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A rainy interlude

By Nickunj Malik - Jan 29,2014 - Last updated at Jan 29,2014

Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” says “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.” If you remember the movie, it is Professor Higgins who makes her say this in the speech exercise he designs to break her Cockney accent. Audrey Hepburn as the coarse-mouthed flower seller Eliza, and Rex Harrison as the arrogant phonetics instructor Henry Higgins, immortalised Bernard Shaw’s characters from his play Pygmalion.

However, the little trip down memory lane mentioned above is just nostalgia. Also, the film trivia supplied has no connection to the rain-lashings I experienced in the last fortnight. I was, of course, not in Spain but in my home country India, where the gentle raindrops had assumed gigantic proportions and had become a torrential downpour.

The aqua assault was not restricted to the plains either. The mountains, the valleys, the plateaus and the beaches — every inch of Indian soil was water drenched and soaking wet. And there were puddles, puddles everywhere. A place so watery I had not seen in a long while.

Soon, I got accustomed to it and stopped jumping every time lightning streaked across the thunderous sky. Do Indian homes have lightening conductors? asked the voice in my head. Thoughts of electrocutions dampened the hypnotic urge of stepping out in the rain. An umbrella became an extension of my one hand and balanced the handbag bulging with hand-towels in the other. Drastic situations called for drastic measures, you see.

Dainty stilettos remained in their shoe-bags as flat, rubber soled ballet pumps, became my regular footwear. Within days I turned into an expert at smelling out houses with a clothes dryer versus those with a clothes line.

A big, four-wheel drive vehicle turned out to be my automobile of choice and I memorised the timings in the morning and evening, when it was suicidal to be on Delhi roads. Despite all necessary precautions, if and when stuck in a traffic jam, I learned to make long and useless conversations on the cell phone. With the mobile talk-time in India being possibly the cheapest in the world, I swapped from food recipes to life histories on my cellular handset. I also became an avid listener of the very many FM radio stations on offer, and became compulsively fidgety with the audio settings in any car. Every few seconds I had to switch channels, much to the annoyance of my co-passengers.

At every traffic signal I got emotionally blackmailed into parting with my hard earned money but I came home laden with overpriced trinkets, baubles, ill-printed bestsellers, magazines and so on.

Seeing the age old city of Delhi after a rain-wash is another eye opener. The foliage acquired a bloom and verdant greenery that is otherwise overlooked. The boast of it being the greenest city in Asia attained a tinge of truthfulness as I suddenly noticed the vast parks, the lush lawns and the canopy of closely planted trees.

By the end of my two week sojourn in the wetlands of India I became familiar with the erratic nature of rainfall. Water jets spraying at me did not bother me and I began to find music in the sound of raindrops falling on my head.

But incessant rain made me wistful for a bit of sunshine. I could not wait to get back to my country of residence. Landing at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, glittering in sunlight, made my wish come true. Instantly!

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