It’s 9 in the morning, I struggle to leave my bed. Last night, I had finally opened the Glenfiddich bottle.
I rub my eyes and peep out of the window crack. Everything is hazy. An illustrious thunder finally brings me to senses! I listen to the rattling and loud voice of rain, ferociously hitting the South Bombay roads. I gather courage to fling the windows open to have a look at the rain’s intensity. Yes, we didn’t have a balcony. The flats with balcony in SoBo were too costly for bachelors, who had just started earning.
I realize that the rains were of immense intensity! The rush hour was still on! Navigating their umbrellas through popping heads, Mumbaikars were still scrambling their way through. I shift focus and start staring at the drops, dripping from the lush green tree, next to my building. Sweet nature!
It took 5 minutes for the realization to kick in that I had to go to office today! Well, I kept on contemplating whether to go to office or not. It was middle of the month and I hadn’t called sick for a long time now! A piping hot cup of coffee and a work free day would make an amazing combination with the rains, I thought.
I steam my coffee, scramble some eggs and switch on the TV. With upbeat songs playing on VH1, I start my lazy day off, I was calling in sick today.
As I settle comfortably and place my legs on the table resting between TV and couch, the rain intensifies. The coffee mug and plate of scrambled rains rest on the table, waiting me to start my long breakfast. I increase the TV volume to overcome the rattle of raindrops falling on aluminium roofs of the adjoining slums.
I finish my eggs and place the empty plate next to the couch, on the ground. Suddenly my phone starts beeping. “Umang, you are late!” my boss yelled! ”Damn” , I thought. There’s a regional sales meeting today where I would toss some figures in the air which no one would care to catch!
“Sir, rains! I’m stuck in traffic” I had head on my shoulders. “Why can’t I hear traffic?” my boss also had one. “The phone is in my Helmet sir!” Woah, that was close! “Come soon, people are waiting!”. He slams the phone shut.
I jump off the couch, bump my right foot in the empty plate in which some egg was still there! Yuck! I hoped my way to the bathroom where my flatmate was whistling while taking a shower. I started banging ferociously to which his whistling stopped. A couple of more knocks and he said “Kya hai?” (What?). “Jaldi kar!” (Make it quick!).
He unwilling cut his shower short and I rushed in hurriedly. In 7 minutes, I was ready! I take a glance out of the window and the rain was still pouring incessantly. My bike was useless today. I catch hold of my umbrella, which I had borrowed from an office colleague yesterday and run towards the main road to hail a taxi.
Luckily, I find a taxi standing right on the main road. I knock on the window and give him my office address. He refuses. Why! God, Why!? You seemingly give a drowning man plank and he discovers it to be metal!? That is just brutally cruel!
Well, I was late already! So, I just stand there, under a shop’s roof, waiting for another taxi. I shake droplets off my formal shoes and check my shirt for creases with one hand as the other hand tries to stop some taxis. The droplets were falling on my umbrella from edge of the shop shutter under which I stood. I sneeze suddenly, causing inconvenience to the other 15 people standing under the same shop shutter.
Finally, a God sent angel stopped in front of me. A taxi driver wanted to take me to my office! Tears of joy rolled out of my eyes! I was in the taxi and now there was nothing that can be done to reach office as soon as possible. So, instead of worrying about facing my boss, I stared at the taxi window and at the skyscrapers through it.
The top floors of these posh buildings were hidden in the dark clouds. The slums dwellers, under some of these buildings, were trying to keep water out of their home. Some 20 people stood under a shop shutter, watching today’s cricket game on the tiny TV in the shop. The shopkeeper didn’t mind the crowd, he was actually chatting with everybody, passing judgement on cricketers every now and then! The trains were not working today, leading to heavy increase in traffic. The sky was like a canvas painted by a furious artist, venting his angry emotions out through art. Maybe he stays in Kandivali and his office is in Mahalaxmi.
“Aa gaya Sir (We reached Sir)” My taxi driver startled me. I quickly paid him Rs 20 and he returned Rs 2. I rushed towards the lift in my office building. There were people waiting for lift. Well, most of the people were late. I recognized a sales guy from my team. “Arre? Meeting shuru nahi hui? (Has the meeting not started?)” I asked curiously. “Koi aaya hi nahi hai ab tak! (No one has come yet!)”he replied. I started wondering why did my Boss call me urgently.
I reached my floor and rushed to the cafeteria to grab my morning coffee. I needed it the most today! My boss was sipping coffee while admiring the Mumbai skyline through large glass panes from our 13th floor. I went to him and started apologizing for being late. He replied “Koi baat nahi, I just told you that you are late. When did I say that the meeting had started?”. He laughed and I also threw in a pretentious chuckle. He was just getting bored and thought to have some fun by freaking me out! Well, a good man that he was, he later bought me lunch 🙂
That evening, I went to Marine Drive. The heavy rain had transformed in pleasant drizzle. The mighty waves of the ocean had turned into pristine & gentle currents in a swaying sea. I just sat there, with my legs hanging freely and cool waft of wind in my hair, staring at the Mumbai skyline and the vast, vast ocean.
As I write this, I am sitting in Bangalore, admiring this amazing weather. But, I miss Mumbai rains. I miss seeing the dark clouds covering most of the tall buildings. I miss observing the droplets, racing down the taxi window. I miss the helpful people, who empathize with your pain of traversing through rains. I miss the honesty of taxi drivers who always have change. I miss the splashing waves at Marine drive during rains. But, something which I miss the most, is the evening Sun, which gently slides below the horizon, hides under the sea and indicates the city skyline to illuminate brilliantly.
Well, that’s Mumbai for you and that’s why Mumbai rains are special! Life doesn’t stop and spirit doesn’t break because of rains in Mumbai 🙂
This is one chapter from my nostalgic diaries!
Featured image credit – Flickr