Monday, September 05, 2005

Yen rain appa! yen rain

That means what rain in kannaDa. The meaning of the title will become clear as you read on.

It was an ordinary Sunday yesterday. Typically I would wash around 4 clothes on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Yesterday I had washed five. Perhaps that was the only seemingly obvious difference. I was through with the afternoon nap (~20-30 minutes, again typical for a Sunday). The cricket match was getting interesting with India four wickets down (again, typical) against Zimbabwian kids. I was expecting a typical result, when it all started. The typical Sunday drizzle, soon converted into a pour, and into cats-and-dogs-type downpour. I was leisurely passing time in the TV room. I was aware that it was raining outside, and had shrugged it off a couple of times that I wouldn't be able to go out in the evening.

All in all I was neither expecting nor ready for what happened in the next three-four hours.
Juan Pablo Montoya cruised to his Monza victory and suddenly the doorbell rang.

"Keep the door shut and stay inside", our landlady was telling me. I was still engrossed in the calculations of Renault's championship points and Mahawire's brilliant diving catch that showed Saurav the directions of the pavilion, when I saw water everywhere.

Dirty water. Muddy water. Brown-green water everywhere. It had managed its way up the porch (that's an overstatement for my bike's parking lot) and was already wetting the bike's wheels. I was stunned. I never expected two hours of light drizzle-turned downpour would gather so much of water. And it was rising at an alarming rate.

I quickly closed the door, ran inside, packed my bedding and kept it up on my roomie's cot. Switched off the TV (before the electricity board could claim the achievement), pulled out the plug and started emptying my wardrobe's ground floor. No sooner had I removed the things lying on the ground, than the water was already inside. In a straight line first, then not following any direction, it just started pouring inside.

In half an hour, the house condition was something like this :

* I was purely opportunistic in taking this picture. Who knows when will be the next time when such quantities of water will come inside ;) What is missing in this is of course myself!

And it remained so for the next two hours, after which it started receding. To add to the effect, theft alarm on one of the very old Marutis in the neighbourhood went off. It started giving out troublesome frequencies. I was locked inside. I did not want to open the door : it was holding off some water level outside. I couldn't see what was going on outside.

Soon it was mud all over inside and the air was on the verge of stinking. My feet were already cold, to worsen the things, there was no place to sit! It was still raining outside. The water had crept inside the silencer of my bike. An Indica which I guess broke down, was parked right in front of the gate : I couldn't see its wheels. People were trying to find their way through more than knee-deep waters. And I was alone!

As most of the things, this one also came to an end at around 9:30. The water started receding and then I opened the door finally. The water inside rushed outside. The force and aggression was as if it was I who had detained it inside for so long, and finally had let go.

There was no point in starting the cleaning work : I just packed a few things and started for Vishal's home. Once outside, it was relief. I could see the entire road fully covered in brown water, finally I found the damn car that was making so horrible a sound. I walked off as fast I could. On the airport road, things were again normal, typical of a late Sunday evening. The traffic jams were in place as if nothing had happened. The sky was clear now, and I could count a few stars.

So typical of a Sunday.

Today morning when I returned home, I found the tiles had gathered the mud : tiles would not let go of that. My bike had quenched it thirst with all the water it could drink through its silencer trunk. Outside, the road looked normal. The shops had opened up : people were busy cleaning all the mud from yesterday. The xyz-sagar was back in business of idlies and dosas, the cutting salon was awaiting first customers of the morning. And I was busy taking stock of the situation.

Our maid servant is a fantastic woman. She doesn't understand a word of Hindi (except for "paisa" for the monthly wages I guess), and I and my roomie have trouble understanding her classical kannaDa. But she is good and efficient. Without much oral communication, she does what we expect her to do. Today she wanted a thick-broom, and I thought she wanted a big towel for cleaning the house. Apart from this miscommunication we are OK. She even made me bend down, and clean the floor buried deep under the big cot. By the end of the day, she has done a great job. That's what matters!

Another problem was to start the bike. Its engine was trying to digest the muddy water. I had real trouble with it : I literally made it vomit out the stuff. I lifted the front wheel so high that the silencer started spitting out the water. It was some scene : the passers-by too liked it. With two or three attempts at the kick, the bike was up and roaring.

Now what remains is re-organisation of the wardrobe. That is going to take some time. Why? To empty two floors of clothes+junk in two-three minutes requires real non-organisational skills, which I have cultivated over the years. To reverse this process requires even more skill and patience which I obviously lack. That's why.

All in all it was a most typical sunday evening turned into a most atypical Sunday evening and back into a most typical Monday morning! That's what it was.

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