Varsham – it ‘feels’ different

I received a ‘missed call’ from the driver, something he does every day when he reaches my place and that indicates the cab is ready. I completed my lunch, grabbed my bag and ran down the stairs. It was drizzling but that shouldn’t matter as I have a cab to get to work. I reached the gate and was looking out at the cab that was parked on the other side of the road. All I have to do is cross the road and get in. Driver was waving to help me locate him. I saw him there already; he parks his cab right opposite the gate all the time, in the very same spot. I guess I was hoping for something else. I wished he turned around and came right in front of the gate, so that I can get into the cab without those few rain drops falling on my head and shoulders. If I can keep dry till I get into the cab, am safe until I reach my office and back.

Isn’t getting drenched in rain fun? Of course it is. All the more if it is in first few rains of the monsoon. Well, if it’s on the way to work, how damaging can a few drops be? Nil. Was I the same a few years ago? No. What has changed? Is it the rain or me? Obviously it has to be me. But why? That is a very big question!

A few years back when I rode to work on my bike, rain has never bothered me. It was hardly a point to consider before starting to work. May be a little consideration; to help me carry the windcheater or jerkin and that’s it. Calling in late or taking a leave was not even an option. I used to ride for about an hour without stopping in bus stops or under the trees on the road side. Or, maybe once for a hot cup of chai, if I had company. If I can reach office, it’s as good as the work day was over. Getting completely drenched was very common for all my friends as well. Yes, not just the shoulders or head (I always wore a helmet though) but top to bottom, inside-outside and deep under. We still used to be ready for next day with the same energy and enthusiasm.

When I got into the cab, closed all windows, turned on AC, spared an ear to the latest movie album tracks and funny gags on Radio Mirchi softly playing in the cab stereo, I was wondering what has changed in these few years. I mentioned this point-worth-pondering with colleagues at work and we were all smiling and exchanging stories of what all we could happily do without a second thought a few years ago. We also admitted that we are not game for many of those ‘feats’ now, not knowing the reasons of course. Or at least, there is a second thought.

One says it’s the corporate life and shift changes that have put us in this place. Another says it’s the food habits and ‘city life’ meaning pollution and stuff(?). One more says we can still be the same, but only sparingly. Who would say no to a road trip to Srisailam on bikes? But how many are willing to ride to office in rain every day? There is a difference and equal ambiguity too. I don’t say it’s better or worse than before; I just say it’s different.

Anyways, what do YOU think has changed? And how have YOU changed, if at all you did.

Thank ME for the monsoon!

Monsoon_kadvi01I am sure everyone is happy that it rained over the weekend. Though delayed by almost a month compared to the standard schedule, monsoon started everywhere else a week before and finally it is good that Hyderabad is catching up as well. Hope this is not a false alarm like it happened a few weeks ago. But anyways, as I declared today in facebook, I flipped the mattress this morning. So, summer is officially over. Cheers!

Here are some scientific facts you need to consider to believe that I personally am the reason for the rain over the weekend:

I had to attend a wedding on Friday evening. A school friend got married somewhere deep inside the old city. This would be my first attendance for Islam wedding so was curious to see how it’s done and especially how it is different, if any. I had to be there by 7pm. I started at 7 from home and caught up with a three other friends on the way and reached Charminar by 8pm.

I didn’t have my camera with me. Normally I would, but this being my first Islam wedding I was not sure of the laws-of-the-land. I preferred not to carry my cam compared to any trouble or inconvenience or even embarrassment there. But then, how can I stand in front of Charminar and NOT take a picture? For a moment, I was a tourist in my own city! What an awesome monument in Hyderabad! Last time I stood there was when I gave BCA semester exams. One of the colleges in that area was my examination center and I therefore had a glance of the Charminar few times that week. And before that: when I was in seventh standard when we came to Hyderabad on a class trip.

I survived the moment by my inability to take a picture anyway and reached the venue. It was 8.30pm. We entered the function hall and were the first four to be present there. Surprising! We sat in a nearby café for Irani Chai and called our groom friend to find out the status. He said he would be there in an hour. I wasn’t very impressed but what if that’s how the weddings are? We were chatting and catching up on all old memories for an hour and called him around 9.30pm. We were told the wedding party would arrive in 30 mins. Meanwhile, another friend joined us. I wanted to leave but they convinced me to stay for 30 more mins and decide if the wedding didn’t start by then. 10pm when we called, the status hasn’t changed much. Expected wait time was 20-25 mins to START the wedding. I promised another friend to see him by 10-10.30 and so I left without even saying hi to the groom. It was bad of me but they were already three hours behind the schedule! Being night could be a little problem but more than that it was somewhere deep inside the old city. And it was Friday! I wouldn’t even know how to get out of there if I have no company!

I had to make my own dinner arrangement then. I checked my wallet and was low on cash. Target one: ATM. After much roaming the streets in the old city, found one and withdrew some cash. Target two: Chicken Biryani. It was lucky of me to see a ‘Kababish’ center (popular food chain in Hyderabad). We had food there multiple times so kind of trusted vendor. I picked up a biryani and then the grilled chicken was tempting outside. Got a bird and started off. From there, it’s an hour to my friend’s place easily- through Rajendra nagar, zoo park, mehdipatnam, kondapur, miyapur and what not. All the while my friend and I were updating each other on the status of ATM and food. And we figured out- as we have a grilled bird and a chicken biryani, how about some beer? Target three: beer. After a few stops (damn beer shortage in the city) I could find some at premium price. After 45 minutes of city sub-urban area tour, reached the friend’s place at 11.30pm.

Oh, by the way, the reason for rain? I was on bike all the while. I normally hate to stop multiple times on the way anywhere except for clicking some pictures. This night, I stopped for a dozen times and I had to! I didn’t want to wade through the old city traffic with car, so I decided to hop on Activa. That was it! Adding to all the trouble (fun in a way of course) I was going through that night, what else can make it worse? (or more fun?). It’s the rain!! And therefore, it started. :) Why else would it rain on that very night while millions of population has been waiting for more than a month now! And am sure if I had stepped out in my car, it wouldn’t have rained. So, you’re welcome in advance for all the thank you messages. And I apologize for the delay in getting the monsoon. I will gear up next year and make sure to get it in time! :)