It started snowing yesterday, the first heavy snowfall this winter. It had been snowing sometimes for 10-15 minutes since the last two weeks but yesterday it had been snowing for more than two hours. The ground is covered with a thin layer of snow. Although not heavy snow, it is still heartening to see snow covered ground.
As the snow continues to fall uninterrupted, our hearts do a flip flop. It is certainly not a good choice to see the snow outside while we sit inside typing long status reports, answering the so-called important emails, filling up Excel sheets and having boring meetings. My colleagues are looking for website which announces heavy and even very heavy snow fall. A kind of snowfall which will stop public transport, hamper traffic and bring the business to a standstill.
Not that we want everybody to suffer nor are we against economy. Neither have we meant any harm for anybody. Its just what everybody likes from their childhood, a free holiday.
Growing up in Mumbai, I am used to the Mumbai rain. Mumbai rains can be ravaging with rains continuously lashing and many parts of the city getting submerged in water. It was during these times when schools and colleges would shut down early giving a half day or even a complete holiday for children.
The joy of getting an unannounced holiday cannot be described in words. It’s a surprise, it’s an unexpected happiness which comes your way very rarely. Although we have never done anything special during those holidays or half-days, the excitement was discussed with all the friends in the evening. Some of us would not get a holiday because the school does not think its that big a risk. The boy/girl would walk home with dejected face that evening and his friends would ridicule him and his school for not giving a holiday. Most of the time that boy would be me.
If the holiday is on a Friday then it is considered to be the “Occasion” because it meant three days holiday. Things never got bad in school because we went to school near our home. The college was far away from home and involved traveling in Mumbai locals.
Mumbai local trains have an uncanny ability to stay alive during crisis, almost dead but alive. Traveling from Grant Road to a distant suburb in North Mumbai can be a daunting task during Mumbai’s heavy rains. I remembered once when the trains stopped after a heavy shower, we had walked from Dadar to Bandra along the railway tracks. We had crossed the tracks over the Mahim creek between Bandra and Mahim station. If you see the rail track over the creek, it’s a deep drop down. You only have the sleepers (planks under the rail) to walk on. What you see down is a deep deep fall. When we crossed the track we felt such a great sense of accomplishment. The trains had not stopped plying that day, just a little slow. Our biggest fear was what if one of the trains came from the other side.
Although scary, it was fun, a small little adventure in our mundane life of practical and electron and electrical circuits. We found ourselves walking a couple of times on this tracks with the rain lashing on our faces. On all these times, the trains have not stopped but they are so slow that they remain stationary one after another for so long that you can actually travel considerable distance walking.
Once my professional life began, there were quite a few moments to go home after a downpour like that. When I joined my present company, things changed. Being a part of the Infrastructure team, we were required to stay in the office. During crisis time like heavy downpour or Mumbai bandh, we were required in office till another person came to relieve us. I have found myself coming to office in pouring rain. At these times, most of the people had already left for home so there is not much work to do except keep a track on the different server especially during the night shifts.
I would kick my shoes and keep my socks for drying. Then I would walk bare feet all over the office. Normally there would be two people in the shift and we would walk up to the canteen. Our canteen was on the terrace with a make-shift roof. As there were no big building on either side, rain would be in its full glory. It would find its way inside the roof, wetting most of the tables.
And we would sit there sipping hot tea with Good day biscuits or warm bread-butter toast, watching the rain lashing on a dark night. The canteen boys would come and we would chat with them about anything but mostly life in general. When I moved to a new building the canteen was at the ground floor. Not much fun there.
During my office day it was fun not getting a half day because that is the best time of the office, when you can work on your own pace while outside the storm razes havoc.
Few days back, we had a big storm in the Netherlands. The storm created major destruction and we went home early. It was so good to go home early after such a long time. Locked up in the house, with a warm tea, and playing, we had a good time. Yesterday when the snow started in the afternoon, everybody had the same feeling again. Would we get home early today? Although the snowfall was less in the evening. It was a big disappointment
It was just the desire to go home early, a desire for a half day
Just as it is said, old habits die hard!