Cleansing the Unwanted
It was a sultry hot night and we waited for some relief. The relief came in the morning when it started to rain. It was so pleasant sitting in the verandah, sipping a steaming cup of tea when rain drops drenched us from behind! It was soothing for the body and the soul as well. T. S. .Eliot’s lines where he writes about modern man being afraid of rain as it means regeneration came to my mind. Ironically the title of the section is “Burial of the Dead”.
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
But as regeneration is what we craved for at this moment, rain was a welcome relief for the scorched body and soul. Regeneration of ideas, life and what not, in life is what we wait for. If July showers could help us cleanse ourselves and regenerate a new life, what better option could there be?
Traveling back to the memory lanes has become the most convenient pastime for me these days, so reliving the moments from my childhood came rushing to me. The school days and the rains in Shimla, both meant trouble for my mom. The winter closing schools in Himachal don’t have vacation during the rainy season and as the sun plays hide and seek throughout the season, drying up clothes is a big problem for Shimlaites.
As a school going child, I would literally wait for the rains, and heavier the rain happier I would be. My ma would pack my raincoat as she was so worried that I may not catch cold if I drench myself in rain. But I think she was more worried about the drenched clothes and shoes that she would have to take care of! My school, Dayanand Public School, was at some distance from our home and if it would be raining during our return from school, I would be the happiest. I would deliberately take the longer way back home. I would first go to Kali Bari temple and from there would walk back to our home. Taking this way had another plus point for me, as it had steep ascending and descending slopes, rain water would flow in torrents along the sides of the road, and I would wade my way through this water. I would feel so happy to walk in knee deep water, forgetting about my school uniform and leather school shoes that would be wet to its core. The punishment that waited me at home, would be abated as by that time I would be sneezing along with a running nose. My poor mother would change my clothes and make me sip something hot before snuggling me in a cozy bed.
Some years back, I was coming back from down town along with my little one and it started to rain heavily. Though we had umbrellas, they were not serving the purpose as it was raining very heavily. I asked my daughter, “Should we close the umbrellas and drench ourselves to the core of our skin?” She was surprised but happy at the adventure of walking all the way to home when all people had taken shelter somewhere. She was surprised that her mom was suggesting this to her as was it not a norm to stand under a shelter while it was raining? But we need to break rules once in while to so the impermissible. And who has made the convention or a rule and for whose benefit? It was the same little girl inside me that wanted to give the same kind of experience to my little one, by breaking the convention or the unspoken rules that still somehow govern our behaviour?
We closed the umbrellas, took our sandals in hand and started a 2.5 kms. walk to home. We splashed our feet in water like young kids and enjoyed a freedom that was difficult to get at this age and time. The vehicles passed by on the way and persons from inside looked in wonder at two women walking freely in water and rain. It must have been a bizarre scene for them as there was not a soul on the road. They must have thought us to have lost our mind but I think that the ones who don’t drench themselves in rain are the ones having lost all contacts with the best that nature has given us. Or they were jealous perhaps!
The sense of freedom that we experienced that day cannot be explained in words.
And today when we sat outside sipping a hot cup of tea, each immersed in her own world, when rain drops drenched us, I asked her, “Do you remember a day…?” I needed not to finish the sentence as she too was thinking of the same day. Thank God, my kids have good memories to think of that would more than offset any bad memories having come their way.
We are waiting for regeneration. Rain, rain, don’t go away.