Thursday, July 31, 2008

One Rainy Day

Some days are tailor-made for your comfort; others, not so much.

“Menaka, its 8:30 already, why are you still in the bathroom?”

The sheer power of her voice made me wonder why she never learnt to sing. My family breeds singers, but none of us have the rich thickness of voice that made the shivers run down my spine. Or may be the shivers were because the heater had given up and I had to bathe in cold water.

The thick sheet of rain outside my window and a sky which looked like blackcurrant and vanilla ice cream confirmed that today will be a repetition of the 26/ 7 deluge. But that wouldn’t stop my mother from going to work or making me go to college. We left late that day because mom couldn’t find her umbrella. And to make things worse the pitiless rickshaw-walas completely ignored our prayers with joint hands to drop us to the railway station. I can’t blame them. S. V. road, Andheri at 9 O’clock is a sea of vehicles inching their way to poverty at a maximum of 20kmph, if you’re lucky. Petrol prices aren’t reducing, you know. One very generous rickshaw-wala agreed to drop us half way, we graciously accepted and thanked him for his kindness. We then trundled our way through puddles, hawkers and other slaves of time with umbrellas in one hand and attaches/ pulled up sarees/ handbags/ other people holding on for dear life, in the other hand.

My mother clinging on to my hand had trouble keeping her sandals on. “I bought them because the vendor said it would work well in the rains. The cheat!” Things like ‘scum of the first order’ and ‘spineless thieving pig’ followed. And in answer to her abuses, her sandal broke. Consequently, the volume in which she said ‘devilish prick’ and ‘may you rot in hell’ were much higher and must have offended fellow commuters around.

It was the scene at the railway station that took my breath away. Every platform was packed with colours. Men and women of every shape and size, wearing every imaginable colour were all sparkling wet. It was only then that I understood the true meaning of the cliché - India is a nation of colours. We are diverse in every aspect. But what unites us all is the single goal of squeezing our way through various obstacles and making our way in to the train. Some are successful; others wait for the next train. But the struggle never ends. Even inside the train, you have to strive to reach the seats, just so you do not get thrown out at the next station. You will not get to sit inside the train. Those seats are reserved for those who have truly attained salvation. And ultimately, when you do reach your destination, you need to have the grit to continue struggling through the day. This is the philosophy of life. Or the philosophy of life in Mumbai.