Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Walking Down Memory Lane on a Rainy Day
I was all geared up for an evening walk today (Wed. may 18) when it started raining cats and dogs. How did the English people come up with such a saying? Were they attracted by the sound of cats and dogs quarreling and fighting each other or by their rush for shelter when it started to rain. Surely you don't see cats and dogs flying down through the air when it starts to pour. It sounds ludicrous but such ludicrous sayings are the things that live through the ages: things like drop-dead beautiful, straight as an arrow ( the arrow maybe but the flight is a curve), dead as a door nail ( is there nothing else more dead. like a piece of rock?).
So what do you do when alone in the house and its pouring? I start walking..down memory lane. It was on a rainy evening like this when, as a boy living in a village-house by the roadside, I saw a car flying off a corner and landing in an irrigation drainage down the hill. I stood transfixed, realizing how dangerous the ideal means of transport that I dreamt of owning one day could be. Other cars and lorries stopped to help the injured and take them to hospital. I didn't know whether they were dead or alive and found no courage to go and ask the big crowd that gathered there.
On a wet day like this the villagers returning home from work or buying some households need in the shophouses down the road,often stopped to escape the downpours. Some who knew me well did not hesitate to come in and have a chit-chat. Others preferred to wait under the little porch to protect the wooden steps from rain and shine. That was my information exchange center, the place and time to get the hot news in the village. Who married who, which boy was pursuing which girl, the young wives who have gotten themselves pregnant, the local political leaders who were beautifying their houses, buying a new car, or marrying a new wife, who was quarelling with whom etc. That was the social happenings that people care about. There was more jokes and laughter than factual updates.
Sometimes I was caught by the rain in my relative's house. The old man of the house would occupy his time by doing some
rattan on bamboo weaving work to build cages and baskets. Or making ataps from rumbia leaves. We talked as he worked and while he taught me about religion and customs, I informed him of the little that i know about science which I have studied in school. " Western people are trying to go to the moon, Atuk (grandpa). How? They make rockets, that fly thousands of time faster that the aeroplane." He laughed. " You know? Prophet Muhammad went to the seventh level of heaven without an aeroplane or rocket." I interjected. "That was with Allah's help. He won't help human mortals like us to do that." A quick reply.
"He won't help us do what He doesn't want us to do. Otherwise He will." In one house, halfway talking to the old man in the house, I would be focusing my attention on the door to the inside of the house. Usually a sweet young girl.Aminah,would be
waiting to....bring us some hot drinks.
It was during such rainy spells, be it morning, afternoon, evening or night that I could really focus on my studies. The sound of the raindrops drumming on the zinc roof helped me to drum in the things that I read about into my thick head and blocked away all other disturbances and distractions. Recalling the occasion would help me recall the facts that I gathered. When I was doing my studies in the United States, it was always the rainy and cold, cold nights that helped me write a chapter or two of my dissertation. White snow in the moonlight always made me dreamy, in the mood for writing short stories and fiction, not the hard factual stuff that you need for your dissertation.
Back here in Malaysia if it rains in the morning the rubber smallholders will of course be most unhappy while fishermen in the coastal areas will also be afraid of going to the sea especially when lightenings and thunder threaten the sky and herald a storm. Rain in the day also hampers work for the buiders and field workers. But those working in the safe haven of the office couldn't be bothered in the least except that they might get a little droopy. Elsewhere in the open country the birds and the furry critters would not be hampered from enjoying themselves.
Yea, the folks complain and curse when it rains and rains. They also complain when the sun keeps shining very bright heating up the day to perspiration. One can imagine Allah shaking his head and saying, "Human beings! I give them rain they complain and curse. I give them sunshine and they also complain and curse. Yes, they're never thankful."
I stirred at my desk facing the window, about to lament the fact that I missed my evening walk. Hearing the words that formed in my head as above, I smiled and thanked Allah for the rain and this little entry in my blog. Hehehe. Rain is a blessing as well as sunshine. I missed my evening walk but Allah gave me something else more meaningful to do.