Monday, June 19, 2006

Remebering from the margins 1- Monsoon in kerala

Monsoon in Kerala
It’s mid May. It’s hot and humid. But I don’t mind it. The rains are not far behind. How I love the rainy season in Kerala. Have always loved it. As children, we hoped and prayed for rains so we could splash our way to school and get there drenched. The teachers would fuss over us. If we were completely drenched, they would take us to the boarding school and get spare dresses which we would change in the parlour.
And then they were the umbrellas. The excitement of buying new umbrellas – those colourful ones in yellow, red and green alternating. Oh yes, I was one for losing them and got spanked regularly but did not mind it ‘cos of the excitement of the new one I’d get the next day.
I remember a funny incident which took place when I was in the middle school. I have a brother who is a master of exaggeration. He once came home with the story of how and man carrying a milk pail was struck by lightning as he was crossing the Maharaja’s college ground. Hid body when found was blue in colour. Brother explained how metal attracts lightening and how one should not have any metal on the body if outdoors during a thundershower.
As it turned out, as I was returning home from school during the Tula Varsham, down came the rain with horrible flashes of lightening and deafening thunder. And I had an umbrella with me. As I was in the middle school, my mom thought that I was old enough for the more expensive steel umbrella, and so I was carrying metal with me that day.The image of the dead blue man kept flashing before me. I panicked. didnt know what to do with that lethal stuff- I even considered throwing it away when suddenly I realized I was right in front of a store (I still remember it. it was called Sovereign stores). The owner knew who I was as I lived just down the road. I ran into the store, folded the umbrella and asked him if he could hold it just for moment. He obliged. The minute the umbrella changed hands, I ran out of the store. I had a terrible feeling that he would follow me with the umbrella as he didn’t want to be the person to be electrocuted. I threw a quick backward glance. I still remember the utter consternation on his face as he stood there staring after me – for it was raining really really hard and there I was discarding an umbrella and running into the rain!!!
As I approached the house, I saw my mom waiting in the porch. She thought I had lost the brand new umbrella and gave me a good hiding. For some reason, I didn’t tell her what I did with it. I was ordered to change, and dry myself well before touching food. As I came down for tea, I saw my mother waiting in the dining room with the umbrella in her hand and a strange expression on her face. I refused to explain my action and I kept mulishly mum. She was thoroughly confused and told my aunt about it. My aunt interrogated me but didn’t get anything out of me. So finally they decided I did it in order to fall sick so that I could keep away from school.