His name is Janardhan Jamwarkar, but his mother calls him Johnny. He is all of five years old, and you have probably never heard of him before in your life. He is also the one who is single-handedly responsible for these unseasonal rains in Mumbai.
It was the last day of the monsoons, and dark clouds had gathered all over Johnny’s home in Dadar, biding their time, waiting expectantly, but patiently, for their peak hours, when they would be able to impact the maximum number of people. It was month-end, and they too had targets to achieve. So there they were, filled with water, almost to the brim, waiting….waiting.
And in their palatial 125 sq. ft. home below, Johnny was throwing a tantrum….again!
For Johnny was a spoilt little brat, who didn’t really care about anyone apart from himself, and he wanted to go out and play cricket with his friends. His mother tried all the tricks in her book to try and convince him to stay back, for she knew it was going to start pouring cats and dogs any moment now, but he just would not listen.
She tried to bribe him with a new cricket bat first, but he just took the bat and said, “Good, I’ll play with my new bat today.” She then threatened him with his father’s wrath, but he said, “Once he comes to know that I scored a century today with my new bat, he will be so proud of me that he’ll ignore your complaints.” She finally applied her Brahmastra then, and with tears rolling down her eyes, begged him to stay, but Johnny, just like his new bat, seemed to have been made from wood, and started laughing wildly at her Nirupa Roy-esque histrionics!
As Johnny prepared to leave, his mother looked outside on last time. The clouds had become even darker than before, if that was possible. She just KNEW Johnny would catch nemonia…pnimonia…pneumonia (finally got it!) if he got wet today. She knew it in her heart, she knew it in her bones.
Desperate times, as they say, call for desperate measures, and if these times were not desperate, she did not know what were. So she did what she had seen people do in countless Hindi films when they had no recourse left…no, no, she did not gulp down a bottle of Vat 69 neat, she sat in front of her in-house temple, and prayed. It was an ancient prayer, passed on from mother to daughter for generations in their family, to be used only in case of the direst of emergencies, and that too, just once in one lifetime. So, she started chanting,
“Rain rain go away
Come again another day
Little Johnny wants to play”
It was a powerful mantra indeed, and the clouds, which, you may recall, were already filled to the brim, were forced to turn back and start moving towards their base station. They were angry at being denied relief (and at the non-achievement of their targets, their boss, like all bosses, did not really accept force majeure as an excuse) but helpless in front of the magic prayer. But the effect of the prayer was only temporary, and they bid their time…waiting!
Meanwhile, in Dadar, Johnny’s mother conducted an elaborate aarti ceremony, and sent Johnny on his way to Shivaji Park, to inaugurate his new bat, play to his heart’s content, and to make his father proud. Johnny was the opening batsman for his team. He walked up to the crease to thunderous applause…and within one minute, was on his way back to the pavilion in a pall of gloom. He had just been dismissed unceremoniously on the first ball of the match!
The clouds, who had not been allowed to relieve themselves in order to facilitate Johnny’s ‘performance’ in the match, waited and waited. Many days passed, and many dud innings from Johnny, who never seemed to be able to score even a single run, almost as if he was cursed.
It was September 19th. Johnny’s coach had given him an ultimatum- If you don’t score a century today, you’re out of the team. Johnny woke up, and started getting ready for the match. He could feel deep inside him that something had changed overnight, today was definitely going to be his day. He looked outside, it was bright and sunny, as if even the Gods were blessing him.
Johnny padded up, and walked up to the pitch with a swagger. His opponents from the fielding side mocked him, the crowd jeered, but he could not care less. He knew he was going to score a century today. He took guard, the bowler started on his run-up, accelerated, jumped….and bowled a near-perfect yorker!
Near perfect, not perfect, for Johnny read it in time, shifted his feet, and hit it over mid-wicket for a huuuuuge six! Balls kept being thrown at him, and he kept dispatching them over the boundary. Johnny was on fire today!
He was on 99 now, just a single away from a glorious century, and a guaranteed place in the team. The bowler started on his run-up, Johnny was the epitome of concentration as he saw each step almost in slow motion, and as the ball came towards him, he quickly pivoted, eyes focused on the ball, and just as he was about to hit the ball…the first drop of rain fell, right into his eye. He lost his concentration…and the ball…and his wicket, in that order! And as he walked back to the pavilion with drooping shoulders, the clouds unleashed their fury not just above him, but over the entire city.
For what Johnny had not realized was, that he had been feeling different because the effect of the mantra had been lifted. And that meant that the clouds could come back, and wait for the exact moment to take revenge upon him when it would hurt him the most. There is a price to be paid for using magic, and Johnny, along with the rest of the city, had just paid it!