By Ananya S Guha
For one full day, it has been raining incessantly. When there are no rains we complain. And, again if it rains even for a day we complain. We, human beings have this dissatisfaction insignia, stamped heavily on us.
But this time the rains in Shillong reminded me of my childhood, the fury of the monsoons, the rains pouring incessantly, the clamped corridors in schools, raincoats, gum boots and the ubiquitous umbrella. And, to round it off was a nice dreamy sleep, so much so that getting off from sleep was quite a torture.
There is some euphoria about the rains, it seems to celebrate life, the season and all that they stand for. The weather gods unleash a fury but after it is quietude. The rain soaked hills of Shillong have seen it all. The rains in the Monsoons, are torrential, they suddenly release their torrents.
Creating puddles in the road can be a menace, but there is also something beautiful about them- an artwork, God’s handiwork. In the bigger cities we are told rains do create havoc on the roads, there are the consistent floods year after year, the scourge of lives and that of living; in the villages. The rains remind me of Aldous Huxley’s essay: “Wordsworth In The Tropics” where Huxley interrogates whether Wordsworth would have found all that is beautiful and godly in Nature, had he visited the tropics!
The rains also in this manner are hydra-headed, the two sides of the coin are more than obverse realities. What they do to me, specifically in Shillong is to get nostalgic and roam bleary eyed, the traversed roads of the past – history, a personal and re-defined history.
There was a time in the 1960s and the 1970s when it would rain over two weeks at a stretch here in Shillong. It continued till the early and mid 1980s. Cooped up in our rooms, the only solace was reading or listening to the radio. Technologies, were few and far between those days! Even the newly introduced phenomenon, the television had just one channel. So, what could we do? Obviously, in those restaurants, over cups of tea we could have our daily addas, which was like presiding over important meetings! And if sunshine did come, then we breathed more freely. The rains swamp me with marshy memories. The rains broke all silence and claptrap, as they unleashed a pent up silence, an overture of angry gods. The hills and the pine trees bore mute testimony to the havoc that it created.
But these rains are only a part of life. I realize, how can we berate them, as it chooses to berate us? One day after our post graduation, when we were queasy with feelings of will – I – get – a job our incarceration inside our rooms was prolonged. We decided that we would fight this torture at all cost and decided to venture out, armed with rain coats and huge umbrellas. Hardly, a soul was in sight in the main road as we trooped into a tea shop thinking enough was enough. It was creativity and adventurism at its inimitable best. Bravo! We had done it!
This year as it rains, it brings mere shadows of the post, but it does give some feelings of that quick -fire rains of the past, when this hilly town lay shrouded in its own mysterious delight, when the rain washed fruit shops would hazily beckon a customer. The Monsoons had arrived.
Yet there was water scarcity and the elusive plumber was as usual – Missing!