It’s raining tonight. . .

It’s raining tonight. Cold December rain.

It isn’t raining cats and dogs, though. Just the low humming rain that keeps falling incessantly.

It has rained after quite some time today. There is this smell emanating from the soil — that characteristic smell that accompanies monsoons.

It should be winter now in Guwahati, technically. But the weather’s changed. Global warming, I presume. It is not as cold as it used to be in Decembers when I was growing up.

Yet this rain, the smells and the sounds, the light blanket, and this dark night bring back memories of familiar winter nights spent many years ago at my grandfather’s place.

It is a small town called Coochbehar – a town that has always fascinated me. My best moments while growing up were spent there.

I remember how cold it used to be back then. How I would lie under the blanket and listen to the rain in the dark of the night. How the familiar smell would entice. How the night watchman would come right up to the house and frighten me with his blood curdling whistle. How I would hear his footsteps as he walked away from the house. How the cold winter wind would creep in through crevices of the wooden house.

Those were the best winters. Now the winter fog is no longer there. Things have changed.

Both of my maternal grandparents were alive back. I don’t feel any great sense of loss for them, to be honest. But a loss has been often experienced.

A loss of environment, warmth. Certain people have a certain aura and make sure that the places they inhabit emanate the same. The place has never been the same after they left for their abode up above.

Now as I lay in bed and type on my phone, I hear the low hum of the fridge, the wall clock ticking away. Mechanical sounds. There’s no warmth. No emotion. No sense of adventure. No cold wind creeping in. It’s a concrete house.

There’s no watchman here.

Why do familiar smells and sounds bring nostalgia? Why does it feel that things were always better in the past, when they actually weren’t? What is this mystery?

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8 comments on “It’s raining tonight. . .

  1. A memoir that sings of the nostalgic past with a lovely cadence.

  2. Beechmount says:

    Try minus 14 degrees and a light wind from the north finger and nose numbing weather. Turn up the thermostat a couple of degrees more to be warm and cozy inside the house. Avoid going outside if there is no urgent need. Tomorrow it will be colder yet. You can give me your cold-rainy winter anytime. I’d gladly exchange it ours here.

    Memories from past – nostalgia as they like to call it plays an important role in my life and brings many warm feelings from a time when life was less hectic and unbridled materialism was not yet invented.

    Grandpa

  3. pseudomonaz says:

    How I wish I knew the answers of the questions you have asked in the end! How I wish I could go back to the good old days! You made me nostalgic… :(

  4. Jessica says:

    A beautiful and delightfully descriptive post. I was right there with you, listening for the watchman. I don’t know what it is about mankind that makes him so nostalgic. But often he is. It’s in his blood, although, no — the past isn’t always better. We grow, and things change. It’s life. And the funny thing? Someday we’ll be nostalgic for these days.

  5. I loved the rain of that night too :) And I too love that distinctive smell when rain falls on parched land. :)

    [And as for the question as to why do familiar smells and sounds bring nostalgia, I wrote something here - http://dreamzandclouds.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/music-for-my-ears/. Check towards the end of the post. :)]

  6. Your memories brings back a few of my own.
    I love the smell in the air after it has rained, everything has a kind of clean smell.
    Britain is also becoming warmer in December…there are still reminders that it is winter but not as cold as it used to be. :)
    Have a great week.

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