On my way to recovering my senses after a terrible month at a job in Chennai that nearly killed my hopes, aspirations, and imagination, I wrote to one of India’s most popular web portals asking if they had a place for me. They replied saying they needed a sub-editor to work with their news desk. I had a post-graduate diploma in journalism, so it looked like a good fit.
No small part of the reasons behind me wanting to get away from Chennai that year was the heat. The sun was mercilessly burning up everything in sight and I had a dangerous-looking sunburn scar on the right side of my face to prove it. I was dying to see some rain, or at any rate, a few distant rain clouds at least. Phone calls from my parents didn’t help either — they kept talking about how hard it was raining in Cuttack.
So I replied to their email saying I was interested and they asked me to come over to Mumbai for a “casual” interview. They wanted someone on their news desk and they were also looking to explore this newfangled thing that nobody seemed to be able to shut up about — blogging.
My qualifications? It was 2005 and I had a blog.
I packed my bags in great excitement as there was talk of Mumbai being under heavy rains (these rains were to practically inundate Mumbai in the coming weeks, but no one knew it at that time). Job or no job, I just wanted to get drenched.
When my train reached Mumbai, I found the same merciless sun staring down at me, apparently amused at some cosmic joke the gods were playing at me. Mumbai’s heat wasn’t killing, but it was the post-rain-humidity sort of heat that was doubly annoying because of my dashed Mumbai rain dreams. And then my cousin stationed in Chennai called up to inform me happily that Chennai was being whipped by furious rains. The interview happened in the meantime, went well, and I got the job.
I roamed the city of dreams morosely, met with friends and told them rather gloomily that I had a brand new job in their town. The humidity kept getting worse over the next two days and people said it was going to rain soon. It did rain eventually, right after I left Mumbai for Chennai.
When I reached Chennai, I saw refreshed faces everywhere. The rains, apparently, had come and gone. I called my friends back in Mumbai to let them know I had reached safely and they could hardly hear me over the rainwater crashing down on their rooftops.
I took some solace in the fact that I would soon be going to Cuttack, where rains had been on non-stop for the last month. But upon reaching home, all I got to see was wet earth and overflowing drains. The rains had come to Cuttack and they had left before I arrived.
I sat rainless in Cuttack as it poured on in Chennai. As for Mumbai, the rains there had boiled over into a disaster that was going to be remembered for years. As fate would have it, I couldn’t travel to Mumbai to join my new workplace on account of the rains having severely disrupted all train lines in the region. I actually had to wait until after the rains had ended to be able to set foot in Mumbai. The tragedy delayed my arrival in Mumbai by more than a month, but thankfully, when I arrived, a few last-remaining rain clouds were still doing their thing on the city and I got to ride a Mumbai taxi to my new home looking out of a window into a beautiful drizzle.