Saturday, June 12, 2004

Mountain Rains

The most striking memories of my childhood are of the Mountain Rains. Those were the days when round the clock weather channels were still unthinkable and the nascent Doordarshan paid scant attention to the North East and Itanagar.

The Rains would often come without any warning. The dark clouds would suddenly roll out from behind the high mountains that surrounded Itanagar on all sides, accompanied very frequently with storm winds. Suddenly the place would come alive with chirping birds as they would fly all around in panic. The big trees would sway wildly in anticipation, I remember imagining as a kid that the branches were arms that were raised towards the sky in a kind of strange welcome. The clouds would slowly lay claim to the whole sky, blocking out the sun completely. Loud claps of thunder, that silenced every other sound in the neighborhood, would announce this victory as the entire town descended into a surreal twilight kind of darkness.

In the mountains, you can see the rains coming at you. Typically the cloud would break over a distant mountain and then you can actually see it rushing in towards you. That would signal the start the futile attempt to outrun the rains. Our house was some half way up a small hillock. My brother and I would run as fast as out small legs would carry us. It was such fun. It was almost as if God had devised an elaborate "catch-me" game for all of us mountain kids. Though we would run, I always rooted for the rain. Getting drenched in the first shower of the season, being asked by an anxious mom to change and take a hot bath and after that looking out through the netted windows as the rains lashed its fury on the tin roof of our house, are things that are etched so deep in my memory that they are part of me.

I also remember, the after the rains would be over, the whole place appeared so clean and bright. The green mountains would appear so much greener, as if mother nature, so much like our own mothers, gave them a thorough bath and clean cloths to wear. The sun would peep in occationally through the clouds creating areas of sunshine surrounded by areas that were darker. My brother and I would be out of the house before Mom even knew for another round of fun and running around until the rains came back again.

I don't know why, but while returning home last night I felt so nostalgic about that life. Maybe because I sometime feel that I just don't fit in into this life in the plains. Or maybe I am growing old. Or maybe I truly miss the rains that are not half hearted but something that just overwhelms you with its presence. Something that just won't be ignored. Something that lives on in your heart even after it has been long gone...

This post had won the first prize in my previous organization :)