Friday, September 25, 2015

Rain, Theirs & Ours!

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet…
Roger Miller

Roger Dean Miller, Sr. was an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor, best known for his honky-tonk-influenced novelty songs. No wonder he could describe rains in such simple & beautiful way! My friend Abhijit Ghorpade who is a journalist had come to me for his personal work & our talks drifted on a subject of rains & its effect on people; two reasons, because the meeting has got postponed due to heavy rains & I & Abhijit both are keenly interested in anything related to nature. Interestingly Abhijit was making an issue in form of a magazine & subject was water, featuring mainly rain aspect of it. I have never written in general about any topic till now yet I said I will also like to share my views about rains & he said why not, try it!  Actually as Rojer says, I am one of those who just get wet when it comes to rain; it was a Monday morning, week’s start which isn’t a pleasant thing for many especially the office goers! And keeping in tune with the reputation of Pune rains, working hours down pour started from the sky. I stay right adjoing to my office building so when I reached to my office, most of my staff was entering in office with all wet clothes & cursing to the rains. Earlier in the morning after my game of badminton when I reached to Vaishali for a cup of tea, the scene wasn’t different as there also it was all wet & waiters were hurrying through the puddles of water & using not so good words for the rain god! I remembered my younger days when I was having a two wheeler & yes I can imagine my staff’s feelings for the rains as it’s not a very good feel to get drenched & work all day long with wet clothes. And on two wheeler however covered you are with any type of rain coat, your face & your shoes are the parts which you can’t protect from getting soaked up & that is eeekks feel! I was driving back from Vaishali to my office & rain was pouring all the way & I was looking through windows of my AC Car towards the faces of rikshawalas, two wheeler riders, street hawkers & pedestrians; it was interesting to see how the same rain has different effect on different people. All these people definitely not carrying happy looks on their rains but frustrated due to traffic jams in rains & strain clearly flowing on the faces along with the rain drops & eagerness to reach to the destination as early they can! I am sure none of these faces welcomed the rains however needed it is! Then there were school kids walking smiling & giggling in the rains & then the college boys on bikes feeling at ease enjoying rain ride; for them its excitement! Yes I too remember my college days when rains we used to love though I myself am not much fond of getting wet yet with friends you flow! Though even today I don’t like rains as I miss my walks, agreed the option of going to gym & use trade-mill is there & I do use it yet I love walking on roads under clear sunny sky & not in the rains, some truth I must admit. To walk in rains on slippery foot paths (if at all there are some), avoiding splashing from passing vehicles & wondering which puddle of water can be open manhole to make you fall in, is really a punishment in city of ours.

And then I remembered all the “whats app” messages as well media headlines about the draught & shortage of water in dams supplying water to Pune city. The situation is graver in many other parts of State with little or no rains this year! And on one side people are praying for rains it’s funny to see how city people react to rains! I know sitting in AC car & with no distance to cross to reach at office from home, it’s far easier for me to comment like this but then for my work i.e. site construction too, rains are always trouble times! This rain was also no exception as one of the sites where excavation is going on the soil adjoining to excavated pits slide down exposing foundation of our compound wall & making huge damage to the same. Fortunately no one was residing or working there so no harm done except financial but then the site people as well workers are another class who hates rains! Living in tin shades & floor of concrete or made up earth isn’t a fancy thing as with more pouring from the sky the wetness travels up from the ground making entire tin shade which is home for many families on site, everything from bed to clothes gets dampness. Then there is problem for drying of clothes as these people don’t have washing machines with driers at their service!
Same is the scene in rains for millions of people living in slums which we call as cancer of the city but then no one live in slum by choice. Here the situation is worst as its not only the dampness from floor & roof but the drainage gets chocked up & everything which we call as garbage flows on surface & enters in the tin shades which are home for the slum dwellers making entry for all sorts of diseases. And then there is always threat of accidents by short circuit as electric connections here are often  without any safety manual as open so most susceptible for  any accidents causing causalities! Same is condition for those living in wadas or chawls as they are a shade better in term of accommodation in comparison with the slums but the age old construction of thousands odd wadas which mainly are made of clay & timber gets more rotten or depalipilated with every monsoon. This is not only unhygienic but threat to life also as every rain brings down two/three old wadas causing causalities of human life as well getting many families on roads, taking out their shelter!
But the same rain is boon for many people directly & for millions rather crores of peoples indirectly. In the direct list along with the farmers there are officers from irrigation department as well civic bodies like PMC, whose job of facing the people is bound to get easier with enough water at hand. Also there are politicians who get happy due to rains obviously they have to face less agitated voters though there are many other issues of day to day living. The farmers yes are the direct beneficiaries but then not all rains are welcome; I am not a farmer but with little general knowledge can say that rain is good only if it’s in tune with the cycle of crops. When its harvesting time as well growing time then only rain is essential, many a times when the crop is ripe at such times the rains can have devastating effect damaging the crops! 

