Rain in the hills

It is raining cats and dogs(as the popular saying goes)in Dehradun since afternoon. As I am writing this sentence there is a loud, long grumble of thunder from the clouds and rain is drumming down on the roof making my mother increase the volume of her Television as her favorite serial comes on. The boys have missed their daily game of cricket, making them cranky. I, on the other hand, have been in a pensive mood.

(picture from unsplash.com Abhidev Vaishnav)

The sounds of thunder and the rain pattering down, the whole atmosphere is making me nostalgic for my grandparents home where I grew up. I miss my bed next to the window, where I would sit with my back resting on the wall  ( it used to be heaven in winters, snuggled in the razai). The sound of the dripping raindrops from the leaves of the frangipani tree of our neighbor. I miss the dampness of my grandmother’s room, the green of the moss growing on the mango and litchi tree.  Hating to walk under the same trees as the raindrops from the leaves would splash on you invariably getting in the collar of the school uniform making it highly uncomfortable. Finding mushrooms sprouting on the trunks and branches of the litchi tree and marveling on their toadstool shapes. Cleaning the water off from the cement seat on the roof, so that I could study outdoors and also look at the sunset.  All the creepy crawlies would come wriggling out making us avoid the kitchen garden patch, remembering to close the screen door else the rain insects would come in drawn by the light, making us swat them with rolled up newspapers. Lying awake after the lights were switched off, hearing the crickets and the jhingoors, trying to watch the jugnus flit by in the dark garden. If perchance there was a thunderstorm in the night, I would spend half the night awake, watching the zig zagging shapes of the lightning fascinated by it, a fascination that I still have. Not understanding at the time how powerful God is, to create something so beautiful and yet so awe inspiring. The alacrity of the electricity department of Dehradun in switching off the power at a single rumble from the clouds. The days when we reached sopping wet to school despite the raincoats, a hazard of going to school on the bicycle, packing our school bag with an extra layer of plastic to protect the precious books. The countless days when it used to alternately drizzle, rain and pour intermittently till you would long for the sun to come out. The brilliant blue of the sky contrasting with the white fluffiness of the clouds when the sun would finally shine; the mountains a dark, sharply etched silhouette against the horizon, the trees, a luxuriant green.

People ask me why I come to India during the rains, I reply that I come because of the rains.While most of us agree that Dehradun is no longer the sleepy town of the nineties, one thing which is still familiar is the rain. Monsoon was and still is a magical time in Dehradun. The world turns green with new growth and moss (most tenacious here, found all over, including the outer walls of the houses). It is damp, it is musty but it is very very familiar. As familiar as the fragrance of adraki chai and crispness of pakoras. It makes me long to be that young girl again, with the bed by the window, whose only worry was to reach school with dry shoes and dry books.

3 thoughts on “Rain in the hills

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