Gratitude For The Granted
I was in the middle of a particularly interesting dream when I first heard it. It began as a low distant rumbling, barely audible but hard to overlook. Eventually, it grew loud enough to interrupt my slumber. Then for a few moments it stopped altogether. I checked the time on my phone – almost time to get up anyway! Rubbing my eyes, I began to wonder if it had all just been a dream. But then suddenly – DHADOOM!!! – I literally jumped out of my bed at the noise. This time I was sure it was for real; the sound of excitement and anticipation. Sure enough, a few minutes later I heard a soft pitter-patter on the roof. The sweetest music ever. The sound of rain.
Yes, YES!!!! The monsoon had finally arrived. The first scent my nose picked up that morning was of the wet soil… the one fragrance no one can accurately capture in a perfume bottle. Have you ever noticed how that faint scent always makes you smile? I bet not one person in this world can resist closing their eyes and deeply breathing in that sublime perfume of Mother Nature. I definitely can’t. As I savoured it, I knew it was going to be a good day.
Soon the sun rose to reveal a newly-bathed, sparkling world outside my window. It really looked like a watercolour painting come to life. The trees and shrubs looked fresh and lush. I spotted a couple of sparrows flapping their wet wings as if they had just stepped out of a nice, refreshing shower. Even the sun looked a bit wet! It probably caught me watching, because it suddenly blushed a deep crimson and hid behind a big dark cloud, shyly peeping out occasionally. Already small puddles had formed in certain spots. Tiny little school kids, all wrapped from head-to-toe in raincoats, were being led to school by their mothers. Sometimes a kid would suddenly let go of his or her mom’s hand and jump into a puddle. This was almost always followed by a loud ‘thwack!’ and an angry rebuke from the mother (not that it made any difference to the kid). Some kids would simply put their hands out and catch the rain.
Enthralling as it was, I forced myself to walk away from the pretty sight and get ready for work. I entered the kitchen to find Dad excitedly bustling about and Mom sitting leisurely on the sofa watching the rain. “I’m making my special masala chai to go with the pakodas I coaxed your mom into making”, he told me happily. Chai and pakodas! Slurrrp! The day was just getting better and better. First it was the scent of wet mud, and now the aromas of hot tea and pakodas wafting through the kitchen. My stomach rumbled hungrily like the thunder outside. Dad’s special masala chai was, as usual, amazing. The generous amounts of ginger, mint, lemongrass and cardamom transformed the simple beverage into something magical. The best thing about Dad’s tea is that none of the ingredients overpower the others. The ginger was so soothing to my throat! As for the mint and lemongrass (freshly plucked from Dad’s little terrace garden) – they tasted extra special after having bathed in the rain. And the pakodas… what can I say about them? That first bite, that first crunch! That burst of spices and flavours in my mouth! I even love the oiliness and the half-burnt crumbs left in the plate. I ate like I had never eaten before. Who can blame me? There is only one ‘first rain’ and only one ‘first monsoon chai-pakoda party’ every year. It MUST be celebrated! At that moment, I thought, “Now THIS is life!”
Just as I finished breakfast, my phone pinged announcing a text message: ‘Meeting postponed. Don’t leave yet. Come in by noon.’ Oh, what joy! I suddenly had a few extra hours at my disposal. And I knew exactly what to do with them.
It was still pouring outside. A nice breeze was blowing through the house. It was pleasantly cool. I went back to my bed and sat watching the rain for a few minutes longer. Then I pulled over my blanket right up to my chin and closed my eyes. And I thought…
I thought of my uncle who lived a few blocks away. He was colour-blind and had lost his sense of smell too. I felt sad for him. He wouldn’t have smelled the wet mud. He wouldn’t have appreciated the happy colours outside his window. He wouldn’t have noticed the tempting aromas of chai and pakodas. That’s when it struck me –
How fortunate I was to experience all those things he could not! Things I probably took for granted because they had always been with me. I could always hear the raindrops and the thunder. I always smelled the grass. I could see the different shades of the greenery outside and the happiness on the kids’ faces. I could taste the deliciousness of my Dad’s tea and Mom’s cooking. I could snuggle into my bed and feel the warmth of the blanket. With my fingertips I gently touched the threads sticking out of it. So soft, so comfortable. Like an old friend’s hug – warm, loving, protective. I felt it all. I appreciated it all.
And I felt extremely grateful for it. I was grateful for all my five senses (sound, smell, sight, taste and touch) working perfectly, enabling me to enjoy this beautiful morning to the fullest. I was grateful for having such wonderful parents who pampered me silly. I was grateful for those extra hours I got, thanks to which I could sleep a little longer. I was grateful to be alive. Truly alive.
I am grateful still for the wonderful memory of that rainy day. And I am grateful that I can share it with you – it makes me happy. Hope it makes you happy too.
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