And the very same rains in rural are a different story at all; with poor infrastructure for drainage & roads the living conditions becomes very difficult in villages. Yet here water is life line as in most villages of our State the only source of drinking water is whatever they get from rainfall. I am from a small town in one of the driest patches of Vidarbha region & there in summer some thirty years back also water used to get sold on bucket basis! And one won’t question the quality as whatever you are getting is in itself considered as blessing, in those days Bislery i.e. bottled water was unheard of & even today I doubt how many people can afford that option! And in villages rains are different than we have in Pune, it downpours heavily as its open fields & flooding everything as most of the land is open so there are no water ways but water flows where ever gravity takes it. The roads get washed out & for days villages gets cut off from the neighboring towns causing scarcity of essential things even food & vegetables. Yet here you won’t find strained faces due to rains as these people are more dependent on rains than we city guys & knows their survival in long terms depends on the rains only.

If you really want to feel the rains then go to jungles & here the same rain gets different form. In jungle everybody including the trees to grass to animals & insects greets the rains with joy as for them its life. One shower & the entire face of the jungle changes & get painted in all sorts of greens.

This reminds me a very beautiful advertise on TV of some washing powder, I think Tide. An office going man is shown with white shirts & he is walking along a road where it’s just rained & drizzling with holding an umbrella in his hand for protecting his white shirt from stains. Suddenly a kid came running towards him & jumps in the water pond near him & in a second his all white shirt get stained with the muddy water!  The expression on the face of the man & the kid were so typical that you can stop remembering your school days when you have jumped in a water pond on the road! Such a wonderful thing the rain is; if you don’t have then you are in trouble but you want it without getting any of your routines hampered! I think that’s curse of our city life where we measure everything in only the terms like gain & loss. Here the rains are always a disturbance to achieve our targets may it be reaching to some meeting or ever going site work or selling our products. We do want water whenever we need it & that too in the form we feel comfortable, sometimes its Bislery bottle, sometimes by tanker or even in form of ice cubes; we don’t mind showers but that too at our bathing time & temperature soothing to us only. We have forgotten that the water is form of nature & nature is best enjoyed the way it comes to you. And if it brings along destruction then it’s no fault of nature but it’s our failure to use it properly.

I think, off late like the office going man in the TV ad, we have lost the charm of enjoying rains in our daily chaos or else remember when last you have welcomed rains with open arms & felt first drops on your face, secretly drinking few of it! Try to recall when you have last looked at rainbow in the sky & stopped doing whatever you were at & admired its beauty! In my childhood the first rains got along red colored velvet skin bearing insects & we used to touch their velvet skin & that excitement I still miss. The fragrance of earth after the first rains, how many of us still have it in our mind? As in our city life we are concertizing every single inch leaving no space for earth & in the process lost that fragrance itself! And it’s high time we should learn to live the rains & try to make use of every drop nature god gives to us, that will not be only using utility of the water then but it will be knowing the meaning of life & then no one will just get wet in the rains!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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