The sky goes grey. Sun rays bury themselves behind thick pregnant clouds. Thunder claps its presence. The stage is set for play, and the show begins. You stare out the window and it feels heavenly. I wonder, have you ever caught a raindrop or two on your tongue?
Humans’ love-hate relationship with rain is millennia old. Since antiquity, different civilisations have sought to uncover what causes rain. And indeed, they all came up with entrancing answers. Most Greek myths attribute torrential rains to the unforgiving wrath of a furious Zeus, who intermittently drowns the Earth in chaotic waters to teach the wily humans a lesson.
However, an alternate version which occurs less frequently likens raindrops to God’s tears. The Greek God Atlas carried the starry swirl of heaven upon his mighty shoulders. The Hyades were the five daughters of Atlas. When Hyas, the brother of Hyades, was killed by a lion, they languished in grief and invited death upon themselves. Atlas, touched by their devotion and tears for Hyas, placed the five sisters in the constellation we now know as Hyades. The helical setting of this constellation (in November) marked the onset of rainy season in ancient Greece. Legend says whenever the grief stricken sisters cry themselves hoarse for their brother, it rains on Earth. Well, I’d like to believe the myths. The Water cycle is dry in comparison (pun intended). What do you think?
All this talk of rain brings to my mind a small anecdote that I’d like to share with you. My best friend and I were casually strolling in Connaught Place when it literally started raining ELEPHANTS. Yes, elephants! We could barely see past the fountain of rough waters. I glanced in my best friend’s direction; she gave me an all-knowing smile. Ignoring our somewhat expensive faux leather bags and iPhones, we hopped into the pouring rain, giggling sheepishly as we splashed into puddles, conscious of disapproving eyes around us (People here don’t generally approve of grown women dancing in the rain!). Well, our five minutes of childish glory were soon over and we’d almost turned back to the shelter when our party of two was joined by four little girls.
We got to know that these girls lived in Narela (Slum on the outskirts of Delhi). All of them were aged between 7 and 10 and they travelled every day to Connaught Place to sell pens (INR 5 each), hoping to supplement their meagre family income. They’d never received any formal school education, none of them could read or write, and they were wearing rags for clothes. Normally, they would’ve tugged at our clothes and ask us to buy pens.
But not that day.
One of those girls held my hand and danced with me as cold water soaked through our skin. She exclaimed “Didi, kya mausam hai na. Kitni tez baarish ho rah hai. Lagta hai bhagwan khush hai aaj!”. She clutched my hand and led the way. We dashed through the rain trying to catch her friends. I almost slipped twice, and she told me not to be clumsy. She suggested I remove my sandals, I refused. She shrugged. Beaming with joy, she told me that she loved the rain and couldn’t understand why it didn’t rain often.
My best friend and I watched spellbound as they rolled in the open parking lot, kissed the puddles and somersaulted in exuberance. Their unrestrained laughter managed to pierce through the thunder of the clouds and the walls of our hearts. Bucketloads of water poured over these children, washing away their worries as they cheerfully danced away. Their radiant faces gleamed in the dull atmosphere; never before had I witnessed a sight so pure.
These little children were deprived of basic necessities— neglected by the government and invisible to the society—yet, they needed only a few raindrops to make their eyes sparkle.They possessed no material thing, expensive watches and phones and bags didn’t worry them. That day, their gleeful faces reflected genuine happiness. It only took a few raindrops to make them happy. Those kids definitely had their priorities sorted.
The episode got me thinking how irrational my fears are. More stuff equals more happiness is clearly a delusional argument and I need to get over my petty ephemeral needs and worship the constants. The expensive bag I carry on my shoulders? It will soon be replaced by another. But the joy I experience while laughing in the rain with friends and strangers? It’s priceless and will stay with me forever. I realised I am ignorant of what makes me truly happy. I say we want to feel the elements, yet I run for cover when it rains. Ain’t I utterly stupid?
All this reminds me of a nursery rhyme berating rain..
RAIN RAIN GO AWAY! COME AGAIN SOME OTHER DAY!
Really? But why? Rain makes nature beautiful, cleansing its core and purging it of all that’s bad. It breathes life into the dead Earth, rejuvenates whatever it touches. Rain, it’s one of nature’s best gifts to us and will unwind your wary mind, only if you let it. No matter what age you are, it’s a crazy feeling getting drenched with soaking joy in Satan’s piss. Try getting wet the next time it rains. But don’t just get wet, feel the rain. If you say sunshine brings happiness, clearly you’ve never danced in the rain.. And when it stops pouring, look for the rainbow. There is one, always.