Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Of those rainy days from my school life…

There’s just something about rains, isn’t it? I can’t really put a finger to it, but watching rains – at least from the confines of my home – always tends to stir me up. Be it the smell of the moist earth and air right before the rains begin, the light pitter-patter of the raindrops outside the window or just watching the rains fall by brings a certain sense of calmness in me.

Presently, unseasonal rains here, in Kolkata, have had a pleasant effect on my mood, which hadn’t been very uplifting of late. I stand at my balcony and look at heavy rains lashing the streets below me. I stretch my right hand out wide and try to let the natural water cleanse it. It’s a habit borne out of the fact that I was told as a child that rain water can cleanse all kinds of rashes in the body. As I do so, I notice two school girls, both clutching one umbrella, cross the street while trying to combat the heavy rain. All the while they are laughing and literally screaming in joy even as the umbrella is almost flung away from their hands.

The scene suddenly makes me wonder. Where are my memories of my interactions with rains from my school days?  While I have lovingly looked back at several rain-related moments from my past from time to time, they have almost always been from the inside of my house and from my naani-ghar days. Why haven’t I recalled such moments from my school life? School, after all, plays one of the most significant parts of anyone’s existence. And after scraping around my memory bank for a bit, I realize I do have a few of them.

During my kindergarten days, my class was situated in a large hall – called the Montessori hall – which had three other classes in it, divided by little fences. While I don’t have many rainy day memories from that phase, I do remember a few things.

I recall that during heavy rains, some pigeons would come by and take shelter outside the hall’s large windows. I would be fascinated by them. As soon as I would spot a few of them, I would run to the windows, while maintaining a safe distance out of fear, and watch them with wide-eyes. The pigeons continuously ruffled their body to shake off the rain water and keep scratching under their wings with their beaks for some reason.

Then there was this day when it was really raining heavily. At first, it went really dark outside and then it suddenly started pouring. The windows of the hall started banging against each other and the booming of the clouds reverberated across the hall. The aayas had a tough time closing the windows and we were all asked to congregate at the center of the room because water was really streaming in through the windows. A lot of kids were crying and many were shaken. But I was actually enjoying it. Firstly, the studies had been canceled and secondly, the cold and dark atmosphere really made me feel all fuzzy and warm inside.

During my Primary section days, I mostly used to sit right at the corner of the classroom (I really love corners for some reason), just by the large windows, overlooking some tall, white buildings. On rainy days, I remember just gazing outside the window at the gloomy sky above and letting the drone of the teacher fade away in the pattering of the rain outside. The droplets of water would fall on the windowpanes and slowly trickle down the glass like a snake, and I would find it engrossing to watch. 

I especially enjoyed the rains during my library periods on Saturdays. There was nothing like being seated at a corner, by the window, and reading my favorite Enid Blyton adventure stories with the thrumming sound of the rain drops crooning at my ears.

By my Secondary days, I had, for lack of a better word, become quite the jerk as most teenagers are. The rainy days would allow me and my classmates to halt the studies. With every crash and boom of the clouds above, a few of us would shout and go “wooooooo” to create a disturbance while smiling wickedly. The “wooooooo” would then slowly spread to all the others in the classroom who would shout it every time there would be a clap of thunder, thus creating a clamor so great that it would be impossible for the teacher to continue.

When the rains would get heavier, though, we would all run outside the classroom to the verandah. It gave me a chance to pretend like a filmy hero: stretching out my hands to feel the rain, splashing the water on my face with my eyes half-closed, while trying to notice if the pretty girls from my class were watching. It was all good fun. Especially as it allowed us those precious few minutes away from the studies and just shout and scream and relish the rain.

I wish I had some more of these rain-related moments to recount. But regardless, I know that I shall always look back with fondness at those few ones from my school days that I do have in my memory. The sad part, though, is that while I can enjoy several more rainy days for the rest of my life, the ones from my school life are now gone forever.

It's late afternoon now. The rain has stopped and the sky is clearing up a bit. I suddenly notice a pigeon sitting on the railing of the verandah, at a little distance from me. It bobs its head around and then ruffles it body. A spray of rainwater squirts out of its feathery body and it then proceeds to scratch its feathers with its beak. Even as I look on, fascinated, the pigeon tilts its head upwards, perhaps to scan the sky for rain. After ensuring that the rain had indeed subsided, it leaps off the railing in a fluid motion and flies away swiftly.

I watch the bird fly away into the sunset, with, strangely, a tinge of sudden sadness. Perhaps a part of me felt that the pigeon was carrying away with it, my memories of those rainy days from my school life. If only I could have asked it to stay a bit longer…I think a little boy who I knew wanted to observe it some more. 

1 comment:

  1. 'Be it the smell of the moist earth and air right before the rains begin, the light pitter-patter of the raindrops outside the window or just watching the rains fall by brings a certain sense of calmness in me'this line is and would be de best way to express one's thoughts.....rainy day or rainy season....all r my favorite....i just luv rains and so do your blogs too....i didn't knew that u too luv rains..and miss your school days so much....