Friday, August 08, 2003

I'll recall an incident that happened a long time ago, when I was just a kid. There is nothing special about the incident; yet, it has left an indelible imprint on my mind.
It was an evening just like any other, except that the monsoon clouds were gathering in full force and threatening to spoil it, which I intended to spend with my playmates. The prospects to that effect looked rather grim as the clouds enveloped the entire skyin an infinite canopy of myriad gray shades. Occasionally, the golden sunrays would manage to puncture through the thick covering and travel hurriedly over the landscape before being shrouded.
As the clouds descended upon us and threatened to condemn us to eternal darkness, I gave up all hopes of playing with my friends. Instead, I invented imaginary creatures with the morphing clouds and contrived stories of war waging between them.
My mother and sister had gone out and I was alone with my dad, who had apparently resigned to fate, as there seemed little prospect of his going to the market. He sat next to me as I peeped out of the window, dabbling with the heavenly figments.
Soon, the precursory minor storm, so typical of Jamshedpur ensued. The trees swayed in joy as the rustling leaves joined in to sing the evening serenade. The towering Eucalyptus trees were the most pepped up, as they danced in their own extravagant sways in slow tempo. Thunder and lightening were the ultimate harbingers to our first monsoon rain. I was actually beginning to enjoy myself and getting involved to witness the marvelous show of nature.
The rain was sudden and hit against the ground ruthlessly. With it came the nostalgic smell of wet soil! My dad and I were totally captivated by the sheer splendor of the first monsoon rain. There was a slight concavity on the ground in front of our house and rainwater was beginning to collect there. All of a sudden, I had this craving to go out into the rain and soak myself. I asked my dad for his approval, little expecting an affirmative reply. To my utter surprise, he permitted without a moment's hesitation; and my heart knew no bounds as I leaped out of the bed and ran through the door into the rain.
It was rapturous! I stalled myself in the middle of the depression and jumped into the air with screams of joy. The muddy water splashed with each of my landings, adding to my excitement. As I jumped with gay abandon, I was transported into a world of sheer joy and euphoria. For those splendid yet ephemeral moments, I was the happiest soul in the world, with nothing to worry or fear. My unison with nature was bewitching and my delightful screams reached a crescendo. To this day, I can vividly recall my dad's smiling countenance. Perhaps, I had inadvertently led him into his own childhood, when he too had done something similar.
Elsewhere on the ground, rainwater was gathering and marching in tiny makeshift tributaries into the drains which too seemed to have joined in nature's symphony by lending its own baritone roar. All that was green now looked greenerafter the much needed bath. As I was unwilling to relent, my dad had to drag me in, where I took a bath for fear of catching a cold. I don't remember much of what happened next because I was too dazed by the magic!
Years have gone by, but nature never forgets to enact that spectacular show. Ironically though, my erudition accrued over the years has never helped me rediscover that utter sense of exultation. I have grown more conscious of myself and the people around me. Paradoxically, as we acquire more knowledge, we tend to forget the greatest endowment of all: innocence. Yet, whenever I see an approaching monsoon rain, I get this insatiable desire to break all the rules and listen to a subdued call of my heart, the call that propelled me to a world I will perhaps never rediscover!