Spread across the length and breadth of the street, hopping hither and thither like grasshoppers letting each and every drop of rain penetrate through their bodies, I notice the street children dancing to the tune of the monsoon song.
Oblivious to the people around them, the half-naked, half-covered children bury their muddy faces in the water-clogged on the sides of the streets. Using their little knowledge of craft and untapped creativity, the tiny-tots use bits and pieces of paper to create paper boats.
I vividly remember when I was a child, rains always meant bathing under the open sky with all my neighbourhood friends. The paper-boat race was the highlight of the day. Even if the street children and street dogs joined in, it was never bothersome for us to rub our shoulders with the so-called social outcastes.
As I grew older, my geographical play area and play group shrunk and I started enjoying the monsoon in my backyard. Luckily, it offered enough space and scope for water-logging and thus the tradition of paper boat sailing continued.
As years passed by, the same monsoon rains had a changed meaning. Now going out in the rains meant getting wet! So, I preferred staying indoors, sitting by the windowpane and observing the rain fall from eternity on the green leaves and white flowers of our bougainvillea. The green and white bush looked heavenly, when drenched in rain.
For me, a perfect rainy day now means a cup of hot tea with garam garam pakodas, Jagjit Singh's soulful ghazals playing in the background blending aptly with the song of the rain. I must admit that rains set just the right ambience for any shayar and my young-at-heart grandmother has never been an exception to this.
But as I'm growing and evolving, I realise that rains are no more welcomed with open arms and a big smile. Consider this; one fine day, you plan to spend some time with your friends and just when you're all set to leave, the dark clouds overshadow the bright sunny sky and the dreams of a perfect day-out get drowned!
It's strange how we perceive the same objects of beauty differently at different stages of life.