Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rain Rain Go Away, Don't Come Another Day

Have you read the nursery rhyme which goes like:
Rain Rain Go Away Come Again Another day, Little Johnny wants to play.

This rhyme always makes me wonder why does Johnny wants the rain to go away? What game is he involved in that he can't play now in the rain. How selfish of him to be bothered about his game and not the rain's as it tries to play along with the thirsty earth. Why can't he play an indoor game and let the rain play outside?. "Come again another day?" Johnny! are you nuts? What are the chances that on an another day you will not be annoyed by rain again. Oh Johnny! don’t throw tantrums and give us a break. Please you boy let the rain just rain.

How can someone not like rain. What if Johnny was not Johnny? What if he was a native Indian Jassi or Hari? Or say our own street lad Hariya who jumps and waddles in any knee deep water overflowing from a drain just after the first showers. I could have bet a thousand tomatoes, when the price of tomatoes were Rs 120/Kg, on any Indian lad for liking showers.

Few years back after every hot summer day I prayed for rain. When it rained I prayed for more. When it didn't rain for many days I was saddened by the poor state of farmers as reported in newspapers. At the sight of dark rain clouds my eyes welled up with joy, my heart leapt like a frog. As my face felt the gush of cool winds  preceding the showers, I was reminded of 'Kaali megha, kalli Megha, Baadal to barsao' song from the movie Lagaan. I have bicycled in rain, floated paper boats in water streams adjacent to paved roads, I have splashed and jumped in puddles. Few years back I loved rain and loathed Johnny.

But not now. Now I hate any sign of rain and appreciate Johnny's concern. No one has a right to interfere with a child's play and an adult's peace not even rain. Not even when it rains only on few days in an entire monsoon season.

Rain and me stopped being on talking terms since the day I officially joined as a Railway engineer in Kanpur. One of the busiest railway yard on the busiest route of Indian Railway, Kanpur was the symbolic blue eyed boy of Allahabad division. So much so that even a little congestion in train traffic due to any minor technical failure sent the blue eyed boy into tantrums. When Kanpur irked, Allahabad ouched. In no time all concerned officials would reach railway station to pamper Kanpur.

Once the not so benevolent rain god was benevolent over Kanpur. After months of sweltering  summer rain was a welcome affair for all. So was it for me. But the intensity of benevolence was so heavy that within hours an entire yard of Kanpur station was submerged in water. Track circuits were down, Signals failed, tracks were inundated and trains were literally cruising in water. As more rain poured all platform lines cried for help. Help meant pumping out the water. Pumping out the water was possible but arranging a pump at 02:00 A.M was not. Moreover, the final outlet of yard was into a municipal drain which itself was flooded.  Everyone tried his/her best including making several phone calls and updating every possible railway organism about the situation (we are perfect in it). The series of phone calls went through the night. When rain stopped and water receded at its own pace it was wide daylight. I was tormented by the experience and wished not so heavy rain again. The bitterness in my relationship with rain shifted levels as I and my colleagues spent several sleepless nights attending failures at station.

The work profile and work place has changed for me now. But my equation with rain has only soured thereafter. In my story rain has become that wicked villain that never lets the hero to relax in peace. If it rains we have to rush to a remote location just to ensure the smooth running of trains over an under construction bridge.
A minor water leakage over platform shed is not dangerous at all unless it starts making round as a lethal image in whatsapp groups.
Questions are raised over our ability, we are reminded about our accountability till we feel guilty and then in one such rainy day someone fixes the responsibility. The erstwhile culprit Rain goes clean as always.

So when an entire country wishes an early arrival of monsoon, I wish it never arrives. In newspaper reports of monsoon forecast I inadvertently look out for El-Nino. When it rains normal people think of hot tea and pakodas while we railwaymen think of water in yards, bridges, leaky roofs, breaches, caution in speed of trains etc.
Rain has become an imaginary thief breaking into my empty house as we are away on a vacation. Mere sight of rain clouds sends shivers down my body as if someone is threatening me with a "Duguna Lagaan Lagega" consequence.

As I try to grab and write my thoughts, a close friend of mine is all set for his pre-wedding engagement. A forecast of high intensity rainfall is also beaming across news channels. My mind is split into two: one half planning to be alongside my friend on his ring ceremony. The other half is worried about rain and the 24 hour vigil near newly constructed bridges over tracks. After much deliberation, mental confusion and my wife's persuasion I firmly rekindled the faith in the unreliability of meteorological department and am all set to attend the ceremony. Thus how I was reminded of that old nursery rhyme:

Rain Rain bloody go away,
And don't show your face on any other day.

Thankyou for reading.

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