I greeted the rains on Saturday night with an invective. “Oh, shit! It’s raining,” I said as the steady sheet of water poured. I had just swung open the door of the Internet café near home when the rain caught me off guard. For a moment I was joyous. Rains surely meant that I would see some respite from the heat. Then the surprise gave way to the realization that I would not be able to walk the few metres home and to bed. Not for the season’s first time the rain had played spoilsport with my simple plan to get home to food and bed.
If you saw me reacting, you might think I had not seen it rain before. Most Chennaiites would tell you how terrible the summer here is. I have spent about 10 summers in this city now. None to my memory have been horrible. Nothing that a cold glass of water and a few minutes in an air conditioned room could not help set right. Unlike the water of the city, which has left me balding theyby reducing my marriage marketability, the city’s heat has not scarred me forever. True, in moments of great irritation brought on by the unrelenting sun’s heat, I have often wanted to run indoors straight from a traffic signal. But when it rains like it did on Saturday night, I have always found relief even joy.
But these rains did more than make true the headline: Rains bring respite to city. According to the paper I work for, the rains brought down some 18 trees, snapped power lines and brought down a few buildings. No casualties.
But in all this what I want to impress upon you is that rains, even when they upset my plans, are a great source of joy to me. On Saturday night, for example, the sudden thunderstorm reintroduced me to the romance of watching a movie during a thunderstorm. After taking an auto home, I saw The Prestige, a friend’s DVD. The movie stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, who play rival magicians trying to achieve the impossible trick of transporting man from one closed box to another. Directed by Christopher Nolan, it is typical Hollywood fare, only bit more exhilarating to watch. The electric storms, a big part of the movie, were made even more thrilling by the thunderstorm raging outside.
(For weeks, I had a laptop, but no Internet connection. A couple of days ago, I finally managed to get myself hooked. These diary notes are from weeks earlier.)