Every rainy season, Mr. Azim Premji’s words, “Now the rains fall on empty streets”, come to my mind. A few years back I had been invited to judge an elocution competition at a SoBo school in Mumbai. One of the topics then was ‘A Rainy Day’ and to be honest not very much to my surprise, the kids spoke of umbrellas, raincoats, colds and coughs; and that was all. As I was listening to them, I kept hoping that at least one of them would say that she loved the rains and then as if an angel had overheard my wish, a sweet little girl said just that. It indeed brought a twinkle of joy in my eyes. “Wow”, said my mind thinking about two things simultaneously, “the rains are still loved and angels are around. If this little girl enjoys the wet season, then surely there have to be many more who love to sing and dance in the rains.” But then my mind began to think that if it were so, why hadn’t the other children expressed a similar love enthusiasm?
When after the event I was given a few minutes to chat up with the kids, I asked them the question which was refusing to leave my mind. The obvious answers were, ‘If I catch a cold, I miss school’, ‘Mum is worried that I’ll get sick’, and the barrage of parental threats and worries is all that I got to hear.
Later when I had to round up my observations, I shared with them some of the moments I had enjoyed in the rains during my school days. Rains for me then meant no umbrellas or raincoats but cold showers of nature. Rains meant becoming a human boat and wading through floods. It used to be fun! Rains meant hot dudhi halwas, potato chips and onion bhajiyas. Rains meant making paper boats and letting them go free to search their destinations. Those were the moments when the heavens opened up the skies to pour out showers of blessings on a thirsty me. A rainy day morning had music in itself for my ears. Even today I love getting drenched in the rains; after all, there is certainly no specific age limit to get drenched in waters falling down from God’s abode and enjoy. A simple walk in the rains is like a dance with nature where ones partners are the branches of the trees moving to the rhythm of the universe. Even today, these are the moments which leave an imprint on my mind time and again.
Perhaps the rains which stress out the present parents with the fear of sickness and missing out on school did the same to my parents too. I’m sure that when I reached home bone wet, my mother making hot vegetable soup or ginger tea was a precautionary way of abetting the fear of the colds and the coughs. Whatever it was, the rains were the most joyful and exciting moments to be remembered. The sound of rain drops even today energizes me to go out for a walk without an umbrella; the thunder and lightning revitalize the gloom of the summer heat. But today as I look around and see empty streets where nobody comes out to dance in the rains, I feel that the environment is under a threat of insults. I hear the muffled whispers of children wishing that the chains of restrictions could be broken. I feel sorry that the present system of living has destroyed their peace and left the streets vacant.
We are today pumping ourselves with knowledge and neglecting the most basic need of connection with nature which adds to our lives cheerfulness, pleasure, gladness and indulgence in perfect proportions. In spite of all our knowing that we are a part of nature, we have cut ourselves from it and become alone in the company of humans. Again, we all know that humans are in the clutches of aggression unlike nature which has a recipe of satisfaction, love and rest. If we were to pay attention to theoretical studies, we would quite clearly observe that modern health statistics show concern for depressive human beings whereas nature encourages man simply in the thrill of its company.
When the skies begin a communication, all life gets to hear healing. Probably, before science and technology imprisoned us in chains of gadgets, we enjoyed the rains at a completely different level. Even today when the showers from above fall on the earth, they fulfill an intimate connection between the physical and the spiritual. This season offers us year after year an opportunity to realize our connection with the elements of nature which are the building blocks of our physical body. If we were to move one step further from this physical manifestation of grace falling from the skies, without which life on earth would not be able to survive, we can at least attempt to understand the cosmic grace which continues to fall on us consistently and is not just seasonal. As the rains drench the earth transforming it with a new life energy, the cosmic grace too attempts to drench us with its power of transformation. But, are we hiding and sheltering ourselves under an imaginative precautionary shade and letting our fears hinder a change from happening?
After I had finished sharing my experiences of this beautiful season with the children, the In-Charge of the institute gave a vote of thanks and at the end she did not fail to remind the children to not forget their umbrellas and raincoats to shelter themselves from the monsoon.
Pic. Courtesy : Google