Discovering Rain


Baby N discovered rain today.

I often wonder what goes on in children’s minds as they discover and figure out new things in the world around them. Every little thing is so new, so full of wonder for them.

Every time I catch him quietly, intently watching me do something unusual, closely observing something that he hadn’t registered earlier, I wish I had some inkling of what’s going through that little head of his.

For us jaded oldies, rain is an annoying, exasperating feature of everyday life in this grey, cold country. But Nael’s fascination with it took me back to childhood in Karachi and the excitement surrounding rain for it’s sheer novelty. The stifling humidity preceding the monsoon made bearable only by the anticipation of the heavens pouring upon us and allowing us to finally breathe freely.

The first earthy whiff accompanying the beginning of soft drizzle would be our cue to rush to the nearest window, the roll of thunder our call to run to rooftops and balconies and gardens and out in the street. To sit inside as the rain clamoured was unimaginable. You had to get soaked till your very core, until you shivered and your teeth chattered, until it finally, eventually calmed down to silent, intermittent dripping.

How I miss the smell of rain here. There’s a word for it. Petrichor.

The five year old version of me would get confused every time as I read my Word Study book and under the word “away” the associated sentence was “Rain, rain go away, come again another day” accompanied by a picture of a morose child. Why would anyone wish the rain away, I’d wonder. I was told it was because the child in the picture wanted to play outside.

But you are supposed to play in the rain, I’d think. Silly, boring people.

As I watched Nael staring at the raindrops trickling beneath his palm on the other side of the glass door, it occurred to me that he won’t grow up with the same fascination and excitement for rain as we had.

With rain aplenty on this grey island, you can’t possibly appreciate it for the blessing it is after prolonged periods of suffocating heat. Rain is rehmat.

But as he stares at it in wonderment for now, I’ll forget about the chores the rain is interfering with, sit back with my mug of chai and watch him discover just how amazing rain is.

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