Well, let me start with a confession. Part of me is highly influenced by Bollywood films. I adore all the cliches, be it old movies or new. Like millions of other fellow Indians, I want to try out things that I see on screen, someday. Walking with a girl in rains carrying one small umbrella is one such unfulfilled dream.
It all started with the legendary song – Pyar hua ikarar hua hai featuring romantic couple Raj Kapoor and Nargis. The couple carries an ordinary umbrella, walking close to each other amidst pouring rains and sings a romantic song. The visuals were black and white which added to the aura around the actors. It turned out to be an unforgettable song for generations.
I was not old enough to understand romance or love, when I watched it for the first time but from reactions of elders around me, I gathered that there is something special about this song.
As years passed, I heard more romantic songs and started appreciating them. Mera kuchh saman… from the movie Ijjazat caught my fancy. This was sheer talent of lyricist Gulzaar, music director RD Burman and singer Asha Bhosale. Unstructured lyrics pieced together in a melodious tune sung in romantic high pitch voice took my breathe away. The stanza I used to like the most was
Ek akeli chhatri me jab adhe adhe bhig rahe the
Adhe sukhe adhe gile sukha to mai le aayi thi
I was in the age where I could understand the romance and was enthused to try it out in real life. My teenage and early youth in late 80s and early 90s was far from what we see around today. I was in a very conservative surroundings. Couples going around was a rare sight, there were fewer avenues to meet and no suitable places for courtship. I was unaware of the concept of dating. As a result I had many friends who were girls, but no girlfriend.
It wasn’t easy to ask a girl to join me in umbrella when it was raining. Still, I was determined to make it happen. In that rainy season, I bought a new umbrella, big enough to allow me to invite a girl but small enough to keep her close. I may have forgotten to carry the books to the college but never forgot the umbrella that year. I used to pray it to rain just the time when college gets over. I had to fine-tune my praying skills, till one day it all came together.
It was last lecture of the day. Not many students were there in the class but my crush was there. Therefore, I was there too. She was concentrating on the lecture, I was concentrating on her. She looked beautiful but she was not aware of it. A thunderstorm broke out when the lecture was about to get over. There was lightening, clouds roared loudly. All the essential ingredients of a romantic walk were coming together. I made sure I had my umbrella. I was also tempted to check if it was opening properly before offering it to her. I was also tempted to practice the tune of of pyar hua ikarar hua hai… on whistle to ensure it comes out well. But I would have attracted undue attention from the professor so decided against it. I was rehearsing my pick up lines to offer her the umbrella. I was quite excited that I would fulfil my childhood dream today, albeit a small one.
The lecture got over. She started leaving the class. I rushed forward with my umbrella beating anyone else who could probably indulge in a similar daydream.
‘Hi!’, I said
‘Hello, how are you?’ She was warm and friendly.
‘I am good. Thank you. It’s raining so hard. We can’t possibly go without an umbrella’, I started building my case without wasting any time.
‘Do you have one?’ I asked her.
‘No, I don’t.’
I could not believe my luck. When something has to work it just works, I thought to myself.
‘I have one. We can share it.’ I tried to sound as casual and friendly as possibly could.
She just smiled.
‘Is that a yes or a no?’, I said to myself, completely inept at decoding this non-verbal communication.
‘Shall we?’ I kept pushing the agenda, blatantly.
‘That’s a sweet offer but…’
I knew it was a no. Words didn’t matter.
She didn’t carry her umbrella because she was carrying her raincoat. She quickly wore it, got on her scooter and whizzed past me, splashing water on me. Umbrella could not help, literally.
By next rainy season, my crush had become someone else’s love, so I didn’t bother to take my umbrella to college. Years passed by but I was unable to find an umbrella and a girl willing to share it at the same time.
In the meanwhile, Bollywood kept churning out songs after songs showing romantic couples with their umbrellas, making me feel more and more inadequate.
Well in my forties, like many other dreams, I had lost hope of fulfilling this dream too. I had started avoiding rains and never carried an umbrella.
One day, it was raining heavily and I had to step out of the office and go for a meeting couple of blocks away. I borrowed my colleague’s umbrella, didn’t bother about the size or how it looked. When I was about to cross the road…..
‘Excuse me!’ It was a sweet female voice.
‘Me?’ I turned around.
She was a her thirties, slightly shorter than me, had a fair complexion, straight hair and sweet smile. She was wearing a short black dress and looked beautiful.
‘If you don’t mind, may I walk with you in your umbrella till next block? Would that be OK?’
Was it happening for real? Or was I daydreaming again?
‘I know it’s an odd request and if you say No, I completely understand’, she kept pleading.
‘Oh of course. You can join me. That’s not a problem at all.’
‘Thank you very much,’ She said with a smile.
Both of us held the umbrella and walked quite close to each other, saving ourselves from rains. I was close enough to smell her perfume. Heavy rains were forcing us to walk even closer. My arm was brushing against hers. But she was quite cool. She kept talking about the weather and sudden rains.
It wasn’t too long before we reached our destination. She thanked me with a warm friendly smile and left.
I stood there for a while. Something that I was waiting for since my childhood suddenly happened to me and I was not sure what I felt about that. The girl was beautiful, warm and friendly. I walked quite close to her but did I feel romantic? Hell, No. Did she feel romantic? I am sure she didn’t.
So what is the fuss in movies all about? Do movies show the real life or what they show in movies is what we bring to real life? Do we actually feel romantic or we feel that we are feeling romantic because that is what is shown to us in movies? Do we stay true to our feelings or do our feelings get shaped by what we see on big screen, year after year?
Well, one sparrow doesn’t make a summer. I can’t conclude based on my experience alone. Have you felt romantic walking as a couple with umbrella in rains? What is so romantic about couple with umbrella walking in rain?Share on