It is nearly third week of August and I could hear the Spring knocking my doors. But the chilli winter is not over yet and I really didn’t want to go on blaming the funny Melbourne weather again for sitting closed up at home. Where should I head for a short weekend trip at this rather confusing cross road of seasons? I asked my Italian colleague, who is a self-proclaimed travel maniac. ‘Warburton’, he suggested without even a peck of a doubt. Warburton is 70 Km east of Melbourne CBD, closer to many old mining towns and above all it is a water catchment area for Melbourne Water. A scenic beautiful place in the Yarra Valley. But I discounted the fact that like any other Italian, my Italian colleague loves his soccer, Pizza and Wine. Wherever he can get a couple of bottles of good wine at cheap prices, he considers as a tourist spot. Warburton being in the Yarra Valley is studded with wineries.
As usual I got up early in the morning at five clock without the aid of an alarm. It was raining heavily and even the forecast for the day was of continuous rain. But rain or shine life must go on. I called my friend of 15years, Rakesh, a chartered accountant, to know whether he is interested in coming to Warburton. Though it was a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ question, his reply crossed a paragraph, which began with “Are you nuts to go to Warburton when it is raining so heavy?”. But I am not from a civilisation that hates rain. Rain always aroused nostalgic feelings in me. Born in a place which receives one of the highest rainfalls in the world, rain was always a part of my life. We had just two seasons, rainy season and not so rainy season. As kids we used to sit at the Varanda with our parents to watch rain – the beauty of each droplet falling from the sky. It began with a pitter patter sound which turns into a drumming, which no musical instrument can re-create. The petrichor of the first rain of the season – how can one explain it with mere words?
One-hour drive through picturesque Lilydale was an added bonus though rain created a wall between me and the beauty of it. Warburton is considered as natural wonder because of its scenic beauty. Mount Donna Buang is just 17km from Warburton, and those want to enjoy the snow, will find it a perfect location.
When I reached Warburton, I was surprised to see a big group of Indian girls strolling through the township. Nowadays the only way one could recognise Indians is by looking at their eyes. The typical dark and sharp eyes Indians share with the people of Middle east. Otherwise most looked like westerners with fair complexion. I am not sure what has changed in this short span of time, but a couple of years back, when I visited my hometown in South India, which was famous for black beauties – every single girl I saw in the street looked more like models in the ramp with fair complexion. Is it the thick makeup they use, behind this sudden transformation of a nation?
I entered my teen years when Indians were making a transition from Boroline to Fair&Lovely. Though Boroline was an antiseptic cream, my previous generation considered it as a solution for all their beauty problems. In my teenage years, Girls even used to apply fair&Lovely at classrooms. It was a message for us, the boys, not to ignore the ugly ducklings, as they will soon transform themselves into fairy princesses with the aid of this miracle ointment cream. The boys – every single one of them carried a secret desire to become like our much adored chocolate heroes, hid our Fair&Lovely at secret locations and applied in large quantities when no one was around. But admitting that, we thought would seriously diminish our claim to manhood with our thin just sprouting mustaches. The first time, I thought of jumping off the cliff was when my sister found out my well-kept secret.
If you are reading this article, you would certainly question my sanity, of drifting away from the subject. What girls and rain have to do with a travelogue? Definitely it has to do a lot with a travelogue, when it is still raining so heavily and I am driving aimlessly through the streets of Warburton. In fact, I find it difficult even to see the car in front of me. My friend was right; I was nuts to go for a sightseeing drive, when it rains mercilessly. I must admit, sometimes I too hate rain. To hell with my civilization that loves rain.