A few weeks ago the weather was being rather temperamental. It would be sunny one moment and raining the next moment. I was on my way to do a few chores when this kind of sudden flip occurred. It was raining rather heavily. Visibility had become greatly reduced. Driving on the roads seemed like a risky task. People opted to park their vehicles on the side of the road and take shelter inside shops, waiting for the downpour to abate. I was standing in the front porch of a small restaurant. I looked around me, for lack of anything better to do, observing my “fellow-refugees”.

1There was a small boy, around six to seven years of age. He was gazing at the rain with pure delight! His eyes were glowing with pleasure as he looked at the lashing rain, and then at the puddles being formed and the tiny rivulets of water flowing along the street. He seemed to be daydreaming about getting drenched in the rain with his friends as soon as the ideal opportunity came by! Perhaps there were plans of sailing paper boats in those rivulets and jumping up and down in those puddles and splashing around. The enthusiasm and carefree pleasures of childhood were reflected in those eyes as they gazed at the rain. From time to time he would stick out his hand and allow the rain to flow onto his fingers, enjoying the feel of the water as it ran down his fingertips. This would attract reproving looks from his mother. He would just smile at her in an innocent manner, seeming to know that his mother would not really scold him too much, that her heart would ultimately melt!

2The mother held her son’s hand. At first she gazed at the rain with worry. Worry about getting home a little late, hoping that the rain may not have led to a power cut. There was cooking to do after all. She was probably thinking about whether or not anyone would have taken down the clothes that she’d left out to dry. She must also have to make sure that her son did his homework before he was allowed to play in the rain. She looked at her son and a fond smile crept onto her face. She gazed at the rain again, this time with pleasure. She seemed to be deciding what special dish to prepare in the evening. She was probably hoping that her husband would come back from work early so that they could have tea and snacks together, enjoying a pleasant chat in the balcony!

3A teenager stood next to the mother-son duo. His shirt and jeans were dripping wet; his hair looking like it was plastered to his head. The rain seemed to have taken him by surprise. He was, however, rather pleased by this! He checked his mobile phone for any kind of water-caused damage. Relieved that his “constant companion” was alright, he proceeded to take photos of the rain. Undoubtedly they were to be posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and so on and so forth! He was gazing at the rain absently, probably wondering what caption to put, what hashtags to include, whom to tag in the post. He flicked through all the photos on his phone, pausing to linger on certain ones, relishing the memories that they brought! Memories of monsoon trips and treks, perhaps; adventures and fun all captured and saved! He gazed at the rain with an exhilarated expression now, probably making plans for the weekend in his head, lost in daydreams of anticipated joy. The plans seemed to be taking shape after all, judging by the speedy typing on the mobile phone that followed!

4A man in his late thirties or early forties was standing in the doorway to the restaurant. He was gazing impatiently at the rain and at the muddy tracks on the side of the road. He was probably worried about his well-polished shoes and spotless, neatly ironed clothes getting dirty. From time to time he checked his watch. His phone was buzzing with notifications and he made a few frantic phone calls. Perhaps he was a businessman getting late for an important meeting. The more the rain lashed the more his blood pressure seemed to increase! His brow furrowed, the man looked inside the restaurant, as if wondering whether it would be better to have a cup of tea or coffee; something to do while waiting, something to reduce the stress. The rain had certainly wrecked his schedule, by the look of it.

5An old man, probably in his sixties or seventies was leaning against the restaurant’s outer wall. White hair and age lines all over his face, he was gazing at the rain calmly, patiently, a little amusedly too; seeming to be well acquainted with its moodiness. He looked at the small boy’s innocent joy, the mother’s mixed feelings of worry and anticipated pleasant moments, the teenager’s zest for action and adventure, and the businessman’s impatient weariness; seeming to associate people and incidents from the past with them. Those eyes had seen many monsoons and had experienced many ups and downs along with ithem; the mind learning many worldly truths in the process. His eyes swiveled round to meet mine and he smiled. Perhaps he was pleased to come across another person who was fond of observing, perhaps he seemed to be telling me that I am still too young to see some of the hidden shades of life which he could glimpse.

There they were, various people gazing at the downpour. A source of joy to one, a source of annoyance to another; a window into the future to one, a window into the past to another; the rain poured down, uncaring of what mere mortals thought of it. A tiny slice out of endless time, but it had so many different aspects to it based on so many different outlooks!

A kaleidoscope of perspectives, that’s what I got to see on that rainy afternoon!