Growing up in Goa, there was always a routine to follow. A readymade blueprint tailormade by our parents would be religiously followed for the next ten years. After all, we were nothing but kids back then. In January, we celebrate New Year; in February, it's time for Carnival fun; and in March, study for the final exams.
And before we knew it, April transitioned into May, and May meant the end of summer vacations and gusts of pre-monsoon showers which cooled the surroundings.
After May, came June and it was time for school. When June arrived, it ensured it never arrived alone. It brought showers that would pour in the first week of the month, come what may. The story is different today.
Sometimes the rains would pour unapologetically and on other days, we would sit and wait for a drop or two.
CONFETTIS FROM THE SKY
The month of May was all about getting ready for the rains. It was time to buy new umbrellas to add to the collection of old ones that we would refuse to part with.
And, before we knew it, there was the first harbinger of rain – petrichor – nature’s enthralling perfume that has been customised exclusively for the rain.
The coming of the rain brought much joy. Just like someone once rightly said, “Rain is confetti from the sky". The first rains are a celebration that requires no occasion.
Back in the day, waking up on a rainy day was undoubtedly harder than waking up on any other day, especially because it was the perfect setting – a cozy bed, an even cosier blanket and the cool breeze and sound of the rain coming in from the open window. Of course, not much has changed now, and it is equally hard getting out of bed as an adult.
BACK TO SCHOOL
We would then finally head to school to show off our brand-new umbrellas and raincoats. Taking the bus to school only to get stabbed in the toe by somebody’s dripping umbrella was mandatory – ah! Those were the days.
However, if you did manage to get a seat on the generally crowded bus, looking out the window as if you are in a sad music video was a must; that is after you have finished conducting the race of the two raindrops that were rolling down the window glass. Update: Drop A defeated Drop B.
The rains somehow had a way of messing with us. It’s been years, but I don’t think anybody has managed to crack the mystery of how a bright and sunny day would suddenly turn into the downpour of the century only once you decided to set foot outside. Hilariously, someone once thought that they were cursed because this happened with them way too often!
Walking home after school was a mini hunt for gutters or drains that had flowing water so that we could drop off a paper boat or two and follow it until it disappeared out of our sight. After which, out of sight meant out of mind.
If you are a Goan, maybe you can relate to this one. It was mandatory for Goan mothers to wash three bucketloads of clothes on a day that they themselves predicted would be sunny, right in the middle of monsoons.
After which came the disbelief in their eyes when they saw the rain clouds gather. I mean how could an average Goan mother with no degree in meteorology be wrong, right?
Step three of this routine involved mother dearest yelling at everybody in the house to run outside and take the clothes off the line. Something that could’ve just been avoided if she watched the news and not put the clothes out to dry.
HOT BATATWADAS AND BHAJIYAS
To the Goans, evenings meant accompanying papa to the nearest gaddo and watching him secure our share of seven hot bhajiyas, five batatawadas, all while sipping a steaming hot cup of ginger chai to keep the flu away!
Wet roads are known to not be the best idea to go on a long drive, but how can one resist the beauty of lush and picturesque Goa, especially during the rains?
Every season comes with its own set of problems, and the rains are no exception with power cuts, flooded roads, accidents, fallen trees and several other inconveniences. But, there is nothing like having a candlelight dinner while listening to the pitter-patter of the rain on the tiles of your Goan house.
Of course, keeping in mind that the food chain must go on and that while you feast on your delicious food, the mosquitoes in your house will feast on you (especially if you’re a sweet person).
FOOTBALL AND PHOTOGRAPHS
When we were younger, we would often stand by the window and count how long it would take for the sound of thunder to roar once lightning had struck. The sound of thunder and lightning meant only one thing – the cable connection had to be disconnected from the television for fear of the TV blowing up.
A joke that once came up was that the sound of thunder was actually the Saints in Heaven playing a friendly match of football and that lightning was simply somebody else taking pictures of them.
So many years later, this little anecdote still makes me smile when I think of it.
Life used to be much simpler back then. Looking back, the rains have proven to be more than just a seasonal change, and have become a form of catharsis.
A time machine of sorts, closing your eyes and listening to the sound of the rain is sure to transport you back to the days of your childhood.
The lightning, thunder and a downpour is now a comforting warm blanket of melancholic nostalgia, and one that proves that even the sky cries sometimes.
After all, we wake up every morning, grab our umbrellas and raincoats and step out of the house on a rainy day. And although you can hop, skip, jump and run across the street to avoid the life-sized puddle, fate arrives in a big white car and splashes the water from the puddle all over you -- Life is what happens while you’re too busy running away from puddles.