A walk in the coastal rains

If you didn't know, coastal rains are mighty heavy. At times, they could be really scary even indoors, much less providing comfort to drive, and even lesser to ride a bike. There was a time, however, when in my sheer madness, I rode a bike from Bangalore to Honnavara during monsoon, brushing the coast Mangalore onwards and daring the coastal rains from Kundapura, that too at night! Of course, I've aged now and seldom get the enthusiasm to weather the weather on the highway! Last weekend, I'd fun driving in the ghat rains, heavy, washing away almost everything small on the roads; why I say small is because recently I moved from my small presence on the highway to a juggernaut of a vehicle: The Tata Sierra! Old habits die hard and when I'm on the roads, I remain as a tiny myself; this time that wasn't necessary, since I wasn't on the roads, but *we* were, the one with me making the we being the helluva SUV. :) Enough self-acclaimed boasting, I digress.

Today, I left the Sierra for some major pending works to “tame” it from its crooked roughness to original wildness and took a walk back in the same coastal rains, on the same coastal roads. Apart from wanting to enjoy the walk and surroundings, I wanted to avoid the torturous, back-breaking (literally), tempo journey. The initial drizzle gave a happy feeling, letting me watch the beautiful greens around. I haven't walked this stretch in a good weather earlier, most of the year being hot and humid. By the way, this is the only season when I feel like settling down near the coast. Of course, other than the monsoon is wet too, but the wetness then is pure perspiration, nothing else. Today was different; it was a drizzle threatening to turn into a downpour soon.

Barring the continuously moving heavy vehicles, picking the rain water off the tar and throwing onto you, on one of the busiest national highways I've seen, namely the NH-17, the walk was a pleasure. I was moving the umbrella sideways from the perpendicular to avoid the truck-tyre-shower bathing me again and again. But soon the threat came true and down came the rains the way it rains here. Except for the reading of time from the clock, most of the monsoon, it would be difficult to sense the time of day, the sun shining oddly near the twilight, after a completely dark and cloudy day. Well exaggerated? Be it so. And so it rained and the umbrella was soon protecting only my head (not that there's much to protect!). Funnily enough, when its pouring like that, you don't mind the trucks and buses showering ya. Its also fun to forget about your getting drenched and instead enjoy the joke on the fools motorbiking with an umbrella in one hand and speeding away, accelerating with the other. Some may call it daring, but I call it stupidity and utter disrespect for people and vehicles on the roads. More than that, its total ignorance towards coastal rains, that maketh the rules and breaketh the lives of those driving! I suppose it wouldn't be unfair if you accord the coastal rains more or less the same respect during a drive as you would to Himalayas during a trek.

Half the distance back home, my clothes were neatly washed. Then the rain seemed to die away and give the sun some job to do from his back seat lazying presence. My clothes decided to drip till the sun shone fully, marking the approach of noon, and then on, dry themselves the other half of the way back. However, when you're almost completely drenched, its not comfortable to slowly dry back during the walk; you prefer the rains instead. Else, its foolish to keep the umbrella open when the sun is shining, unless of course you're so very bent to keep your "fairness" from fading away. But if you close your umbrella, the head that you protected in the rains that passed is open to get wet from the showers off the tree branches and not to forget off-the-tar spray of passing vehicles. So the umbrella preferably reopens.

Meanwhile the clothes have become muddy and sticky, partially dry and you're no longer enjoying the walk fully. This is only because you're not completely dry or completely wet, wanting a digital world against the slow analogue drying! Since there's nothing you can do about it, except to pray for rains, you go back to enjoying the greenery, trying to imagine the view from the houses you pass by, comparing which one is better. The mind starts its breakaway journey into staying indoors watching the rains from the balcony and windows, building castles to have those balconies, windows and terraces, sipping soup or tea. Hah! by the time you return to reality, you're home, among people you know, who watch you and comment, actualizing a forced landing to a social order of not walking in the rains and taking care to stay healthy! :D
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