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Nostalgia and the rains April 2, 2006

Posted by espritnoir in Bandstand Stories, Random Thoughts....

As I began dressing for work early in the morning a couple of weeks back, I heard a distant rumble. Thunder? Couldn’t be, must be something else, it’s just mid-March. Anyway, the skies looked clear enough. Hmmm, it would be good to have rains though, I said to myself, as I stepped into the elevator. And as I step out of the elevator, the first rains of the year hit me. A slight drizzle, actually. But, the air was already laced with the aroma of the wet earth. To me it’s probably the most wonderful fragrance in the world. Petrichor. The scent of life.

By the time I reached work, the early morning drizzle had given way to a full fledged off seasonal shower, that was to last almost the whole day. And although, I knew its just a one off shower, and the monsoons were still months away, I couldn’t help but smile. The rains just make me feel different. Make me alive. And all it takes is an off-seasonal shower to get the best monsoon memories flood my mind. (No pun intended). And give me a theme for another rambling post…

Two years spent in Pune, doing my post-grad in some godforsaken college, mostly getting an education in life, outside college, rather than in it. Two years of the most bittersweet memories of my life. One sweet memory is of a night a couple of days before I was to leave for Bombay. As I was returning to my rented apartment after my exam, the weather suddenly changed. Now May is normally peak of summer in India. Rains clouds gathered overhead, and by 6:00 in the evening, darkness had enveloped the city. Just after I reached home, within ten minutes or so, the dark clouds opened up. Rains! Followed by thunder and lightening. In the middle of summer! One of the simplest joys in life is getting wet in the first rains of the year, something which I can never resist. I raced up to the terrace, and was greeted with the most amazing display of lights I had ever seen. Lightening flashes blazed across the gray sky, and lit up the night like millions and millions of streaks of bluish-white electricity, that light up for a second, and then go dark again. And light up again, and go dark again. And again. And again. And again. It felt like Nature was putting up a stunning display of sound and light just for me. If you love the rains as much as I do, there is no feeling like the rain falling on your body, cleansing your mind, your soul. Opening up in sweet surrender to the infinite power and beauty of the elements. And something happened to me that night. I know it sounds crazy, but all alone on the terrace, completely drenched, I began dancing. It must have been one crazy sight, had anybody seen me that night. A wet, out of shape figure singing and dancing – slipping and sliding, mostly – all by himself in the darkness. But I didn’t care. I didn’t need any music, and I didn’t need a partner. That night, I was Gene Kelly, the night was Debi Reynolds, and the thunder in the sky was the only orchestra we needed. We were Singin’ in the Rain, without any care in the world. I really don’t remember how long I danced that night. Could have been 5 minutes, felt more like 5 hours. But that’s one rainy night that I’ll never forget.

Then there was this one time about two monsoons back. It had been raining the whole night, and it didn’t look as if it was about to slow down in the morning. As usual, I left my house at 6:30, all dressed up for work. Somewhere between my house and the end of my lane, on an impulse, I decided that it would be a shame to waste such a gorgeous morning in the office. Nothing feels better than playing hooky from work, and I rushed back home, put on some old jeans and some sweats, ditched the umbrella, and got out again. I walked all the way to Bandstand, in the cold rain, and got into a coffee shop that overlooks the sea at Bandstand. So, here I am sitting at this coffee shop, drinking an Americano, looking out at an amazing ocean view, in the rains, and I think it can’t get any better than this. And boy was I wrong! There’s absolutely nobody in that small coffee shop except me, the barista behind the counter and Her…the most amazing, lively, gorgeous woman I had ever seen. She was dressed up in a very simple, yet tasteful light orange tee-shirt, and a pair of cream capris. She had been sitting there from even before I got there, and for the 2 hours that I sat there till she left, I could hardly take my eyes off her. Okay I know, a lot of you are gonna shout “VOYEUR!”. But hold on. I mean she was pretty and everything, but that wasn’t the reason I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. Not the only reason anywaysJ She was so full of joie de vivre, that she almost even in that weather, she carried a little bit of sunshine over her shoulders. I thought I loved the rains, but she just seemed to be so much in love with life itself. The music system kept playing a popular Hindi song over and over again. And she started swaying to the music, as she sat in her chair. If ever I could present an award on any music channel, I’d give her the Award for Best Dancing While Still Seated on a Chair. And just like that, on that rainy day at Bandstand, I kinda lost my heart out to one of the most lovely ladies I’d ever seen. Although I really wanted to, in the two hours that she sat in front of me, I never got the courage to get up and tell her how beautiful she had made my day by just being there that rainy morning. Well, wherever she is, I sure hope she is still spreading that sunshine everywhere she goes.

Candle light dinners are so passé

Another rainy evening, I won’t be forgetting is one back in college, when me and a friend of mine decided to catch a movie and dinner. Movie done, we were walking down to a terrace restaurant that she had recommended, to get some dinner. As we made our way there, the temperature dropped and the wind suddenly picked up. Orders given, we spent time looking over the city lights from the terrace. From a bird’s eye-view, about 7 floors high above the ground, the city looked quite amazing. Traffic lights, headlights of cars, and other chaos of the street, so close, somehow seemed miles away.
I still remember the music that was playing in the background. “Bahon main chale aao”, by Asha Bhonsale. The weather was lovely, and the breeze had almost turned into a heavy gale by then. By the time, the waiter got us our starters, a light drizzle had started up. We paced about the terrace, kababs in our hands, bemused at the way the waiters were having a tough time coping with the wind tossing serviettes and tissues all over. By the time the food was ready, we had to move in to a covered section of the terrace, which we did, reluctantly. And as soon as we sat on down at our table, right beside the low terrace wall, the rains began in earnest. And once again, lightening flashes began lighting up the sky and man, the atmosphere was just about perfect. And just when we thought, things couldn’t get any better, the lights in the restaurant went out! Trust me, candle light dinner pales in comparison to dinner under brilliant lightening flashes. Truly, the experience is something else. What had began as a quiet dinner, turned out to be an extraordinary evening out. Just like that.

Dinner, coffee and a quiet stroll in the rain later, it was time to go our separate ways. But the memory of that simple dinner, made unforgettable by the rains, lightening, and thunder, and of course, excellent company, is one I would love to capture in a bottle, like an exotic fragrance, which I could relive over and over again.

And then there are so many others…memories of the monsoons. Each unique, and each beloved. Close to me for several different reasons, some of happy times, some of sad ones. But each one close nonetheless. But then, that’s a blog post for another rainy day.



1. poemer - April 5, 2006

I’ve always had a fantasy of being able to take a hot bath in the middle of some lush jungle-type situation while it was raining a light but steady rain. It’d be cool enough to complement the steamy water I was bathing in, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable. I’m a Southern girl…I like my rain warm and velvety!–>

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