Poetry came out of the rhythmic drumming on the tin roof of my neighbour’s house; the shadow of grey clouds covered the ungainly houses that were constructed without any architectural expertise; the ticklish soft wind floated around announcing the coming of rain in my village. Soon the narrow, maze-like streets overflowed with water.
Kartar chacha was seen coming back from the fields crowned with a satchel on his head, his only protection from the rain. Not that umbrellas were unheard of but he seemed to be exhibiting his belief against materialistic possessions. Self-contained, he floated through the Venice-like streets and life. His slow meditative walk was converse to the fast pace of the city existence. It seemed he had carved 24 hours of idle time out of his day’s schedule to relax and savour the verve around.
The schools, threatened by rain, shut off and exhilarated children rushed home singing: “Addhi chhutti saari (half holiday full)”. After removing the peels of clothing, they danced in the streets like peacocks. In frenzy, they ran from one corner to the other spinning tyres. Immersed in the momentary rain, they were the paragon of living in the present moment.
Women hung out in the galleries. The bashful village girls ran to the isolated corners of the house where rain fell privately and allowed the sprinkle to fall on them. The advent of rain was an invitation to unfold and savour the small, little pleasures.
Perched at the entrance of his house, sitting on his haunches, Amru taaya witnessed the entire village taking a bath in the rain. He sat there inert, as though the mighty stillness of the much-worshiped peepal (sacred fig) tree in the shamlat (village common land) had come to settle inside him. He had been a witness to many rains. Sitting there, he had taken many lessons from the showers.
He accepted the unpredictability of the downpour and thus had made a settlement with the uncertainty of life. He had given up all controls. The stillness had taught him to go with the flow.
The mixed scent of cooking oil, pakore, wet earth, cow dung, and marigold filled the air. Everything turned black and white to reveal the grey that signified the beauty of the colourless. One can find serenity in even the most mundane task if one does it mindfully and not try to fill colours in everything. Sometimes, let things be the way they are and enjoy their beauty.
Today, the city rain reminds me of a rainy day in my village. I remember it as much as I remember the sense of simplicity of the village dwellers. I remember how on a monsoon day, the elementariness spread its wings and danced to the music of raindrops. I remember how people kept things simple effortlessly.