One afternoon this rainy season, clouds suddenly gathered over the Delhi sky, a storm followed, trees fell and a furious downpour drenched the entire city. Marina Bang, who spends her hours writing a book at her rented bungalow in Jor Bagh, was pleasantly surprised.
She and her two friends immediately decided to take a walk in the nearby Lodhi Garden. Since they had only one umbrella, they all ended up getting drenched. “But we had to enjoy the monsoon!” exclaimed Bang. The party later gathered at Bang’s living room for tea and chocolate mousse.
When the Jor Bagh author was taking her rain walk, fashion stylist Aditya Saran (name changed on request) was running into an ancient mansion in Chawri Bazaar, Old Delhi, where he had gone to ‘hang out’. “I found myself in this stunning courtyard where an old woman, safely ensconced on a dry spot, was watching the rain falling,” recalled the stylist. “The place was all misty, the water was coming to me in sprays .”
A little later, Saran went out. “Then I saw a girl in the balcony of another haveli. She was in this grayish kurta with her back against a pillar and though I’m gay, I found her erotic.” While the stylist’s passions were getting stirred up, David Boyk, a student of UC Berkeley, California, in town to do research on urban migration, almost missed the rain.
He was in the underground metro train, somewhere between Mandi House and Chandni Chowk, on way to Hardayal Municipal Library. “I was earlier at Sahitya Akademy looking for a Bengali book called Kalkatta Rahasya, published in 1925,” said Boyk.
Walking to the Mandi House metro station, Boyk did spot some clouds in the distance.
“When I reached the Chandni Chowk stop, I noticed a long line of people on the stairs.” Waiting for the showers to slow down, a young man approached Boyk for an assistance of Rs 100. The research scholar obliged and then walked out, hopping through puddles, before stopping by a street-side food stall to have dahi-bhallas.
As Boyk feasted on Chandni Chowk’s chaat, Shwaroopa Bannerjee, a bank employee, was getting drenched on the terrace of her two-room flat in Munirka. She had no choice. As soon as the rain started, the power went off. “I’d no option but to go out and enjoy the rain,” Bannerjee said. “If there was power, I would have sat inside and listened to the sound of the rain instead.”
As all these people were sportingly braving the elements, Neelakshi Rana, who works in a Connaught Place skyscraper, was chatting with her boyfriend on Gmail, sitting in her fifth floor office. The shutters were drawn against the windows. When asked about the rains, she cried, “It rained! When?”