Rain: An engineer's take

He heard thunder. It’s going to rain! He and rain — they went way back.

He would come back from classes, fold his umbrella, fling his backpack on the bed. That stupid little bag full of books! It always forced him to use the umbrella. Now he was free. Free to soak in the rain. Free to run, free to splash, free to dance!

Rain was freedom.

About 70% of earth’s surface is covered with water. In the water bodies, tiny little water molecules are always jostling back and forth, up and down — some very vigorously some not so vigorously. Some of those molecules are so energetic, so fast, they overcome the attraction of other water molecules, and break from the surface. Yippie! A water molecule free in the air!

When he was at home, his mother would make bhajjis. Exhausted from all the splashing and running and dancing, the toothsome smell of bhajjis would act as a semi-automatic guidance system. “Aai! Bhajjis!” he would burst into the kitchen, hugging his mother. “Dry yourself first! Otherwise no bhajjis!” his mother would say with all the irritation she could put into the mock anger. Sitting in the balcony, draped in warm clothes, with a plate of hot bhajjis, a steaming cup of tea, and a book to read. He wondered “maybe, heaven is for real.”

Rain was bliss.

The sun was all there to help the rebel water molecules. Shining its electromagnetic radiation on them, the sun energized them. A water molecule has one oxygen atom bonded to two hydrogen atoms, always jiggling about each other. Some of the light made the hydrogens jiggle around the oxygen more vigorously, but the remaining, made the molecule move faster and faster among other water molecules. More and more molecules broke free of the surface and went into the air. Up… up…

One time, he had not gotten that A+ grade he had worked so hard for. He walked alone, aimlessly, the showers cooling his whirring brain. Each drop more soothing than other, each breeze more refreshing. Slowly, steadily, his mind was becoming clear of trifling worries. With each step, he felt more at peace with life. The sky thundered in response. He smiled. He no longer felt like he was a loser simply because he didn’t get the grade he wanted. He no longer felt that no one understood him.

Rain accepted.
Rain understood.

Up in the air, it was getting colder. The molecules that were so energetic leaving the surface, were less so now. As the air lost warmth, its capacity to accommodate water vapor also diminished. The water molecules that were happily floating around as vapor — now had no place in the air. They had to condense, come back to water form. A few tiny dust particles were floating around too. The water molecules latched onto those. Now it was a condensation of water molecules, floating around in the air. They were a cloud!

He remembered vividly, it was middle of the night. He was fast asleep. Big drops of rain striking his window pane woke him up. “Wow! It’s raining!” thought he, sleep already gone. At 2 a.m., he ran out of his house, and lay down on the lawn amidst the downpour, contemplating life, the universe and everything. Later he caught cold, but hey! that was just another excuse to not leave his warm bed and his favorite book. Assignments and homeworks could wait. It was amazing!

Rain didn’t judge.

Water takes a lot of time to warm up. Not just that, it takes a lot of time to cool down too. On the other hand, land gets hot pretty quickly and cools off rapidly too. Because of this disparity, during the day, air above ground gets hotter than air above the oceans. Cooler air is denser than the hotter air, thus the air starts flowing from the sea to the land, carrying the clouds with it. Away… away…

Sometimes he felt low, sometimes lonely. He would take out his bike — his prized possession. Riding the bike in rain — he found it exhilarating! Bike faster, against the rain. Boy! Those droplets hitting him right in the face! That was thrill! He would listen to rain songs on his iPod while biking, a burst of energy right into his pocket! Then he wouldn’t feel low. Then he wouldn’t feel lonely.

Rain was energy.
Rain was love.

As more and more water condensed, it became more and more difficult to stay floating in the air. It got cooler, the water particles heavier. The met, merged, got bigger, ready to return.

So yeah, he had heard thunder. He came out of his house, looked up. Fulsome, dark clouds!

Up in the troposphere, droplets began to form. Too heavy to stay aloft.

He looked up, expectantly. “Please make it rain, please!” he pleaded the God he vehemently refused to believe in.

Small drops, slowly descending — earth trying to increase their speed by 9.8 meters per second every second.

It had been so long! A whole year! Finally he would meet his dear friend.

As the drops got faster, the air resisted their speed more. Earth pulling them down faster, air resisting move vigorously.

“Do lovers feel like this when they are separated?” he wondered.

Fast, faster, even faster! The droplets had achieved terminal velocity, where upward force of air resistance balanced earth’s pull. Some drops broke, got slower. Others continued, plummeting straight down.

“Finally!” he shouted as he spread his arms to greet his love. Irradiant with joy, excitement, longing. “Any moment now.”


The first drop fell on his nose.


They had finally met! It was raining, he was dancing!

“Aaaah! What is this?” he was taken aback by the burning sensation. His whole body was burning, engulfing him in pain like never before.
“Acid rain! How? What? Why? It can’t be… it can’t be! No!”
“NO, IT CAN’T BE!” a sob punctuated his agony.

He was never quite good at chemistry, otherwise he would’ve realized quickly…
The salt in his tears won’t have any effect on the acid in the rain…

Rain wasn’t what he thought.


  1. I don't know if you did it purposely but the "engineer's take" part of the post is extreeeeemely shady. Almost every sentence is so nicely crafted with innuendos that I am pretty sure it's deliberate. -_-

    Reply Delete
    1. Whaaa!!??

      Shady? Shady how re? Innuendos? I want to be able to nicely craft sentences with innuendos, but always fail. And this time when there was nothing, you found so many things? o_O

      Ping with a list if you don't want to comment here, but I'm _really, very_ interested in listening to your interpretation.

      This is how this post came about: I found the concept of the acid in rain being indifferent to your tears to be somewhat poetic. Also, for a long ago, I had a draft post about how much I love rain, which I kept from publishing simply because it seemed too bland. With this new idea, I had a twist ending, so mixed the two and published.

      Also, ping me anyway! :P


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