“Rain came pouring down when I was drowning that’s when I could finally breathe,
And by morning gone was any trace of you and I think I am finally clean.”
– Taylor Swift.
Rain – what is it? A step in the water cycle that we kept drawing for the first four years of school? Or is it something more than mere leakage of clouds and volumetric spray of processed sea water?
As I reminisce, I remember my first rain was ruined by my screams and incessant crying. That year, Karachi had its last hailstorm. Everyone was out except my mother and my approximately four year old self, at 3 pm. All of a sudden it got really dark and electricity went out. I was scared, very badly. We couldn’t contact the rest four members of the family since mobile phones weren’t trendy in Pakistan. I kept asking my mother when my brother would arrive, I’ve always been possessive and careful about him. I kept crying and worrying my mom. She told me to go inside, that nothing would go wrong, that I should not see the sight of “ice stones” falling if I was that scared. It seemed like a good idea. I grabbed a cover sheet and lied down on one of the sofas. I stayed silent, and probably fell asleep. An hour later, everyone else arrived but I couldn’t get up. There wasn’t enough energy left. My parents came to see what was wrong. Mumsy touched my forehead and said, “She has fever.” Dad got worried and sat beside me. “She was afraid. I guess that’s why.”, my mother commented. All in all, I didn’t enjoy my first rain and ruined it for everyone else.
Next year when it rained, it was the month of July. I jumped in a puddle for the first time and monsoons weren’t a scary thing anymore.
This became a ritual in upcoming years, that I’d ask Mumsy if I could take a shower in rain and she’d say yes whilst getting another pair of my clothes out of my wardrobe. It was never a worry, I knew that she was the one responsible to get me cleaned up and all. Me and my brother would run to the roof top, almost jumping on every stair, crossing the thick flow of water and finally taste those divine drops.
Then came the years when every time monsoon struck Karachi or resumed its series, it always happened to be my birthday. I felt blessed to have that one gift even when nobody could wish me a happy birthday because of vacations. I felt blessed being remembered by Almighty. All was well until when some nine years ago I wasn’t home when it rained for the second time in that same week. All the kids of the host family ran out in the terrace and got wet, having fun in heavy rain. I couldn’t decide if I should go out or not, since I didn’t have a spare pair of clothes. The kids came back in after a while for pakoras. Seeing an empty terrace, I couldn’t resist that urge. I stepped out when no one was looking. I enjoyed that rain, I tasted a lot of rain water and I actually felt free. The homemaker lady of that family stepped out and saw me and furiously scolded me saying that I shouldn’t have stepped out in the rain if I didn’t have a spare pair of clothes. She grabbed my arm and took me inside, threw a towel on my face and told me to dry myself. As a twelve year old, it felt offensive – but I couldn’t cry cause I wasn’t home. That was one hard time when I missed home badly. Now when I look back on it in retrospect, I feel pity for her. She could have offered me her clothes or her daughter’s clothes or any damn thing and she could have kept quiet and she could have done anything else than what she did – but she didn’t. I got home and changed my clothes later and decided two things : I wasn’t going to wear those clothes again, and I wasn’t going to step out in any rain – ever again.
I lived by the promise for eight years. Rains made me feel nostalgic and angry. Until last year when I decided to break that weird self promise and to move on. With a sudden roar, last August, the sky started crying really heavily. Everyone was home. My mother asked me to clean the marbled porch. I went out and held the wiper in my hand. I looked up and it was the same heavenly sky as it was eight years back. I stood there, letting rain drops wet my hair. They made little five petaled flowers on my skin as if they were finally home. As I was done with the chore that my mom asked me to do, I sat in the doorway, looking out at the sky, thinking why I wasted eight years for people who didn’t matter. Some mud came down the drain and the porch was a mess again. Mumsy called out to my brother to bring a bucket full of water so that we could wash the whole thing, once and for all. It had stopped raining. I heard my mother saying to my brother, “What are you doing???!!” in a surprised tone. I didn’t bother to turn around and he emptied the whole bucket of water on me. “What the hell did you just do?”, I took off my spectacles and glared at him in fury. “Nothing, just had fun.”, he exploded in a bash of laughter. I cracked into a smile and luckily my sister photographed me in that pose. I still have that photo cause it speaks tons about the intensity of that emotion. Eight years was a long time, but I still had time – that, I knew.
This year, I don’t know why I was certain that it won’t rain in Karachi. But it did. I was overwhelmed with joy and took some photos; connected Wi-Fi and instantly uploaded a photo on Instagram. To my surprise, I got my first feature since that photo got featured on the country’s best paper’s Facebook page. This time it wasn’t my birthday, but it felt like one. Have a look at the feature :
This year was weird and amazing with all this rain scenario. I experienced my first (kinda)rain in University, because I had experienced a downpour in school and college both, so I needed a firm record. (stupid shizz). I was out, a lot, when it was raining real hard. This year, Karachi faced a lot of rain – which is extremely unbelievable but then – Almighty can do wonders. This year, I took a hell lot of photos of rain. This year, I became a somebody. This year – is so far the best year ever. Alhamdulilah.
I have no idea why I have written 1163 words – just because http://www.rainymood.com is playing in my ears? I should conclude this post right here. Sigh.
Here is the rest of rain photography. Enjoy every freakin rain no matter what. Cheers!