• Aashay Bhogte

A Rainy Day

I was headed to catch up with my friend to chatter about wearies from the previous day. As I waited at the kerb, I noticed a Siberian husky and its owner walking past me, as I stood there. What I also noticed was an overcast sky and some mild drizzle. Within no time, my luck switched its back upon me and the one time I forgot to carry an umbrella, all heavens set loose. I found a quick cover under the canvas top of a restaurant under construction which was around the same corner where I stood. The husky and its owner were quick to retrace too, and shared the cover. I was happy to have some company, but social distancing prompted us to maintain that space in between. Nevertheless, the husky’s intentions to make a new pal around the corner were clear, as it kept glancing with its gleaming eyes as if, urging me to pet it. But the owner’s consent was absent and I was restrained by the new norms of avoiding unnecessary contact.

As we waited, the downpour intensified. My friend took a rain check (literally), and I was but left to wait until the swell subsided. Despite the ordeals, what I loved was observing the rains from a place that was not a confined space like my apartment flat. Watching the vehicles pass by, with their headlamps switched on, and the blinking reflections of the occasional red brake lamps and the amber turn signals on the drab, black asphalt road was a visual delight. The usual sounds at the kerb, mainly the honking and the tyre noises of the rushing traffic were now belittled by the clattering rain. The setting didn’t take too long to cast its spell upon me and I soon found myself delving in a realm of nostalgia.

Mumbai rains and I share a deep relationship. I can never forget the rains which welcomed me on my first day as I set afoot in the city after staying away at the University for three months straight. It had been my longest stay away from home and I vividly remember details from that evening. Only a couple of hours earlier that day, I was in Delhi and the skies were clear blue with the sun glaring at maximum intensity. It was magnificent how one short flight had changed the entire day’s setting. The journey from the airport to my home, was the time I had to make a quick catch up of what I had missed while I lived away. Being stuck in the traffic, I distinctly remember the splattering sound of the rain striking on the car’s metal roof, the droplets racing down the rear glass window of my car, sometimes reflecting the lights from the other cars’ lamps. It was the perfectly relieving setting that I longed for, especially after an exhausting intercity travel. Contrasting that evening, where I was enjoying the rain, sitting in the car in my parents’ company, to the quiet evenings I spent in my hostel room living all alone, although a little disturbing in the hindsight, was very satisfying as the loneliness persisted no more.

I was done reminiscing about that evening and I was still standing under the canvas roof, in the company of the husky and its owner, with the rain still there as we waited for it to hit a break. The husky would still occasionally turn its gaze towards me, as if it was only waiting to cheerfully extend its paw in friendship. Its relentless efforts almost made me budge from my track of obeying the right and safe protocol of avoiding contact. As my resilience quivered, I tried to check if its owner wished to cater to her pet’s whims, which she didn’t. In fact, the owner was obstinate on walking her pet back home in the rain. The husky revolted with all due respect to its owner. But I took the owner’s message and knew that there was no window for establishing any contact there. Running out of all hopes, I decided to day-dream once again.

Taking a philosophical turn this time, I wondered how I had so many various memories which I had associated with rain. And while experiencing almost every single one of those, I had also experienced an accompanying déjà vu. But it was no time to analyse the reason for this mystery. What I disagree with the most is how rain is portrayed as a setting for all the endings in popular culture- be it grief of someone passing away or a breakup. I believe it depends on us as to how we perceive the setting. And our perception can change with every phase of life we live through. In most of the memories that I have of a rainy day, I’ve almost always been glad that it rained. Just like this one. I experienced some great company today.

And just like that, I was woken up from my stream of thought by a tap on the shoulder. The rain had abated and it was only drizzling now. My friend who had called off our plans to meet was there to ask if we could still walk as we planned to. In some distance, I could see the husky crossing the street with its owner and entering an apartment which was right across the street. No plans were actually cancelled that day and it was a good rainy day.

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