Saturday, September 17, 2005

Memories of rainy days

You know those days when you sit and stare out of a window, cocooned in your little room alone with the weather royally thunderous or just dauntingly grey outside? I’ve had that experience in many different cities of the world. The interesting thing is that your outlook on life tends to be the same, but what will differ is the view from the window.

Madras, and the greenery right outside my ground-floor hostel room. The drip-drip-drop of the rain as it splashes on the plants outside. The electricity suddenly goes off, and the book I am reading almost merges with the darkness created by the storm-clouds that sultry evening. Mellow laughter and conversations can be heard from the corridor outside as the girls continue their cheery banter, momentarily disrupted by the sudden darkness. An hour passes, the electricity is back. But somehow, the arresting solitude and beauty of those moments is spoilt. I wish for darkness to descend once again.

Coimbatore, and the cool breeze brought by the gathering rain-clouds. I sit transfixed in my balcony, under the branches of the majestic tamarind tree right outside, in my grandfather’s old rosewood chair with extendable arms. They don’t make them like that anymore. Typically Kerala. I lean back and put my feet up on them. And watch in silent wonder as the drizzle turns to huge splattering drops. Nothing quite like it. I sigh happily.

London, and a view of the Big Ben in the distance. This is the heart of London, with the city spreading out for miles from my two windows. Rain in London, is, well, dreary and constant, for lack of better adjectives. It is almost a part of daily life, so well has it become integrated with the routine of Londoners. If you’re smart, then you carry an umbrella (if you can bother to tote one about, which I never can, even today), or have a rolled-up raincoat stacked safely away in your bag, because you never know when the sun will pull a prank on you and be replaced with those looming clouds. But my room-with-a-view is warm and comfortable, a typical student’s room with a nice stereo system. That makes all the difference. I switch it on and listen to Gabrielle singing ‘Out of Reach’. It makes me want to be a writer, pouring out those soulful lyrics. I sing in tandem, surprising myself with my sudden ability to sing the high notes.

Brussels, (Skepsi, I can’t thank you enough for all the help you and Eve gave me those days) and my little studio room with a slanting roof. Europe is something else altogether. I feel like I am part of history, though I am jolly well part of the present. Sunday morning and I lie in bed, sometimes feeling as if the skylight on the slanting roof would give way and the rain would splatter right onto me as I lay underneath snugly in my blanket. (I don’t think I ever got over that feeling in all my time there) I close my eyes, not wanting to think of the future, but just enjoying the moment for what it is.

Bangalore, and I sit quietly in the little common area with my house-mates. They chatter, I listen. A lovely breeze blows through. I shiver in pleasure. Then we start playing antakshari and all hell breaks loose!

Delhi, and me. This is now. As I sit typing this with the grey sky outside again, I remember how I felt in all those places through the years. I re-live them. I remember how I felt each time. This city has been more intimidating than all the rest, and yet it has grown on me. I have everything needed to live a decent life here in my one-room-shelter. And yet I have nothing.

It suddenly clicks. I’ve had different window-views in different places, but what I really have wanted all along, I haven’t got yet – not yet, but he will be with me soon.


Sharad said...

Oooooh , what were you doing in Brussels ?? I've heard it's a great place. How long were you there ?

wanderstruck said...

4 months, on an internship with an NGO. it was cool!