Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rain Day

I wrote this sometime back. So when the theme for the week turned out to be rain, I ended up having something to contribute. Three of the mentors have read thisalready and so have some other SAASC people. I request piyush goswami to go a little easy on this one :)

Rain is always an understanding between the good folk. It's a pact signed with a secret under-the-table shake of hands, to maintain a minimum level of insanity when it pours, to look goofy, to break barriers, to end up with wet hair, to remember, to regret, to grumble about the future, to mumble about the past; to hope and to plunder, and in the case of our protagonist, collect snails and keep them in a box...
Rain keeps you busy, and when you're five years old, and your mother is stuck in the super mart because of the rain, and you have the whole house and the backyard to your disposal, its time for some serious soul searching, its time to be a beaver.. Rain drops trickle down the kitchen windowpane making patterns on the glass and thoughts get filtered out of the complex formations, making life simple and bearable. If you're a five your old, it’s your duty to make your dog stand under the window, hold it by the ears, so that the drops fall precisely on its nose. It’s your first practical lesson in geometry and its the only one you'll ever remember throughout you life, at the cost of an agitated doggie of course...

So little Johnny and his pug faced boxer, Charles Grossman III (Its grandfather had been in service when Johnny’s dad had been a kid) had to be in complete control of their senses and maximize the fun without giving half a hooter about the consequences...His friends were not outside since their mothers were not stuck in the supermarket and wouldn't let them out no matter how hard they pressed their noses to the door. They were still too short to reach the door latch anyways and they could only envy Johnnie and Charles as they walked with a gay abandon. There were a few girls in the park though. The girls liked Johnnie. But he believed, and believed with quite a conviction, that all girls were gross and smelt of milk...So when one of them said, "Hey Johnnie, you wanna play house", he was always ready with his standard reply, "Nah, but hey you wanna look for snails??" That made most of them run away, all except Milky, who was three and could sometimes even disgust Johnnie with her special love for bugs and tadpoles. She was home though.. For one, well, because she was three and also because she had had her appendix removed the week before and was supposed to rest.

So it was Johnnie alone, with dog faithful Charles who had gone half berserk because the downpour made his whiskers droop and made him look even more depressed than he normally did. They were out looking for a fellow called adventure who wasn’t too far away. They were also looking for snails which have been mentioned three times now. Charles had his nose dug deep into the ground and was leaving behind a dog nose shaped trail wherever they went. He knew the smell of snails amongst many other things and Johnnie had often wondered what they smelt like. He wished he could kneel down too and dig his nose into the wet ground, leaving a boy nose shaped trail behind him, so that there was a brown patch on his nose by the time he got home; which unlike Charles' patch which got camouflaged because of his already brown nose, would stand out as his rain day trophy. But this was being too ambitious, because despite however much he might try to evade the fact, there was always the Mommy monster lurking somewhere at the back of his mind, and well, she wouldn't appreciate a brown nosed son. She might just put him in a zoo like she threatened often. But then she hadn’t said anything when they had painted his nose brown when he had to be Yogi Bear in the school play. She had just stood there in the audience with tears in her eyes. She said she was proud of him. He didn’t understand grown ups at all. He didn’t really want to take any chances.

Rain has a way of being manipulative; it is the harbinger of a million mood swings. It is the worst form of addiction and an even worse seduction. But when it comes to five year olds, rain lets go of its facades, opens its arms wide, and becomes joy itself. Little boys who don’t like girls carry cardboard boxes when it’s raining. They like to gaze into the sky when it’s raining very hard and try to keep their eyes open, they shriek with delight, at the cost of having to hear swear words and curses when the doggy wags its tail fast and sets out a jet spray which wets the old ladies walking with umbrellas. They also get sick in the stomach when they see the freckled boy waking arm in arm with the freckled girl, her head resting on his shoulder. “Tell me Charles. How can he stand the smell?” He had been told by Cousin Joe once that boys start liking girls when they are older. That was the day when he had stopped calling Cousin Joe his favorite cousin and avoided him completely whenever he’d drop in for a visit.

It was getting late and the rain had become more of a drizzle and it wouldn’t be long before Mommy got back home. So it was time for some quick business. Charles could sense the tension in the air and his sniffing got more intense and frantic until he started circling one point and started yelping excitedly. “Down boy, down”, Charlie muttered as he knelt to examine the cause for the commotion. But Charlie seemed to have gone berserk, he was wagging his tail as if it were running on a motor, till Johnnie had to pull him by the collar and make him sit. He was still yelping wildly and the little girls watching from a distance hid behind their mothers. Johnny took out a small shovel from the cardboard box and started digging at the spot. But that proved to be too much work for him and he started digging with his hands till he thought he had touched something. By this time, a few of his friends had been unlocked from their respective homes, seemingly after whining complaints of, “Look how Johnnie’s mom lets him go out and you don’t” had threatened to create a mini domestic rebellion. Three savages were seen yelling at the top of their voices and hurtling as fast as their tiny legs could carry them, with a cohesive cry of “Johnnie…………..”, as Charles gave a delighted Woof and Johnnie looked up for a fraction of a second.“Hey fellas look what I found”.
They all circled around him as he held aloft the prize for the day, a slimy, shining, seemingly sleepy grey colored snail. They all agreed on common consensus that it was the most devastatingly magnificent thing they had seen all monsoon and they were all envy eyed as Johnny put it carefully in the now half soaked cardboard box. They looked at one another with knowing smiles. They understood each other perfectly, with the unadulterated wisdom which children have and then tend to lose as they grow up.So they walked home. Four, three foot tall gentlemen wearing shorts which were too big for them, a dog who was pleased with his crucial role in the day’s adventure and a snail who…well who slept. Tom was looking peevish because he had had a fight with the rest of them the day before. But it seemed they had all forgotten, like all boys do when they fight but then realize that it’s all dog barf when compared with their friendship which can’t be replaced by anything. Girls are different. They all hated girls, because they thought they smelt of milk and fought too much.

The rain still fell lightly, the non scheming, non manipulative rain which made friends with little boys with dirty t shirts, the rain which was as much about grumbling old ladies with umbrellas as it was about the freckled boy who ended up getting his first kiss; rain which was about Johnny’s mother being driven home by Mrs. Nayyar, the neighbor and their driving past Johnny and his friends who were walking home, with mud all over their clothes, face, hands and a dog and a sleeping snail in their midst.It was the rain which changed decisions, which gave rationale to irrationality, which was the swansong of the fortunate, which was the trademark of the forgiving…


Suchreet said...

booker someday dude :)