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Random Thoughts of a Scrambled Mind

On summer holidays and the rains that follow them

Behold the time of clouds surcharged with rain,
Like to a furious elephant they rise;
Or mighty monarch hurrying to the war;
In place of standards see the lightning’s flash,
And rolling thunder answers to the drum.

– Kalidas in Ritusamhara

 

Most people always seem baffled by my love for rains. They fail to comprehend how a wonderful sunny day with temperatures in the mid 20s can be topped by an overcast, windy and rainy day. Alas, they have never experienced the monsoons. They know zilch about the scorching heat of the summer that precedes the monsoons in India. The unforgiving heat, the long days, made longer by the fact that there was no school to attend. The saving graces – it never was too hot in Dehradun. Temperatures touching 40 were unheard of when I was growing up. And I could catch “Chhuti Chhuti” on Doordarshan. Duck Tales and Talespin are a lot more fun in Hindi, even now. But still, venturing outside the house before 5:30 was almost impossible. “You are going to fall sick in this heat”, mom would chide and like the obedient little kid that I was I would scurry back in the house with my bat over my shoulder.

You see, that was my main gripe with the summer. Countless hours of cricket lost, because it was too hot to play. The summer homework we got during those days was not much either, I definitely don’t remember doing that “one page of Hindi writing daily” that the teacher asked us to do. 60 pages? Duh! That is easily achievable in a couple of weeks. Why waste the whole holidays on something so mundane? However, living in the Indian Institute of Petroleum Colony during the summer had its benefits. Mango and litchi trees were plentiful, and plucking raw mangoes from the trees and eating them was quite common for us. If there is anything that makes the Indian summer worthwhile, it is the amazing fruits you get during that time – Mangoes, Litchis, Watermelons and Muskmelons. My stomach rumbles and my mouth waters even at the thought of these delicacies. I would willingly bear the heat of a thousand suns to savour them. As an aside, I was never a fan of the “Dussehra” Mango, always preferring the “Langra”. “Dussehra” was so overrated.

Another thing that the summer holidays were perfect for was for reading books. With no cable television in the house, there was never anything much to watch on TV. Dehradun did not even get the DD Metro channel those days. All we had was DD1 and there was only so much one could watch on it. But I am not complaining. “Champak”, “Nanhe Samrat” and “Nandan” were devoured the same day that “Sharmaji” (our news paper vendor) delivered them. In addition to these, there were always Enid Blytons, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews to finish. Quite a lot to do then. But it was always getting hotter, and power cuts, though wonderfully infrequent (IIP used to have its own power backup) were still there. This was IIP in the 90s – 35C was too hot and a hour long power cut too much. Air conditioners were unheard of, and even putting the fan at full speed in the night was frowned upon. I used to keep the fan at full speed, and I think my parents used to drop in on me in the night to reduce the speed. It was hot, and then the rains would come.

You know, in the summers I could still play cricket. In the monsoon season,  it was all relative. Rains, heavy rains, continuous rains, were the norm in Dehradun and I probably lost a lot more cricketing hours to rain that I did to the summer sun. But I still loved rains, and love them to death even today.

I would sit in the verandah of the house, with a bag of chips in one hand, and a story book in the other. With the wind blowing, and the heavy rain falling all around me (not on me though) I would proceed to read the book all the while munching on that bag of chips. There never was a better way to read a book. There never was a better season to eat “Aloo Pakoras” or “Pataurs”. Sometimes it would rain continuously for a week, and there would be nothing to do. But it never occurred to me that this was a week of holidays wasted. It was raining, the temperatures were down, there were books to read and chips/pakoras/pataurs to eat and it used to be enough. And if the books were finished, which they invariably were, there was always Dangerous Dave and Prince of Persia (which was way more fun in 2D).  There was also DOOM (iddqd anyone?). I still don’t know of anyone who finished that game without cheat codes.

Though the best part about the rains arrived when the summer vacations got over. The rains were always heavy on the first day of the school after the summer break. Me, with my big yellow duck shaped umbrella, would go to the bus stop. There used to be a lot of kids there, IIP had a lot of school going kids in my days. All with multi-coloured umbrellas. And each one had the same thought – rain more, rain harder. You know why? Because we all wanted a holiday for “rainy day”. Not in many places outside Dehradun do I think this concept exists. School getting cancelled because it is raining too heavily. And we would get to know it when we were already at the school. Not everyone had a telephone connection back then, so it would have been difficult for the school to inform us. And how jolly was the bus ride back home. The whole EC road would be flooded because of the overflowing sewer (they have since covered it), our shoes, socks and uniforms would be soaked through – but it felt so good to celebrate that unexpected holiday.

The monsoon season was also not supposed to a good time to eat street food. However, it was always difficult to keep me away from “Dulara’s” Chowmein, and after some cajoling and tantrum-throwing I usually got my way.

