Drenched

I was on the lakefront earlier today for my regularly irregular morning run and the weather was windy and warm. Before I knew what was happening, dark clouds gathered and it started pouring wildly. Large heavy drops that drenched me in no time. I reached my bike and pedaled as fast as I could. I was worried about my ipod, I was worried I’d catch a cold, my bike would get wet, I’d have to walk in wet underwear and soggy shoes, and… the list of worries continued.

2009-06-25_rain1 Queen st. West. View from my apartment.

“Wait a minute”, I said to myself, “What’s happening!?” I used to be a kid who loved playing in the rain, and the mud, and not worrying about getting drenched and dirty, and make fun of people who ran away from the rain. When did I become one of them?

- – -
Mumbai has a distinct rainy season and it rains only between mid-June and mid-September. Rest of the year was dry. There was a special, almost a ritual-ish, significance attached to “first rain” (around mid-June). My mother encouraged me to go out when it rained for the first time, she said, “This is how you welcome rain! Smell the air, feel the wind, feel the nature!”

Oh, ha ha, rain is not dangerous, its just like taking a big shower!I was a little boy, playing in the dirt outdoors one day when it began pouring. My friend’s mother started screaming at the top of her screeching voice from the window of their house, “Stop playing! Come home! It’s dangerous!” My buddy (who was terrified of his parents because they hit him) ran away, while I was left puzzled. “Mom says its okay to play in the rain, so it must be okay!”, I thought, and continued what I was doing (probably digging a trench and replanting grass – I liked to pretend I was a farmer).

The rain grew stronger and washed away everything. I was upset that my ‘farm’ was destroyed, so I went home. I took a warm shower, clean up thoroughly and I changed into fresh clothes. It felt so good. My dad made me a cup of hot ginger tea and I told them about my friend. My mother said, “Oh, ha ha, rain is not dangerous, its just like taking a big shower! Too bad for your friend, his mother is overprotecting him.”

Later, rainy season meant only one thing – trekking in the Sahyadris. Every other weekend, a bunch of us gathered and went into the mountains. Geographically, western coast of India is similar to western coast of North America – there is a coastal strip, followed by a mountain range called the Sahyadris. Shivaji, our beloved king, built several forts on peaks of the Sahyadri range and hiking to those fortresses was our objective. We usually started before sunrise, or sometimes even on the previous night. At the end of the day, we were completely exhausted, dirty and wet with rain and sweat for hours. Next day was full of body aches and a hangover from yesterday’s thrills and exhilaration.

2009-06-25_rain2
Mahuli, ~850m (2785ft) above MSL

My ‘sheltered’ friend once asked me, “What do you do all day in the rain?”
Me: We climb a mountain, go to the top!
He: And then?
Me: We come back.
He: So why go in the first place? You get all wet and dirty, eww…
How could I explain to him the blissful feeling of being close to the nature, walking through the woods, in the dirt, around wonderful insects, bright flowers, foggy, wet weather and then reaching the peak, being on top of the world?
- – -

With all those sweet memories flashing in front of me, I decided to dismount and walk my bike home, getting fully drenched in the rain on the way. After a nice hot shower, I made some ginger tea, exactly like my dad made it.

37 thoughts on “Drenched

  1. I think I know that sheltered friend of yours :D :D hahaha I have met a lot of them looking disgustedly at people trying to enjoy rain and complaining loudly why we don’t have AC bus stops :D :D

    • hahahaha! believe me, some bus stops in Canada have heating :D But that’s becoz some state governments are socialist and it gets really bad cold. :)

  2. Storry teller is back …!!!

    I love the way you narrate this small incidence from the past.

    The last line is Icing on the cake.

  3. Priyank,
    This post brought a wide smile on my face. :-)
    I would have done the same.

    Total nostalgic moment. I pity who don’t know how to enjoy rains.

  4. Hey Priyank beautiful story. I love rain also. Any opportunity we get we tried to stay in the rain. I used to get wet all the time coming from school, it was scary at times because of thunder, but hey I survived. I still remember those days when after the rain we used to go and play on the road in the packets of water, or wash our selfs like our neighbor kid did, with rainbow all around us. A nice cup of ginger sounds really good. So you got rain in Toronto, unfortunately that cloud never made to our place, I think we got little spit…lol. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anna :)

    • Thanks Anna, I have fond memories of rains and school days too! :) Especially wearing raincoats and long boots and my mom wondered why I still got wet… hahaha :)

  5. “He” is so terribly ignorant. He does not know what he is missing.
    And when you realized that you must not run, did you stop and walk back home?

  6. Hmm…and how your hair felt ultra-soft after that first rain.

    We used to trek often to Rajmachi. The real taste of water that you never get in the city when you drink fresh cool water from a stream or waterfall in the mountains! Ah…

    • hehehe, sure it did! I know man, the fresh rain water from the streams…
      … but before drinking, just be careful that no trekking group has crossed and reached a higher level than you… :P

  7. Thunderstorms are brutal in Canada! I remember the first summer I was in Ottawa… I come from a rainy city (like Seattle rainy) and I had never seen these monsoon style showers! :lol:

    I don’t mind getting soaked anywhere but in a big city. Not sure why… it feels dirty. In Brazil, the little town we stayed in was totally flooded one night and I had a lot of fun walking around, with water up to my butt! Not sure if I would do the same in Ottawa or Toronto…

    • Oh Zhu! But I am from Mumbai, these thunderstorms are childish for me…. hehehe :) I’ve had many experiences like yours in Brazil. It’s okay to do it once in a while…!

  8. Nice ,
    On reading ur post
    a flood of memories besieged me …

    Mahendra , i fully agree – No Evian can compare with the mountain stream water i had at ladakh and during my treks !

  9. ha ha – i was looking for this post on ur travel blog!

    yea – i agree, we do lose so much as we become adults right? :) ur photo reminds me of the few monsoon treks i did last yr… got to figur those out!

  10. Your post reminded me of good songs from “Gaarva” album by Milind Ingale.
    We still enjoy rain here in Mumbai. There is no timetable, hence I am always caught up in rain with out shelter, but walk in rain is just a delight.

  11. How could I have missed this lovely post earlier?:P

    The pleasure of trekking is something that only trekkers would know. This post reminds me to travel again and enjoy at least a lil’ bit of the monsoons in the Sahyadris.

  12. Pingback: Walking in Rhythm » Final Transit

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