Sunday, 27 November 2011

When it rains in the desert...

There can nothing be more exciting than soaking in rain, that too in a desert country like Qatar. The weekend couldn’t be more pleasant to waking up to a rainy day. Even though Friday evening offered a bit of foreshadows for the pleasant gift to come on Saturday, I had not expected this kind of rain, call it a drizzle, for the whole day. I could see the joy when Vij kept saying mazha, mazha several times throughout the day.
Near TV Roundabout

The morning, Sunday, after the rain reminds me Steven’s song:
Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day.

Madinat Kalifat

Though Vij keeps telling me that on an average, it may rain for about eight days in a year in Qatar, it does not mean that those eight days are spread evenly throughout the year. So, over the past 11 months of my stay in Doha, I have seen rain here for 3-4 times, lucky me! Rainfall in Qatar is concentrated in the winter months. From June through October, rainfall average is zero, and May and November is little more. So those eight days are not spread over seven months, but rather five, from December through April, more than doubling the probability of rain taken over the whole year. But again, this too need not be accurate, as the weather keeps changing very frequently here.

Near Corniche

But Saturday’s rain made us cry, we want rain, rain and more rain… Having hot breakfast and lunch with some hot pakoras when it drizzled continuously giving pitter-patter sound on the roof was nothing, but bliss.

Spiral Mosque


After lunch, we decided to go on a long drive as we wanted to see the rain-soaked Doha. And yes, it was a wonderful drive, from Khalifat Madinat to Corniche, to West Bay, to Pearl Qatar, to Al Khor town, to Al Khor Corniche, to Purple Island and back to Khalifat Madinat. Nothing could have been more exciting that driving in the drizzle and watching the rain hitting the windshield of our car and watching the trees doing moonwalk in this climate. For the first time, we noticed lanterns on the date trees along the Corniche.

I wanted to stand under the date trees in Corniche and feel the rain drops trickling from its leaves. The flowerbeds along the road were soaked with rainwater and when I wanted to click some pictures, drops of cool drizzles splashed on my face, sending cold waves across my body. Still, I could feel the nature, the beautiful smell of the earth.
Pearl fountain at Corniche

West Bay seen from Corniche

Navigating flooded roads, especially roundabouts, Vij had to drive carefully around broken down cars with flooded engines. As we moved towards Zig Zag Towers, we could see some more broken down cars littering the roads.

It was cold, too, at least for us accustomed to the Middle East sunshine. Vij had forgotten to take his sweater and yes, I could see him shiver at times. I’ve never felt this cold. Wet, yes, but not this cold, he told me once.
Lanterns in the date trees

Sheraton hotel

But still I could see him enjoying the rain, the smell of the soil touched by the first rain drops, pitter-patter on the roof, and of course, the mood it brings – romantic, musical, slowdown and relax, not to forget the point that it was a blissful weekend!

City Centre

Rains always bring memories. I still remember how Vij used to ride me back home in the downpour. He never used to wear a sweater or a jacket. He just loved vrooming on the Bangalore roads during rainy season. It was fun watching school children going and coming back from schools. They were least bothered about getting wet. It was fun to see how they enjoyed every bit of the rain, splashing water to both sides as they walked on the wet roads. There used to be joy, a glow on their faces, a glow which gave them all the freedom to play in the rainwater. How I used to feel that I want to join them in splashing the water all around. When I was a student, I also had an experience of all this. Every academic year started with rains. Rambling umbrellas, drenched school bags and uniforms, window closed bus journeys, classrooms filled with dampness and darkness, those plays in the pool of water on roads, the smell of washed clothes all over the house, fear filled cold and damp nights…

Inter Continental Hotel

Outside Katara
And I loved sitting behind Vij on his bike during those rainy days. Walking in the rain, holding his hand tightly meant so much for me then. His warm hand gave me the comfort, the comfort of being loved and being taken care of, and now as the rain falls on the windshield of our car, old memories gush through memory.

Zig Zag Towers

After clicking several pictures inside the city, suddenly Vij felt like turning the wheels towards Al Khor, and in 30 minutes we reached the town and it was still 4 pm, but it was getting dark. As it’s always a pleasure to listen to some music when it rains, our music system in the car was playing some romantic songs. The time was so apt that even Vij kept humming till we returned from Al Khor: “Neeralli sanna aleyondu moodi, choorada chandraneega, allondu chooru, illondu chooru, ondagabeku bega…” without even knowing its meaning!
Flooded roundabout near Zig Zag Towers

Cricket field

Road to Al Khor

Even though it was getting dark, we thought of going to the Purple Island and went till the entrance and stopped. He wanted to go further, but I was too afraid to make a move, as it was still drizzling and getting dark. I insisted that we return and Vij agreed. As he took reverse, suddenly I felt that the car is about to topple, it was revolving at the same place. Vij was drifting in that wet sand and our car came two full circles within a moment and all I was doing was hold the seat firmly and scream, wondering if there was an accident. My hearbeat increased and was shocked for two-three minutes. Then the car stopped and Vij was all smiles, telling me that he wanted to do a drifting and was just doing that!
Road to Al Khor

At the entrance of Al Khor

Al Khor town
After two-three minutes, we left the Island and were back on the main road. Again, rain welcomed us to Doha and after another hour’s drive around the city and a yummy shawarma at a Lebanese restaurant near Decoration Roundabout, we headed towards

Towards Pearl Island
Ras Lafan lights

If anybody says sunshine brings happiness, I will say they have not danced in the rain. And yes, sitting next to the man whom I love most, and driving on a rainy day makes me the most happiest person in the world. I’m in love with this guy, all over again! And now, living in the Middle East, the rains are distant dreams, but still, when it rains, it brings back so many memories, oh yes, all sweet memories…



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