After the scorching summer months we welcome the first rains and feel happy about it. But we soon start complaining about it. It is surely enjoyable for those who need not step out of home and can relax sitting by the side of a window while sipping a cup of coffee and watching the heavy downpour outside, knowing well that he or she is safe. Many love to get drenched in the rain. But commuting to office or driving through heavy traffic turns into something like a nightmare for many.
Every year during monsoon few days are the worst affected and life in Mumbai comes to a standstill. We all are aware of the 26th July 2005 floods. Since that year all schools became extra cautious and the schools started declaring “rainy day”, whenever the deluge appears unusual.
It was again an unusual rainy day when it started pouring heavily and there was no sign of it stopping sometime soon. The school where my son used to study declared a half day holiday and asked the parents to take their children back. Being a resident of the Hiranandani complex, the school was just a stone’s throw away. I brought him back home. We are blessed that our locality never gets flooded. But for the people who have to travel far for work or for attending college, life is not easy.
“Ma let me go down and play in the rain,” my son told me. With the second term examination nearing in the month of August, he could not afford to get sick. So I did not allow him to play in the rain. I told him to read a book instead, but my little boy was in a mood to play with his friends. I got busy with my work but after a while I found him ringing up his friends.
“Ma, can I ask my friends to come home and have khichdi dinner with me?” He asked. I agreed to that. He happily went on inviting his friends who were the children of our friends in our Bengali circle.
“It was pouring heavily outside and the rain God was still not satisfied with his boundless blessings.” I was wondering. “How will the small children come to my place in this incessant rain? Obviously, their mothers will be coming to drop them.” I then decided to invite the mothers too.
“Only the mothers and the children will have the fun! What about the fathers?” My husband complained when he heard me speaking over the phone. Thus, fathers were also invited. The total head count was twenty five.
The only hurdle for me was to find a big cooking utensil to cook Khichdi for so many people. Being part of a Bengali association in the locality, we were used to hold meetings at our homes which ultimately ended with some post-meet partying. Thus, we knew whom to ask for a big cooking vessel. A friend brought a big patila. Another friend volunteered to bring four dozens of eggs while coming to our place so that I need not step out of home in the rains. We had all the necessary groceries and sufficient papad at home.
A holiday was declared the next day due to a red weather alert and we were in no hurry to end the party early. The evening started with animated conversations and with the progress of time all of us got into the mood of listening to music and then everyone started singing and dancing to the tunes playing on the music system.
The children had their share of fun in another room, huddled on a large bed like the iguanas in Galapagos island. None of them felt the scarcity of space and accommodated themselves comfortably. The damp climate could not dampen our mood and the noise we made drowned the sound of the rain outside. We were fortunate that none of our friends were held up or delayed because of the rain and could come home in time to join the party. It was indeed the best of time for all of us who were present on that day.
While we were happily enjoying in the comfort of our house, many people in Mumbai probably faced huge difficulty in returning home. We were thanking our lucky stars for that and hoping that a situation like 26/7 should not happen once again.
Nobody was in a mood to return home and the party continued past midnight. All of our friends enjoyed eating the piping hot khichdi with papad and omelettes. The children wanted to continue the party and ultimately demanded a ‘sleepover’ at our place. The parents ultimately gave in to their demands and went back home without their children. Thus, the rainy day which could have been boring transformed into a memorable day because of the impromptu party. Several years have passed since then and all the children present on that day including mine, have become adults now. The bond of friendship between the children has grown stronger over all these years and the memories of that rainy day are still very fond.