Wednesday, August 04, 2004

It's Raining. It's Pouring.

Rain!!! Floods!!! City fathers debating where to dump the flood waters!!!

Takes me back years, to flooding in Cal.

One of the cool things about growing up in Cal (for me, at least), was that we lived really close to school - a stone's throw (for an Olympian discuss medalist). The upshot was that each time school closed due to rain (at least once each monsoon), we'd actually have gone all the way up to school, holding our schoolbags up out of the water and wading through a river of thigh-deep water on the roads, battling tidal waves caused by passing buses and trucks, and frequently losing balance and sitting down in the muck!

Having done all this, and got to school, we'd then find that it had been declared closed. Of course, those who had actually managed to reach school could stay, and have a day off (strange, very strange, to spend a day goofing off at school without your entire class there, let me tell you), but we usually chose to wade back home. Needless to say, home being so close to school, the "we" that left for school from my house multiplied manifold on the way back - we'd arrive back home surrounded by stranded friends and cousins - all dripping, all laughing hysterically and all in various stages of infection from the god-alone-knows-what-unhygienic-muck in the flood waters.

And did we, on reaching home, immediately change into warm dry clothes and warm ourselves around hot tea? Of course not - where's your sense of adventure?! We'd all keep traipsing out again in the rain - to buy provisions to feed the army, smokes for my dad, to catch the dogs (who would, by then, be having a blast in the rain, and would be dripping and mucky), and so on. By the time we changed for the final time, it would be afternoon, and lunch - a delicious, mouth-watering lunch of khichdi and ghee - would be ready. And for those who have never experienced it (people from Rajasthan come to mind), there is nothing- nothing - nicer than coming in from the wind and rain, with that exhilarated feeling, changing into warm, dry clothes, and sitting around and eating khichdi.

Every monsoon, for years and years, there would be at least one rain day like this, when the real world would come to a standstill, surrounded by swirling water (and, possibly, several people's body fluids). And every time, we followed more or less the same routine. (Minor changes took place with age - as we got older, we were sent out to buy alcohol for the adults too, and still later, we were offered some of it, but the theme remained the same.)

And in case you think that Bombay doesn't offer the same options - think again. All you need to do is lift a bunch of Calcuttans out of Cal, and set them down in Mumbai on a rain day - and voila! You're all set!

So - you from Cal? Want to share some khichdi on an exhilarating, stormy, rainy day? Come right over. And bring your own booze - I'm not stepping out again.


Nitid said...

lovely post.....could almost get the aroma of hot khichdi, aloo bhaja and ghee.....its not raining that much in Cal....and they dont make such stuff in hostels anyway.....sigh!

Anonymous said...

khichdee...baigun bhaja...pickles...ohhh..I might just go home...sigh...:(