Tum, main aur do cup chai.

Bombay is beautiful when it rains. Even when I haven’t experienced a Bombay monsoon in ten years, despite going back every two, I can’t ever forget it.

There’s a charge in the air before it rains. A current you feel in the pit of your stomach. A humidity that sticks your hair to the nape of your neck. An earthy smell to calm your senses.

When the heavens finally open, it’s freedom.

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It’s liberating and chaotic and languid all at once. Lightning whips through the sky and water seeps into your socks. The bottom floor gets flooded, traumatising the neighbours; but the rain looks beautiful falling through the trees as you look out your second floor window. The rickshaw-wala is stuck- there’s no way that engine’s going to work. But at least he’s got hot masala bhutta and his music and blanket as he sits in the back seat waiting it out. That kid in the white school uniform skipping home in the rain gets yelled at by his mother. Not even Tide can get those stains out.

The best part of the Bombay rains is when I get to sit on a jhula watching it all go by. Sit by someone I love- an aunt, cousin, grandparent, uncle, friend- and bask in the feeling that life truly is beautiful. And of course, it wouldn’t be Bombay monsoons without chai. And that’s all there is to it. Tum, main, aur do cup chai.

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*Please note: the title is a quote from the 2009 Bollywood film, ‘Wake Up, Sid’.

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