It's raining, time to shut down.

Bangalore is going through a pretty wet patch of weather right now, thanks to Cyclone Nilam. Having grown up in Calcutta, I am no stranger to all day rains, water-clogged roads and overflowing gutters, but I have to admit Bangalore rains are quite different. It is not like Chennai rains, which always seem to be in a hurry. As if it were ashamed to be there, pouring over a town which is almost a desert. It starts and gets over before you know it. Whereas Calcutta rains are more like a seasoned wrestler. It takes its time. Having come punctually for hundreds of years, it knows the terrain. It splits its workload and systematically floods every part of the city. And you can actually feel it savoring every bit of it.

Bangalore over the last two days has been neither this nor that. It has rained continuously but not a downpour, it was rather like a steady fast drizzle. Accompanied by rib-stirring winds, the rains painted the city in a layer of mist and grey. Having devoured many English authors, i wonder if this is how London appears on most days of the year?
Some might find rainy weather to be quite depressing, but not me. I find the rains to be a very spiritual and personal experience. When your outside world is cloaked in water, you have little choice but to look inside.

Today we live in an age of consumerism. Information overload is no longer a possibility but rather the norm. With so much commotion outside, we dont get much time or energy to look within and explore the inner tracts of our own mind. As a kid, i remember watching the Calcutta rains. They would always be preceded by chronic power cuts. So without any power, there was no TV, radio or computer. so i would just look out at the window and watch the birds flying home or leaves floating on the rain water. its funny that after so many years, my memories of Calcutta are not about the grand Durga Puja Pandals i visited or the great tourist sites i saw a million times, but rather about these tiny rain-induced excursions into the mundane. I think the rains do that to you. They block out the noise and let you contemplate on the simplest of things with amazing clarity. I dont know if my time spent watching the rains led to any great ideas but i would like to think that they did.

In 2012, rains in India no longer mean chronic power-cuts in most places (thankfully, claim school kids studying hard for mid terms) so even when its pouring outside, we still have every gadget alive and kicking, ergo no stop to the rain of information. But i urge everybody to switch them off. Consider the rains to be the alarm from above to stop looking outside and to start looking inside. God knows, it does not rain often nowadays, so you wont have to do this e-exile very often. switch off everything, sit in the balcony and watch the rains pour. Relax with a cup of coffee and a good book, preferably a classic. Take in the smell of the water and the mud. In a city, we dont get many chances of experiencing nature, so consider the rains to be your tour guide to a more simpler time!  

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