30 September 2015

A puddle is a canvas

Pic courtesy www.niebruggestudio.com
This is the forty seventh in a series I am writing for the JEANS section of 'The Nation'.  The series is for children. Adults, consider yourselves warned...you might re-discover a child within you!  Scroll down for other articles in this series. 

‘When it rains hard the entire back garden of the school becomes a huge puddle!’ a little girl said with much excitement.  Her father asked if all the girls rush in and splash around this ‘huge puddle’, shoes and all.  She said that they didn’t but they would love to and sometimes, after school, they would! 

Sloshing around puddles when the rain has ceased is a lovely thing to do.  And it’s not just little girls who talk about it.  When it rains during ‘Big Matches’ and play is called off for the day or the match abandoned, the ground staff quickly move in with heavy waterproof sheets.  They cover the square area in the middle of the ground.  A pool of sorts is immediately created.   Schoolboys and old boys (both young and old) run to the middle and dive in, sliding across the sheets.   They don’t care about getting wet – well, they don’t care if their clothes get wet either! 

Yes, there’s a lot to be said for puddles if you have nothing else to do and don’t have to be neat and trim and dry! 

But it’s not only about splashing around and screaming with your friends without worrying what your mother and father might say.  You’ll know if you are a bit observant about your surroundings on rainy days. 
Suppose the rain ceased.  Suppose you are walking along a street.   Check the edge of the pavement.  You are bound to see water, either collected against the edge of a set of pavement stones or rushing along (if it has been raining particularly hard).  But it’s not the water that is most interesting.  It is the leaves that float on the water. 

In our tropical island, when it rains it rains pretty hard.  And rain is typically accompanied by harsh winds.  Check the roads after a shower.  You’ll see that branches have fallen on the road.  There’ll be more leaves than usual.  Some of them gather along the sides of the road.  If you stop and watch you’ll see that they are different types of leaves.  You will see that they move either due to the movement of the water or if the water has collected and is not moving, due to the movement of the wind. 

There’s only so much joy you can take from the edge of a pavement.  But keep the memory of leaves on water and when you get home or find a puddle you can toss in as many different kinds of leaves as you want.  Small leaves and big ones, light green leaves and dark green leaves.  You can make it more interesting by adding in the petals of different kinds of flowers. 

It’s a bit like making a fake meal with leaves, petals, stems and such.  The difference is that water doesn’t stay still.  If your puddle is large enough and if there’s a lot of water, however neat your leaf-petal arrangement, it just won’t remain the way you want it to.  The wind will persuade some petals and leaves to move around and ‘disarrange’ the whole thing.  But this might make you think of new patters.  These too could be disarranged.  That’s how it is.  We plan but our plans don’t work out the way we want them to.  But the outcome can still be beautiful.  Like leaves and petals on a large puddle on a rainy day.

Other articles in this series

There's an ant story waiting for you
And you can be a rainbow-maker
Trees are noble teachers
On cloudless nights the moon is a hole
Gulp down those hurtful words
A question is a boat, a jet, a space-ship or a heart
Quotes can take you far but they can also stop you
No one is weak
The fisherman in a black shirt
Let's celebrate Nelli and Nelliness
Ready for time travel?
Puddles look back at you, did you know?
What's the view like from your door?
The world is rearranged by silhouettes
How would you paint the sky?
It is cool to slosh around
You can compose your own music
Pebbles are amazing things
You can fly if you want to
The happiest days of our lives
So what do you want to do with the rain?
Still looking for that secret passage?
Maybe we should respect the dust we walk on
Numbers are beautiful 
There are libraries everywhere 
Collect something crazy
Fragments speak of a thousand stories 
The games you can and cannot play with rice
The magic of the road less-traveled
Have you ever thought of forgiving?
Wallflowers are pretty, aren't they?
What kind of friend do you want to be? 
Noticed the countless butterflies around you?
It's great to chase rainbows
In praise of 'lesser' creatures 
A mango is a book did you know?
Expressions are interesting things
How many pairs of eyes do you need?
So no one likes you?
There is magic in faraway lights
The thambilil-seller of Giriulla
When people won't listen, things will
Lessons of the seven-times table