..aren’t we, mere mortals, fully helpless?
How do I study when the World outside is performing Her masterpiece? The wind is singing her beautiful song, an old melody that I’ve learnt by heart; much more brilliant than Rahman and Dvořák (yes, they surely belong in the same sentence). The trees and the grasses perform a dance of their own. Opening the window next to this table I sit at is like encountering a whole another world.
One in which there is a porch with three white chairs, made of a kind of straw. I sit on one, with my feet on its end, hugging my knees close to my chest. The greens around me hurt my eyes with their vivacity. And any minute now, Appachen, my grandfather, would walk outside with his white shirt, gray sweater and a blue, checkered kaili. My grandmother would yell at us for sitting out in the cold but we’d do it anyway. And she too would join us a few minutes from now. Appachen would pick up a newspaper and read random stories. pitpitpatterpatterrimjimrimjimrimjim. With the onomatopoeia from two distinct worlds in my ears, I’d watch the heavens shed its rage, its love, its passions. Wonder. There’d be dreams, painted a certain shade of green, forming in my mind.
Beyond where I sat, beyond the deep-black gate, made even shinier with heaven’s own tears, there would be people running to a shelter quickly. Sometimes, I’d wonder if they ever saw me, watching them from the comfort of a shelter, with envy in my gaze. Sometimes, I’d wonder if they ever looked up and saw that this rain is not malign; it is but a friend. On the right, the fish pool that my grandfather had built would overflow with water. It was almost as though those drops had lives of their own and track-meets to practice for, hurdleafterhurdleafterhurdle. There was a net to prevent the fish from jumping out. I’d wonder if they too wanted to waltz outside.
My Ammachi’s garden would be full of life. The greens, the vibrant greens- they never fade, never in those rains. The drops of passioned tears jump from leaf to leaf to leaf, like that ride at the new amusement park I went to. Sometimes, I’d wish Ammachi, my ever so protective grandmother, went back inside and if she did, I’d run out into the center of her garden and turnandturnandturn. Dripping wet, I’d walk inside to be greeted by her loving scoldings; but by then, my ears would be full of pitpitpatterpatterrimjimrimjimrimjim and all I’d see is the sly smile on her face. Coy. I can be coy. I’d dry myself and go inside but what can I do when life itself strikes its drums outside?
I’d run upstairs to the terrace. I’d toy with the rain, extend it my arm of friendship, only to retract it, againandagainandagain. My arms would be glistening, reflecting a bit of the sky. Sometimes I’d sit on the railing and watch the passerbys on the road below. The man who sold fish from a blue box behind his black bicycle- he’d be pedaling fast, his eyes on the ground and his hand covering his head. The black and yellow auto-rickshaws with the side panels pulled down; they’d look like bugs running past my fingertips. The tarp on which that woman sold her produce would be flying all over the road. Blue and white among all that green. And when I look up- well, I’d have to close my eyes. In the house next door, there would be noise and chaos. They’d have to save their pots and pans with which they made rice outside (they were caterers, you see) from the rain. Each
boy/man Achachen would come outside, grab a pan and go back in, againandagainandagain. Their bodies looked metallic, shining with the raindrops. How I’d wish I was them. Sometimes, I’d ignore the annoyed look on their faces and pretend that they too loved this dance. They were tired, I knew, but this… This was magic. Unexplainable in a sequence of alphabets and ellipses… magic- it has to be felt.
Soon, the chaos would end, the noise would quieten, the road would lay empty except for a few cars that occasionally pass by. Someone must have caught the tarp by now. It’s just green now and a chorus of rimjims. Thunder would break. Fireworks would begin. By then, my Ammachi would pull me inside.
Do you know how beautiful it is to sit on a porch with your feet on a straw chair, a book in your hands and a whole entire production right in front of your eyes? Do you know that colour- the series of reflections and refractions, the diffraction gratings and useless Physics terminology- that create a bit of the world that can never ever be replicated with photography or paints? Colour with a ‘u’, that very special shade. Do you know what it feels like to sit on that chair, knowing that it is not exactly home and yet, a bit of yourself belongs right there? Do you know that shade of my Appachen’s sweater or that smell of my Ammachi’s hands? Or that warmth of the cup of tea in both their hands? It is here, you know. Right here, with me. When I close my eyes, I hear it, pitpitpatterpatterrimjimrimjim.
I can almost hear myself.
No, I do not love the rain. I love that idea of sorts, the memories, the imagination and of course, the adventure. Today, as I sit here with a cup of coffee and an over-familiar dance outside my window, GodohGod, how do I study?
“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore.
There is always something to make you wonder.”