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BOOK OF RAIN by ANVITA LAKHERA


Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, –– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Rainy Day Mumbai, London, Seattle and the one thing that brings them together is rain. In the past few years more than a fair amount of rain has fallen into my life. And I have had more than a fair amount of time to watch the world go by through rain splashed windows. How vulnerable we are in its presence, and its (even rumoured) absence. Rain falling drop by drop, measured in millimetres per hour has the power to indundate villages and towns; wash away people’s lives. As a child growing up in India one quickly learnt the value of moderation: Too much rain leads to floods, too little to droughts. Unexpected showers, no matter how welcome, too often spelled disaster. All good things, in all good time. Watching raindrops chase one another on the windowpane, one is confronted with a unique paradox; time appears to standsill even as the moments, each as ephemeral as a drop of rain, are fleeting away right before one’s eyes. All text and photographs by: Anvita Lakhera https://www.facebook.com/SometimesIWriteSometimesIAm


Rainful Days, Seattle Outside my window it rains. A thin, wispy blanket blows across the hills, the airplanes approaching land, the tall towers named after men long gone. Everything is melting into little droplets sliding down the windowpane. Five years, four cities, three continents and I could be an expert on rain. And umbrellas. Only I have traded all my umbrellas for a sturdy rain jacket. There is a silence that accompanies the gentle rain. I have known this rain before. This rain that is not like the Indian monsoon, which tends towards extravagance, but much quieter. There are no peacocks dancing or children splashing around in the puddles or young men and women rushing to meet the giant waves with only an umbrella in hand. This rain isn’t a short-lived heady celebration. It is the thing that remains when all celebrations are over. Here there is a kind of certitude, not like that of London, but something that comes when one understands what this too shall pass really means. Or, maybe because just yesterday this rain soaked view was bathed in a beautiful light that exists only in spring. And there is always a chance that it may happen again. Even today.

I hear the chickadees call from the blue house next door. The rain has stopped. No, this is merely a pause. And this too shall pass. I reach out and pick up the book closest to my hand. I open a random page it reads: The beauty of a fleeting moment is eternal.* *The Monster Loves his Labyrinth: Notebooks by Charles Simic.


London Diary: Bleaker than the bleakest day Oh damn! It looks bleak. Bleak enough to evoke a thousand curses on the way to work. So bleak that it inspires many facebook statuses moaning the bleakness. Bleakness that is grey-black clouds and cold steely rain. Bleaker than the bleakest day remembered from the years long gone. But the world outside my window is green. I watch the rain and wind command the trees through a cycle of impossible calisthenics. As the misty blanket engulfs and obscures the towering grey man-made giants. Till all that is visible is the trees and the lone grey heron waiting and watching, as is his destiny. No sign of humans; even the drone of traffic is subdued by the shrieking, gusty wind. Outside my door the red geraniums and blue bellflowers revel in the rain. Birds flock to the lone feeder hanging on by a black shoelace. A blue tit impatiently awaits its chance to get a footing on the mildly swaying feeder. A blue and yellow speck dashing among the magenta fuchsia while the others nibble. Amidst the vague calls of tea-cher, tea-cher and other sihishishishi’s. Finally as the rain falls down by the fistfuls and the hordes fly away, the tenacious one grips tightly onto the perch and merrily pecks on. Yes, the world outside my window is quite the opposite of bleak.


Rain, I’d like to have a word with you. For days you have been playing that song, quitely, persistently. And now every heart resonates with its beat. But do you hear the silence in my heart? How humans respond to rain is largely defined by geography and culture. Much like all our other resposes. But there are some eternal truths. All hearts leap at the sight of a rainbow. All minds know that there shall be sunshine after rain. And every once in a while every being whether animal, plant or mineral, chooses not to struggle and embraces rain, in all its forms, with all the accompanying methaphors. Acknowledging, and accepting that unnamed something– sorrow, fear or joy. Enveloped in a private silence. And the drop by drop falling rain.


The Fading Moments turn into minutes, days stumble one into the other, months into years, and time, it is said, has passed. We say, life has moved on. Not realizing time and life are two independent entities. Mutually exclusive. Rarely does one care for the other. Rain falls on Bombay. This is Bombay with its ancient banyan trees and chawls with pots of hibiscus flowering red and yellow on the windowsills. The corrugated iron sheets hiding from public view the gaping hole in the earth that will, in some days and months, turn into a gleaming steel and glass monstrosity. Slowly, over days and months, it will rise from the hidden depths. However, time will not wait. It will lapse. Shaded by umbrellas, small and inadequate, against the monsoon downpour, there will be life, or something like it. And maybe at some moment, on some given day, it’ll summon the courage to softly ask, “But what is the meaning of it all?� Time will most likely not reply. Life will try to catch its fading reflection rippling in a pool of rainwater. Or maybe it will simply sigh. And pass on.


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Book of Rain