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Friday, June 19, 2015

And The Monsoon, Which Stayed Behind

Perhaps the rains were not meaningless. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that they were definitely meant to be. One day last summer, they were meant to invest with inspiration, sacrifice and courage. Many days in a life, they were meant to bring clarity, solace and peace. Many a P.E. class, they were meant for drenching ourselves and our shoes in the vestiges of that special kind of defiance, the rare kind that nature mysteriously tolerates -- the defiance of a child just standing there, rain clouds above, wet earth below and sonorous monsoon streaking the air all around. (Nature also mysteriously tolerates the defiance of unfed labourers' shivering toils; but that is another story).
The ominous heralding showers of two kids with dreams; the Grey World of pensive poets who hate the sun; the massive waters that meld with the flesh-painted concrete and make it their own; the torrents drenching football players in the muddy fields and basketball players on the wet concrete courts -- the rains surround the story of our lives with warmth unexpected from something so inherently wet and cool and blue and grey.
Because, the rains are Nihal and Ankita and the Students' Council. The rains are also Shriyank and Chetna and Srimoyi and Shrestha, joyous and carefree on the waterlogged basketball courts; and Baidya and Suku and Bose and Roni on the imperfect football field of perfect glory. The rains are, yes, XII A, B, C, D, E, F and G. The rains are a better picture of us than all the pictures on our phones and the group photos clicked by the school -- because the rains are not just faces and blazers and regulation shoes -- the rains are alive. They are alive with smells of mud, grass, and grime; of sweat and rain all mixed together; of drenched canvas and wet paper and a single umbrella shared by far too many people. The rains are sports gear reluctantly left behind and books hurriedly shielded at the expense of necks and backs; the rains are that bunch of girls who were always teased for raising their flimsy odhni-s above their heads as they ran to escape the rain (as if that'll help!), while some boys were similarly stupid with their handkerchiefs; the rains are the P.E. teachers yelling for the classes to shift indoors and prodding the last kid in line with the butt-end of an umbrella; or some other teacher reasoning with a rain-drunk class to shut the windows of the room, through which the wind-driven rain, to the pupils' added delight, went trigger-happy on the wooden desks. The rains are, also, the shoe-tracks in the mud, outside the gates, leading up to the ice-cream cart; the brown waters sloshing between the paved pathway to the teachers' car park; and DHRC fading behind the white waters as the bus pulls away.
So no, when I visited HSMS the last time and it rained and rained and rained, I didn't mind a single bit. Because wherever we may be hereafter, I like to imagine that the alma mater would remember us whenever it rains, and so we'll live on in Hem Sheela. Because the rains are, and the rains always will be, those parts of all our souls that stayed behind -- within those walls, on that ground, in those halls and, one would hope, in those hearts.

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