Who says rains are all about nostalgia and fun? Lavanya Mohan reaches into the recesses of her memory and comes out with a story that isn’t all that…
I have a love–hate relationship with rain. I love that the rains provide the perfect excuse to stay in and eat unlimited numbers of onion bajjis (batter-fried onion rings). I hate everything else about it – the thunder, the lightning, the cold wetness and the sticky humidity that it leaves behind.
I find that most of this misplaced affection for rains comes from childhood memories and nostalgia. I also find that as we grow older, our memories are usually far rosier than what actually transpired. My favourite childhood memory of the rains is, of course, getting a day off from school. When I tell people this, I’m asked if I’ve ever let paper boats out in puddles when I was a child. I have, and I thought it was fun too, because it didn’t involve getting soaked in the rain and it didn’t require the friends that I didn’t have.
I had let out boats a few times until my mother placed a ban on doing so. She had got news that the neighbouring kids’ cousins’ friends’ cousins got cholera from spending too much time jumping around in the puddles. I am sure that most of these ‘have you ever let out boats’ types were reprimanded similarly – I mean, we grew up in Chennai! If the rain water puddles couldn’t cause cholera, they probably could cause leptospirosis.
I’m also accused of not having any sense of adventure, which is ridiculous. I’m adventurous. This one time, I went to a party and spoke to people I didn’t know.
And, guess what? I’ve had an adventure in the rain.
About six years ago, a rain loving colleague insisted that we have ice cream while it poured outside. We’d have to walk a short distance in the rain, something I’d have never agreed to, had she not tapped my Achilles’ tongue. I resisted at first. I told her that I was prone to catching colds and that my mother advised me to avoid the rains (which was true). My colleague began a passionate lecture about how ‘we have only one life’, and then she beseeched me to ‘not let go of the moment’. I ultimately caved in when she mentioned that the shop had Cookies N’ Cream flavoured ice cream. And so we scampered through the rain and had ice cream as the winds blew whorls of water drops on us. We squealed as bikes sped past us, their wheels haphazardly splashing muddy water. We were young! We were having an adventure! When I came home, my displeased mother insisted that I use a hair dryer so that I wouldn’t increase the already high risk of catching a cold. But I didn’t, because mitigating risks would mean polluting my adventure.
I woke up with an awful headache, a stuffed nose, mild temperature (the kind that doesn’t require a doctor’s visit, but is still capable of ruining your day entirely) and a mother who wouldn’t stop telling me that she told me so. As I stayed in bed, thinking about the events of the previous day, I realised that I had learnt an important lesson. Whenever you feel the need to be young, to seize the moment and to dismiss the fear of consequence, I highly recommend that you just stay put and listen to your mother instead!