Cha rahi kali ghata
Jiya mora lahraey hai
(The sight of clouds heavy with rain gathering in the sky gladdens my heart)

What’s a rainy day without paper boats to float on puddles, some tea-warmed loveliness and the unhurried languor of a Begum Akhtar song?

When I hear people crib most unimaginatively about the rains, I always get impatient, for I believe there’s nothing more romantic or miraculous than cradling a cuppa or digging unreservedly into comfort food as sheets of rain wash the world anew. I dare anyone to find moments more fulfilling than savouring such delicious restfulness with nashta, grills, stews... food flirting with the monsoonal mood! An Indian August is incomplete without strains of music and steaming cups of tea that stitch the rain into a moody yearning, inviting you to luxuriate in the hiatus as the world is refreshed with rain.

This month of August rain, my cabal of friends has a new favourite rendezvous point at ITC Grand Central, where the Irani Chai pe Charcha authentic speciality tea experience between 4 to 7pm recreates the iconic romance of Mumbai - its Irani restaurants and its rains! The festival continues through this month. On India’s less hectic shoreline in Chennai, you could celebrate the monsoonal romance with a fresh seasonal menu of royal vegetarian delicacies at the Varsha Ritu festival at ITC Grand Chola that continues through this month. You could also hop across from Royal Vega to Ottimo to relish the crustacean of your choice grilled to perfection at the Frutti di Mare festival or choose from an enviable variety of seafood whilst deciding your favourite appetiser, pasta, risotto or calzone.

Refresh with rain!