Now, studying in Europe, I miss those rains. I miss the flooding of the EC road, I miss the Rispana bursting to its seams with muddy rain water. I miss riding on a scooter in this rain and getting wet, I miss eating “Bhutta” when it is drizzling. I miss the sound – the sound of thunder, the sound of the rain drops pattering on the roof and the streets. And I miss the chaos, the pure chaos that rains seemed to cause, how they would throw a spanner in everyone’s work and how everyone still loved them

Posted by Rahul on June 30, 2011 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , , , | Comment

Did @ Home

So, in view of the last post here is what I did manage to miss out on at home:

Movies

Yes, I missed out on 3 Idiots and Avatar.

Food

OK, there was no way I was missing out anything food related, was I? I gobbled lots of it. Should last me for a long time – till I go home again, that is.

Travel

Couldn’t get to Mahavirji – the train was delayed by more than 6 hours thanks to the legendary Delhi fog. Andaman, however was everything that I had imagined it to be and a lot more. Paradise on earth.

Watch

Yeah, I enjoyed lots of senseless TV, managed to catch cricket on TV (why did India have to lose that damned final to Sri Lanka?).

Enjoy

I enjoyed every day of my stay at home. There is no other place like it …

Posted by Rahul on February 3, 2010 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , , , | Comment

Todo @ Home

Only 6 days left and then I am in the most beautiful place on this earth – Dehradun, which also happens to be where home is. A big YAY for the semester break. Now, since I am going home after nearly a year there are a lot of things that I must do at home. So here is my todo list – things I simply must do when I get home.

Movies

  • Rocket Singh
  • 3 Idiots
  • Avatar

Food

  • Dosa, Sambhar, Idli, Utthapam
  • KC Momo
  • Dulara Chowmein
  • Lots of “Haldiram’s Chilli Chatak Lachha”
  • LAYS MAGIC MASALA – at least one packet a day, if not more
  • Bhindi – proper Bhindi
  • Gajar Ka Halwa
  • Kaju ki Barfi
  • Rasmalai
  • Mathri with Aachar
  • Roti – you only get that at home
  • Aloo Ke Paranthe – daily for breakfast with Hing Ka Aachar
  • Poha – when not having Aloo ke Paranthe for breakfast
  • And any and everything that mom make

Travel

  • Andaman
  • Chennai
  • Mahavirji

Watch

  • Finally watch cricket matches on TV (maybe even DD with classic Hindi commentary)
  • Catch snatches of useless Indian TV serials
  • Browse through all the useless movie channels which keep showing the same movies for 5 years
  • Learn about senseless news such as suspected aliens stealing cows or such on the great circus of Indian news channels
  • Tune in to channels which only show trailers of new and upcoming Bollywood movies for 24 hours

Enjoy

  • The great Dehradun winter – sunny, fog free and a pleasant 20C
  • Being at home

Oh, and maybe also studies for my exams in January!

Posted by Rahul on December 11, 2009 | Posted in Food | Tagged , , , | Comment

Spring Semester, Home and back!

Yeah, after the intersession came the spring semester. Wasn’t much different than the fall semester, now was it. Yes, there was studying to do and there was homework to do. There was the same old Aramark and there was the same great Bremen weather. And in between, there was something called the cricket world cup to forget which is the duty of all Indians.
 
There was some fun to be had as well, I finally managed to pay a visit to the Other Side, after ignoring it nearly for six months. It was not that I could not resist it any more but then sometimes you have to give in to your friends as well!
 
Soon enough, or was it four months, it was time to go home. Before that there was this beautiful thing about having to clear your room which was no fun at all. Having never packed a suitcase in my life before, I was a bit apprehensive. Though, soon enough, I got hold of the general concept which is to get all the stuff that needs to go inside the suitcase inside it and then somehow close the suitcase. And yes, I managed it, without much difficulty. Within minutes, or it seemed so, I was on my way to India, my home!
 
The trip back was not long at all, Shx was traveling on the same flight, so there was no question of boredom. And the excitement of going home ensured that the time flew as fast as the airplane. My family was there at the airport to welcome me, and when my brother hugged me, I knew I was home. I was eager to New Delhi, so that we could begin our six hour journey to Dehradun, our home. And when we finally reached there in the evening I was home physically as well.
 
It was great being back, Everything seemed somehow new and yet it was the same. There was home cooked food to be had, and all I can say that my mouth is still watering at this moment as I am writing about it. Yes, and I did meet most of my old friends from school, and it felt wonderful to be together again, after a long year. Words are not enough to describe my feeling of satisfaction of being back, of spending three long and yet very short with people who genuinely care for me and whom I love more than myself. There is no need for me to say anything for it was time to go back to Jacobs University, to Bremen and to Germany.
 
And so here I am, back in Germany, back in Bremen and back at Jacobs University starting my second year, a crunch year. Just waiting to see what lies ahead.

Posted by Rahul on September 21, 2007 | Posted in Food, Random Ramblings | Tagged , , | Comment