It’s raining

Next to my table at work, there is a window which opens to a wall. On that wall there are two windows to classrooms on two different floors. In one of the classrooms, students are practicing dance to rangilo maaro dholna, a song I believe I only know as a song that girl groups in college and school continue to dance to. (Why do only songs and ads and chocolates take us back to the 90s?)

I have just finished a two-hour class on Ambedkar’s Castes in India. It is rewarding to teach this every year because every year, I discover one more thing about him, and the paper. This time around, it was unsettling to discover that he isn’t lazy in the paper. He is working hard at not taking the easy, most visible route to arrive at a conclusion. Even if I knew this last year, it is still nice to reknow it again this year.

I walked back to the department, spent 8 minutes trying to open the steel dabba of sambar. After lunch, I put my head down for a minute and an applause surrounded my window. I thought it’s from the dance group practising in the classroom only to properly wake up and see that it’s the rain.

Today, rains fell like applause. Today, it applauded rain. Today, it rained like applause.


Rain: with apologies to Francis Ponge

⁣The rain, by the front door where I watch it fall, is only in its effects. Nothing like the way I imagine it from inside, where it falls on the house in sounds: splatters, drips, trips, pattars, thwacks, & pachaks. ⁣By the steps, it gushes in soundless patterns as if letting go after too much withholding.⁣

Outside the compound, it flows down the road, in a fierce, determined brown, the kind that means the tea is perfect. ⁣In a far away country, I once stepped out to find that it had been raining for a while, with no warning. Where is the rain if there’s nothing for it to fall on, alva? Without gudgud, without laughter?

Like it does here from pipes sticking out of pakkad manè, as the French say. Or freezes itself into white droplets on thick black wires, trickling into each other now, running away now.⁣

On mosaic, it falls with clarity. On granite, with purpose. On marble, with glory. On my palm, with giggles. But no one has quite learnt to catch it like the trees do. After all, only they seem to know what to do when it rains – stand themselves in utter, brilliant solitude, refusing to go anywhere, soaking it all in, shivering only when they want to.

Read Francis Ponge here.

A – And then

It had been raining all day. That’s why I was in a good mood when I stepped to sign out. It was 6:00 in the evening so I was sure they would have locked up the office and all gone home. This didn’t bother me because I had nowhere to be. I grew more hopeful of the day’s possibilities. I didn’t know what I wanted but I didn’t want today to be taken away from me. I wanted today to be the longest day of the year. Because it wouldn’t rain tomorrow; not like this. And even if it did, I will not like rain tomorrow. And just when I was smiling at the thought of having the rest of the evening to myself, drinking tea and doing nothing, the most tragic thing for anyone who has made plans with themselves happened.

I saw company. He was standing near his car, smiling and waving at me like all Avira antivirus pop ups do when you are looking up serious and more important things on your computer. I looked for the close window button. I couldn’t find it or any other escape, so I waved back like somebody whose father had just died. But he didn’t see that many fathers had died in my head. He drifted towards me, with his octopus like arms stretched out to hug me. I fell into them, reluctantly, like last bits of food on a bursting stomach.

‘Come, let’s go’, he said, in the world’s most irritating invite.

‘Can’t’, I said. With all the politeness that my mouth would allow.


How do you explain to them without hurting them that you have no work, no plans, you aren’t meeting anybody or any deadlines. You just feel like the day is too perfect to spend with somebody else. Would they understand?

All of 4 Sundays the last month were gone like this. Because I had become somebody else’ hobby, habit. Because saying no to company produces all manner of heaviness: guilt, fear, regret, the feeling that you could be missing out, the dread of wanting company later in the day or in life after you had said no to it.

‘I, er… I’ll go grab my bag’


The after rain wasn’t nice anymore. I felt cold, like I was sleeping naked on the kitchen slab. As I turned away from him, I tripped on a stone and fell on my face. It was fast and it didn’t take much time to happen, like these things never do. I tasted wet earth and salt. He pulled me back with haste, like he was preventing damage from happening.

I could taste blood in my nose and mouth. The mud was tasty.

As I made my way back to get my stuff I saw the line of traffic on the flyover and the orange sky behind it, the vast stretch of apartment buildings towering jealously over the flyover, soaking in all the little sun they could snatch away from it. Someone in there must be looking out the window and having tea.