I was a child born to rain.
The 25th of June, 1994 was a break in a nearly four month long scorching heat wave. On this day, when I was still cocooned, blissfully ignorant, in the encompassing safety of my mother’s womb, around 7 people lost their lives in the city. Lahore was like an oven left on high, the baker gone off to tend his herb garden and feed his chickens, while his bread blackened.
My father, at the time worked as a division head for the electric company; there had been power outages for five days across the city, with more than one city wide blackout. He said people had their hands permanently uplifted, praying for wind, rain, relief.
Dad wasn’t at the hospital with my mother; there was a problem at the grid station, and he had to oversee it. He said right around six o clock, just as the sun was starting its descent, oblivious to the fire it had raged in the country, an eerie calm set in. The sky lost its golden sheen, and as every minute ticked by, it started to look less like molten metal, and more like the slick side of a cool aluminium sheet. For ten minutes, the world stopped. People stopped praying, leaves stopped whispering, the earth stopped crackling, just to look up.
And then the sky split open.
You’d think it was raining quicksilver and not water, the way people reacted. Some cried out of sheer relief, some danced in the streets, and the dust just didn’t settle. No one settled. As elections and cricket, that day rain was something to shout about. Lahore became one loud heartbeat, an uplifted face towards the sky.
Seven o clock: the city found that the blessing they had plead for had a few tricks up its sleeve. As my mom went into labour in the hospital, my dad narrowly escaped being crushed by a lightning struck tree on Mall Road. The aged, sinuous tree was zapped at the base; its charred trunk made metal sheets out of the two cars it landed on.
Well, monsoon arrived in blazing fury and massive strength.
Eight o clock. I was due to arrive, pink and mute into the world sometime in the next half hour. And then the city blacked out. My dad panicked, got into his car again. I don’t know how, but with Herculean strength and steely patience, he got the district’s power back. The hospital still remembers him for that act to this day. The way I see it, he saved tens of lives that night.
And so, I was born. A booming clap of thunder greeted me, I think I cried along to it. That day, the rain that poured down in buckets was a blessing, and a calamity. It gave life, it took it away. It made some hearts sing, it silenced some forever.
What I do know is, being born to a torrential downpour, I live for the rain. It’s the one time I truly believe what I feel is real. To me, the rain is magic, I know I have a connection with it that was forged at the start of time. I am the rain, the rain is me. I am ecstatic and wild, and I feel like I could fly.
But the best feeling is the pure undiluted freedom. I’m guessing it’s birth that joined us so, and to this day, when I step out under a sky splitting with thunder and rain, I feel free.
The rain is my home.