddles, in dancing in the rain with your friends as the heavens begin to pour. In school being called off due to the rains.
But once you grow up, rains become rather subjective. How much you enjoy it completely depends on where you are in life. Your reaction to the rains is a reflection of how high up you are on the social ladder.
The rich react differently to rains. If you travel in a car and stay in a flat that is firmly isolated from the rains – there is nothing more beautiful! There is the much romanticised ‘smell of wet mud in the rain’.
A smell that has been spoken about, and sung about, and given a posh name - Petrichor - that sounds like the French version of Kurkure. There is the pitter-patter of rain drops that remind you of days gone by, that make you ponder about life in general.
However, if you belong to the middle-class like me, the rains are nothing but a chronic pain in the posterior. There is traffic - the unexpected showers from cars that pass you by. Then there is the feeling of raindrops trickling down your back - a feeling that can only be described as the opposite of the ‘awakening of the kundalini’. It is particularly difficult for me as a stand-up comedian. I set out for a show - dressed like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. By the time I reach the venue, I resemble Tom Hanks in Cast Away!
Then there are strange products that are brought out during the rains.
There are the umbrellas - a technology that hasn’t witnessed a single innovation since the 16th century. Walk with your umbrella in the rains, and suddenly, you’re holding it back from turning upside down and sending diabolical messages to aliens. Then there are raincoats - walk in them for half an hour and you begin to feel like an abductor of street children. There is simply no way a middle-class man can appear graceful and genteel during the rains.
Your reaction to the rains is completely a reflection of your position in the society. The rich and the affluent like to romanticise and sentimentalise the condensation of clouds. For them, everyday life is a scene from Singin’ in the Rain. Middle-class folks, well, like to walk in the rain so that nobody can see the tears that well up in their eyes. Thanks to cars, the traffic, umbrellas and raincoats!