Friday, October 10, 2014

Romance in the Rain

(An old post rehashed - with fewer typos, I hope!)
There are a lot of things I hate doing, but have to do. Like writing up the accounts and preparing the tax returns. (Is death better than taxes? The former troubles you only once!)
And there are several things I love doing, but don’t have to. Yet, I love doing it because the satisfaction you derive from performing these tasks. Like ironing clothes or doing the dishes: you can’t go wrong, and you can do it well – the joy of doing something well and correctly has to be experienced to be believed.
There are some things I love doing, and do get to do: like solving Sudoku and crosswords and other puzzles. Going out in the rain is one such.
As a child, I used to love going out in rain because the whole area gets 'drownded', as Huckleberry Finn says. Rain in our contry home was nice not just when you stood in the verandah watching the tall coconut palms and the slender arecanut trees swaying in the wind and the myriad rivulets falling from the grooves of the tiled roof. It was greater fun when you were outdoors, road glistening, an occasional car whooshing by. Streaks of lightning followed by rolling thunder and the muddy water gushing down from the hillock proved to be the proverbial icing on the cake.
My fascination with the rain in my childhood has grown with me. But the rains these days are different. Sewers in the city are invariably choked with plastic and garbage, causing water-logging. And water-logging means having to wade in slush and filth, and I absolutely hate that.
We live in an area which has natural drainage for the storm-water; so we are usually spared. Unless we venture out. On Friday morning, we had to go out and get a railway ticket cancelled before noon; or else the cancellation charges would be heavy. It could not be done on the internet which was down because the modem was down because there was no electricity because an uprooted tree had fallen on the power lines because ... 
It had rained the whole night and was still drizzling. The sky seemed low, the clouds sitting on treetops almost. There was a misty look to the city. The trip was a welcome proposition because of the rain, but was an unpleasant idea because the overnight flooding wouldn't have receded yet.
The trip to the railway station could not be put off. Is there a lot of water logging near the railway station, I enquired anxiously before setting out. The area won't be so bad, I was reassured, because intensive drainage work had been done over the last few years. Let’s brave the water-logged roads, we decided.
The streets were more like rivers than roads, we discovered soon. As soon as we turned into the Museum Road, we knew it was going to be bad. Traffic was slow, the streets were awash and inconsiderate drivers splashed the pedestrians and sheets of water rolled and heaved in waves. It got steadily worse.
It was a nightmare under the fly-over and near the Town Hall, but, as I had apprehended, the Railway Station area I had to go into was not knee-deep as it was in some parts of the city, but this was water I'd have to wade through. No way out, so I rolled up my jeans and stepped out. There was garbage floating. There was muck and more. And the booking office I had to go into had water sloshing against the steps. Again I had to wade.
Did I mention I hate wading in the slush? I did?
Mission accomplished, I climbed back into the car and set off for home. In the thirty minutes I spent in the booking office, it had poured. The roads were flooded, but of course. And it got worse. The car felt like a metal coffin buffeted by the water that was churned up by the traffic. Each time a car moved the water thumped the cab. When a large SUV moved alongside, water entered the interior.
Some cars had stalled. Traffic was at a standstill. Turn in to the side roads, more water logging. It was the worst yet. Laboriously crawl along the street and re-enter the College Road.
Did I tell you I dislike having to get intimately acquainted with sewage and garbage and overflowing drain water? I think I did.
I was miserable. The traffic crawled, we moved a few meters ahead. I was doing what I usually do at such times to alleviate boredom. Looking at number plates and thinking about numbers. There, ahead of mine was a two-wheeler. It had the number 2357. It is the sum of a set of three consecutive primes: 773 + 787 + 797.
Try spending an hour in a car tucking your knees to your chest because water, rain excess and sewage all mixed up, is lifting the car, rocking it, and threatening to come in and making good on the threat. I realised that the number of the motorbike is the sum of a set of five other consecutive primes: 461 + 463 + 467 + 479 + 487.
Despite the discomfort, despite the hated water logging, sodden footwear, cold and clammy feet and drenched day, I smiled.


Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

I never thought prime numbers could alleviate anyone's suffering. Your story reminds me of the Jewish prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp about whom Stephen Covey has written in his book Seven Habits etc.

We human beings are fortunate that neither fascists nor deluges can shackle our minds.

I am tempted to ask you, but I wouldn't, how on earth you figured out that a number is the sum of three consecutive primes. Let it remain a mystery for me, just as the human brain is.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

being an absolute dud with numbers, am lost in admiration of someone like u


i resent this -
' Yet, I love doing it because the satisfaction you derive from performing these tasks. Like ironing clothes or doing the dishes: you can’t go wrong, and you can do it well – the joy has to be experienced to be believed'
for, the sub text is: so what r these ladies cribbing about?

Ashok Menath said...

The comment is off topic. Sorry.

"so what r these ladies cribbing about?"

KPJ, can I suggest another blog. She is an American Malayali. She wonderfully engages you in central-travancorian conversation:

you might get an answer there.

SSC, my apologies. Did I sound clannish?

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

asok mennath
thanks for directing me to that delightfully substantial blog.

i searched hard for the answr you promised i'd find there. where was it? :-)

Ashok Menath said...



The promised answer... well..

Sorry that I have to renege.

For some strange reason I tend to read certain questions as answers. Quite oblique, isn’t it.


Kaushik Chatterjee said...

Wannabewodehouse,,,, wannaberamanujam,,,,

Gopes said...

Yes, I too love doing certain things like washing my car which I do even today.But like Santanu I too am amazed at the way you figured out that a vehicle number is the sum of consecutive prime numbers.

As regards romancing the rain I just love to watch the rain sitting in the verandah.

There are ever so many songs written about the romance attached to rain. The first that comes to mind is Jose feliciano's song which goes like this

"Listen to the pouring rain
listen to it pour.
And with every drop of rain
I'd love you more.
Let it rain all night long,
Let my love for you grow strong,
As long as we are together
Who cares about the weather.

(Listen to the pouring rain...

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

do you know that feliciano's Rain was plagiarised into telegu? - in porkri, i think.sounds terrible.they could have done it more aesthetically at least!

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

I checked to see if there's anything new, and was disappointed to find none. But the comments made interesting reading.

I like KPJ reading between the lines and pointing out something very pertinent. KTR, it's a wrong time to be a male. Just fifty years ago, we could have got away with murder, but those happy days are gone. Now, even the subtlest expressions of male superiority, that is, saying the obvious, results in you and I being hauled over the coals.

Ashok Menath, no, you are not being clannish.

I like Kaushik's invention of the word wannaberamanujam. KTR, you can think of a blog for the lovers of maths. You had one, didn't you?

Gopes, the song is lovely, though a bit mushy.

But the important thing is to read such thoughtful remarks at one place. It's much better than reading the newspaper anyway!

Gopes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gopes said...


Thanks for the info. But I dont listen to Telugu songs. Now that you say that the plagiarised version is terrible I will stay away from it.


The song is Feliciano's not mine. I guess anything that is romantic is a little mushy. Incidentally "mushy" is the word often used by Dennis (the Menace) to describe anything romantic (like when Margaret tries to get a little romantic with him)in a negative sort of way.