Rain. In my adult London life the dripping English rain is uninspiring, a damp squib if you will. I rarely carry an umbrella or wear a raincoat as the mist rain will get to you one way or another, and I see no point in lugging around more layers or carrying an umbrella for no good reason. I am bored by conversations about the wet English weather and will use the drip drip torture as an excuse to stay in 9 times out of 10.
Yet at age 7 I could think of nothing more exciting than being allowed to jump around in the rain. Being prone to colds and tonsilitis accompanied by record breaking fevers of the most severe kind I never was allowed to get wet. And the Delhi monsoon which usually broke on my birthday was a beast in its own right, lashing and very very wet, rendering washing damp and mouldy and chasing the mosquitos into the house. The pouring skies were very inviting to a young child. Being forbidden from walking right into the rain was torture.
We lived in a first floor flat with a large terrace. The Nik was only a baby and my father lived abroad for most of the year. My mum needed to devise some activity to keep her bored ("you are too young to be bored darling" - her favourite line) child busy each afternoon of the year.
In my memory this afternoon was unremarkable in any way, indistinct from the others preceeding it. The monsoon was upon us and the rain fell in sheets over Delhi. I remember reading 'Heidi', a book I was greatly taken with, and imagining the Alps and wondering what Goats milk tasted like. (I like milk- drank two glasses a day - often still do, so get over it - but goats milk has been tasted in adult life - and one word is 'yuk'). Suddenly, with no warning my mum came into the room and told me I could go and dance in the rain. Those were her exact words. I remember them so clearly it is weird. And without questioning the how or why of her decision I was up in a flash, abandoning Heidi and shooting out of the room before she could change her mind. She opened the front door and with not a nanosecond of hesitation I flew out into the pouring rain.
It was an amazing sensation, being pelted by the steady large drops of rain, soaked to the bone within seconds of running onto the terrace. I did a little jig, jumping around in the rain puddles on our uneven pockmarked concrete terrace floor. I remember turning and there framed in the doorway was my mother with the tiny baby Nik in her arms. She was smiling broadly, my joy her joy. She then went inside while I continued to run around the terrace, like some child on a sugar high. She came back with a towel having deposited my brother in his cot.
I'm not sure how long I was outside, face turned to the skies, bathing in the rain. I remember being done with the rain, satiated, drenched, soaking and oh so happy by the time I went in. I remember drinking hot chocolate after I was dry, sitting with my mum and brother, jabbering on about how much fun that was and when could I do that again, please? It turned out never as I got a mighty cold in return for the dance of unbriddled joy.
Those few minutes of dancing in the rain sanctioned by my mum, remain one of my favourite childhood memories.