Its raining, its pouring…

My father used to be paranoid about sending us to school when it rained. My brother was very happy with this arrangement and would proceed to spend the day with gay abandon, but I’d usually start to fret. To me, going to school used to be the sole purpose of my day. If  you take that away from me, I just wouldn’t know what to do. There was always some friend to whom I’d promised something or a test which had to be written or a teacher waiting for an assignment.

Once,  I must have been in class 6. My grandparents were visiting. As usual, my grandmother took over the kitchen and went about cooking all our favourite foods and griped about how we never get to eat properly, thanks to the working mother we had.

Since the school I went to was about three streets away, I decided to come home for lunch.

And by the time I set off to school again, lo and behold, it started pouring cats and dogs. Since my father was also expected to come home for lunch, I hurriedly put on my long Duckback raincoat, ensured my school bag was protected against the downpour and stepped into the pouring rain amidst loud protests from my grandparents.

We’s just moved back into town, so the school we went to was a transit one, while waiting for admissions from a bigger school.

It was actually a small house converted into a school, with hardly ten students per class. And since we were only four of us in class 6, we were seated in a long bench with a long desk in the verandah. The teacher normally walked to & fro or perched on the broad parapet  while teaching.

I had hardly settled into my corner of the bench after removing my raincoat and set my bag beside me, when I heard a screech of brakes. There was my father, as angry as ever, driving right into the open gates of the school and stopped right in front of my class, the verandah. He lowered the window and barked at me, “Get in!”

Totally  taken aback, I looked at the teacher’s face. Equally shocked, she gestured me to ‘just go’.

We rode back home with me sniffing into my hanky at the humiliation and my dad listing all kinds of mishaps that could have finished off my life enroute to school. (Open manholes, falling trees, to name a few).

I was surprised to learn none of my friends’ parents shared this strange paranoia. Most of them ensured their kids never used the rain as an excuse to bunk school.

Later, being in a bigger school never discouraged my father to keep us home during a shower.

In grade 10,  I had to write a model exam. (A preliminary internal exam before the actual board exam). I woke up with a raging fever and it was raining. I begged and pleaded with my father to let me go to school for just an hour. Of course he didn’t let me.

“This is not an IAS exam, you know. ” He told me sternly. After giving me a grossly exaggerated account of what would happen if I risk stepping out even for a minute in the rain, (“There’s this nerve in your brain which will explode when you go in the rain with fever. Instant death!”) he ordered me to go back to bed.

Even now I’m queasy to step out in the rain. But I never shy away from driving my son to school when it pours. We both kind of enjoy the drive, except for splashing water on an unsuspecting pedastrian on a cyclist. (I always mouth an apology)

Now my father calls me when it is raining, ” So, you’ve dropped him off at school in the pouring rain?” He asks accusingly.

“Yes, and he’ll not melt you know..” I retort cheekily.

But last week, I made an exception. My son was just recovering from a viral fever. He was all set to go to school after two days of driving me crazy with all his unspent energy (yes, even with his raging fever and lack-lustre eyes, he had to be up and about), when I noticed it was raining heavily. Old fears reared their ugly heads back . “You cannot go to school in this rain,” I told him. “What if you get your fever again?”

My husband raised an eyebrow. “Stop making him a sissy!” He growled.

“He’s not exactly studying for the IAS, you know. Its only class 1” I informed him. “And I’m the one who stays with him when he has fever. ”

My husband shrugged and went back to his newspaper.

My son has been watching our exchange with great excitement. He looked at me questioningly.

“You go to bed, baby!” I told him.

“Yippee!” he did a jig and ran back to bed to sleep some more. Fortunately or unfortunately, he takes after my brother in such issues. Didn’t fret a bit like me.

My father was extremely pleased with me when he called later.

I know creatures like my father and I are slowly getting extinct in this rat-race, but once in a while, it’s nice to take a break when it rains and chill with a hot cuppa and pakodas and just watch the rain from the window…

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