By M.V.Ramakrishnan

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Www : Wet Weather Woes

What I find so rewarding about some of the articles in my column Delhiberations, which I had scribbled in the evening paper in New Delhi so long ago, is that they still seem to be so fresh and readable!   There must be several reasons why they've survived the test of time.  An important one was that successive Editors had set no limits to my freedom of expression or style, and had encouraged me to view even very ordinary situations in a conceptual light,  often blurring the distinction between reports and reflections.
Thus, a routine rainy day could turn quite romantic in my scheme of things!

Evening News, New Delhi
15 July 1977

A rainy day

Early this morning I looked at the sky and got the impression that it was the worst day of the year.

The atmosphere was saturated with mist, and though it was only drizzling, it looked as if it was going to be the  rainiest day of the season.

There were large puddles on the road, some of them more than ankle-deep.

My 8-year-old son Vimo was facing a moral crisis  --  to go or not to go to the school.

In a few hours I was going to face a crisis of my own  --  how to reach my office in time.

When it rains like this, we think the hottest summer day or the coldest winter day would be far better than this.  But on those days, of course, we do think that the wettest day wouldn't be so bad!

When we have a tooth-ache, we think a head-ache would be much better;  but when we have a severe head-ache, we feel we could put up with a tooth-ache far more easily!

When I was a schoolboy, we kids had no moral crisis when it rained hard.  We knew the school would be closed down, and we just stayed home.

In fact, we knew exactly how much rain was required for the headmaster to call it a day  --  we didn't need rain gauges to know that! 

But nowadays we never know whether our children's school would be closed down when it rains, and if so at what stage.

So my wife Raji and I argued the point for half an hour, and finally decided that Vimo shouldn't miss the school.  And sure enough, the school bus came and picked him up.
But within an hour he was back home, saying there was no school!

I find that as the end of the twentieth century is approaching, things have a way of getting more and more complicated.  Matters which used to be quite simple are becoming highly complex subjects for debate and analysis.

Home-made remedies with which our parents used to look after the day-to-day health of the family are practically unknown to us, and we are always knocking on the doctor's door.

The simple joy of just not going to school on a rainy day and thinking no more about it is not available to our children, as it was to us.

Even the school has become a fiercely competitive world. where the rat race of life begins.  My son has no school today, but we don't dare to let him play in the morning.  We tell him to do some school work.

On my way to the office in this awful weather, I can't help looking back with nostalgia to the time when I was a little kid, and could tuck myself  away in the attic on a day like this,  just pottering about and crunching some crisp home-made snacks.

Which reminds me that we no longer make crisp, crunchable snacks at home for the rainy day  --  we are always at the mercy of the market-place!

And, of course, there's no such thing as an attic in our home any more  --  an attic is as alien to our children's way of life as a castle is to ours!

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