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Dancing in the Rain

If you live in North Carolina the only weather forecast you take seriously is a hurricane headed your way. So three days ago when they predicted thunderstorms I headed out for a walk with A and two umbrellas in tow and although the clouds looked menacing they only managed to squeeze out a few drops of rain. So the next day when there was a thunderstorm in the forecast I decided not to skip my walk. This time we only had one umbrella between the two of us (A had misplaced hers). It was already raining when we stepped out but within a few minutes it got really heavy and our sleeves were getting wet because the umbrella was not big enough for the two of us. By the time we reached the mail boxes with a little roof over it we were quite wet. That’s when A suddenly remembered that they interrupted regular programming to alert everyone about a thunderstorm with potentially 60 mph winds.

“Now you tell me,” I scolded her. She just shrugged her shoulders and proceeded to take videos of the rain coming down in buckets and causing little rivulets of water to swiftly make their way to the storm water gutters. My initial plan was to wait it out but I wasn’t sure when this storm would pass and we were losing daylight. So we decided to head back home. At this point the umbrella was useless and we were pretty much drenched by the time we got home.

Getting wet in the rain reminded me of simpler times in Madras, the rain-starved city and its people. Of course weather forecasts weren’t that accurate and schools didn’t send emails and text alerts to let you know they were closed. So, many of us would brave the rain and reach school only to find out that school was closed. That meant no classes but the gates would be open and our classrooms too. We’d take off our wet socks and shoes, and untie our braids. Uninhibited and unsupervised, we’d play games, sing, and make the black board our easel. It was more fun that sitting at home and watching TV.

I remember a time when we lived in a rented house and the land lady wouldn’t supply us with water in our pipes and we had to go fill water at a hand pump in her backyard. We had access to the terrace because we lived upstairs and one day when it rained, my mother ran up to the terrace and stood in the rain. Just taking in the abundance of water falling from the skies. When she emerged, rain-soaked and glorious, she was beaming. What the land lady withheld from us, the heavens gave freely and there was some deep relief in knowing that.

My friend G and I used to go for evening walks and window shopping in the galleries on KNK Road. But by far the most enjoyable walks we had were in the rain. The oppressive heat and the delayed monsoons always made everybody restless. Rain was sweet relief and release. The cool water on our skin was cleansing and healing. The dusty roads gleamed and the puddles reflected the stormy skies. It was pure joy walking in the rain with another soul who enjoyed it as much as I did, giggling and laughing all the way.

Later when life got busy and we went our separate ways, I still got excited when it rained in Madras. I remember running outside my grandma’s house and dancing in the rain, spinning around in circles till I was dizzy. The plants all around me seemed to be equally happy as they glistened in the rain.

I almost forgot how happy I was in the rain. When A got completely soaked and lost her slipper in a puddle she was giggling and so happy. I on the other hand was feeling like an irresponsible parent, dragging my child through potentially dangerous weather. That’s when I remembered, wait a minute, I used to enjoy this! By then we were home but I decided to go dancing in the rain again some time soon because I now know that the rain nourishes my soul.


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Before and After…Never the Same Again

Life plan before the accident

  • Wake up at 6:00 a.m. Pack lunches.
  • Work from 8 to 4, Monday to Friday
  • Chill from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Cook dinner from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Eat dinner and clean up from 8 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Watch mindless TV or a movie from 8:30 to 10 p.m.
  • Sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Life plan after the accident

  • Publish my book.
  • Do meaningful work (more than just getting a paycheck). Right now this is inviting a larger community to experience Reiki healing through me. But I feel like this is just a small part of what I can offer to others.
  • Spend time with people that make me feel alive and joyful.

So on the 25th of July my brother and I were driving to a seminar and were in an accident that was pretty bad. I don’t want to go into the gruesome details but the car got totaled and we escaped with minor cuts caused by glass shards from the shattered windshield. That we are both alive and I’m actually typing this, is a miracle. When my car spun 180 degrees after the impact, I thought I was a goner. Even after it stopped spinning I wasn’t sure if I was alive or dead till someone opened the door and asked me if I was OK. That’s all it takes. We are just one breath away from kissing death. From losing our mortal frames that we so take for granted. If I had died that day, I would have died with a lot of regrets. For not putting my happiness first. For not doing things that were really important to me.

We all have all the time in the world before something like this shocks us out of our complacency. And then it hits us that our time is limited, borrowed, and we pay a heavy interest for not investing in our dreams. Even if you never had a close brush with death, every time someone you loves crosses over you are plagued with guilt and regret. You think of all the calls or visits you could have made, all the words you should have spoken and all the things you should have done to let that person know they were loved. The list goes on.

You don’t remember them for all the wealth they accumulated or all the places they traveled to. But you always remember how they made you feel and their small acts of kindness that made the world a better place. Did they spread joy, laughter, and abundance? Were they there for you when you needed them?

I want to be that person who was not too busy to call and check on you. That person who has not lost herself to the mindless busyness that so many live and die for. I want be around people I love and cherish and who love and cherish me just the way I am and not expecting me to play small for their sake. After the accident I chose life, love, joy, abundance, and most of all meaningful connections with people.

As if the accident was not enough to wake me up from my slumber, another incident jolted me out of my comatose state. A friend from college passed away. A kind and loving soul with infinite potential who was a visionary and touching so many lives through her work and her mere presence. I may not be able to do what she did in her short life but I at least want to try to be the best person I know I can be and use my God-given skills to make this world a better place. I cannot ignore this anymore and keep on focusing on meaningless things.

If you are in a place where life is throwing challenges at you, know this. You are not alone. We were never meant to go at it alone. It’s the constructs of the world and technology that isolates us. Reach out and know that someone out there is also going through the same thing and is also wanting to reach out to you. Here’s to finding more meaning in your life and relationships.