Slowly and tenderly, summer slipped off the stage and autumn stole the show.The strong heat wave gave way to the gentler autumn breeze. Escorted by the lullabies of the autumn breeze and announced by the musical trumpets of the sky, the autumn rain arrived in Kathmandu Valley.
The grand finale of this year’s monsoon came on a Saturday afternoon on a platter of emotions, served with the gentle strokes of hope. For the movie-buff, it meant a movie-marathon with the latest releases, some chippies and popcorns in front of the telly under the quilt. For the romantic at heart, it meant a grandiose shower of love, another reason to love and be loved and the perfect day to get cozy. For the farmers, a heavenly day to relax and watch the Almighty perform his divine magic on the fields with the holy liqueurs of the autumn rain. For the magpies, to swim in the birdbaths in the gardens.
For Kishor, a rainy day is a day where he feels like a king of the rain – powerful yet tender. A day to combine very wicked coffee with lots of hard work at his studio, a day to listen to hopelessly romantic serenades of love, a day to paint beautiful tender strokes of his art, a day to get lost in the magic of the rain. And for me, a rainy day is another where I feel creative epiphanies in my heart, I hear voices of marvelous things, I get lost in the likes of classical music, and while the drunkenness lasts, I let my imaginations dazzle and release the bard in me.
The last time a passionate downpour shone over the valley, my photographer colleague and I decided to drive around Kathmandu to soak up the magnificence of the callings in our hearts. To him, a wild riot of colors in the rain.To me, a rich repertoire of tender, poetic emotions.
I was advised to keep an open mind and soak in the colors of the rain and I went in like a child, with a sense of innate wonder and blissful curiosity. The most striking truth about the rainy day was the burst of a myriad of colors, brightened with the downpour and so full of emotions. The clouds were somber grey and black, but the souls seemed to be too full of love for life to indulge in harrowing oeuvres of sadness, fear or grief. Instead I found multicolored umbrellas and raincoats of blue and red, green and pink, purple and black, yellow and orange all spreading beautiful vibes, only positive vibes. The rain continued its magic as city-goers seemed totally busy in life, waiting for the next tuk-tuk, crossing roads, walking along the pavement, stopping for a cup of tea or a snack besides the road, laughing and talking away in the rain. I felt ecstatic, for I felt and saw people living for the pure joy of it.
The endless traffic crawled, drivers wiping their mirrors in the short intervals, adjusting their hair, tuning into FM stations to catch up on the latest political update or singing along and watching the promenade go by, making the most of what there was, healing, regenerating, harmonizing, living. The rain continued to pour but it seemed to break Nepalese hearts into song, life seemed unaffected. The traffic police continued to get wet in spite of their orange raincoats. They didn’t stop their whistling and their attempts to manage the traffic did not end. The walkers by without umbrellas took aid of their handkerchiefs to escape the rain and the students donning ties and formal uniforms marched in the rain even without raincoats. Along the pavements, people did not stop their trading even under the umbrellas—there was selling and there was buying of sweets, tea, fruits, vegetables and cigarettes. The last few showers sprinkled upon the city-dwellers but the parallel lines of petrol buyers didn’t stop, neither did the multi-colored buses stop on the roads. Kathmandu seemed wet and gray but nowhere did I see tears of melancholy. The bright billboards continued to impose rainbow colors and impress with the marketers’ push strategy. It reminded me that it is our country after all, a country bountiful for one and for all!
Likewise the motorcyclists, often in beautiful shades of rainwear, hurried, on their journeys home, spreading delicate tassels of color all over the place. The heavy traffic with numerous vehicles, sparkling clean after a visit under the natural car wash, their headlights and traffic lights joined in a color bonanza where triumph and joyexploded. The statues of eminent personalities at city centers, now sparkling after the wash, seemed to nod in unison as they enjoyed the pleasure of seeing the freshly cleaned tree-tops and leaves laden with magical diamond droplets. The sweet rain also touched the temple tops and other marvelous monuments where people thronged, in spite of the confetti of rain. To me, the temple-goers seemed to be messengers of God, praying for our beloved Kathmandu Valley and ringing those bells for peace to return.
The variations of the downpour continued through out the day and I couldn’t help noticing a sense of cheerfulness, anticipation, wonder, blissfulness and rush, feelings of life of excess in the city dwellers’ life. As the day came to an end, the holy tender rain also decided to take permanent exile, at least for a few months. He left us with the heavenly smell of the wet earth, fresh air, lifting waves of dust from the dusty roads, soothing lullabies of the rainfall, washing us of yesterday’s charades, reminding us of brighter tomorrows, of making peace, of reforming for good. While Kishor sensed music play on his soul, I wrote music for the rain in my heart. On this one rainy day, Kathmandu blossomed in a colorful tide of new life, maybe because it is primed for good things to unfold.
Mellow Mr. Rain, Mystique Mr. Rain, Marvelous Mr. Rain, come again another day!
(Moheindu Chemjong is a freelance writer and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fig 1: Dhruba Bhakta Mathema with his first grandson and family While reading the recently published Life and...