I am new here but not new to IF or to the fanfiction section. I decided to post a short story i had written earlier. hope u all like it and please don't hesitate to comment.
THE RAIN DANCE
"Sir…..you are getting wet on the platform…….please relax in the First class waiting room……this rain could take a while to stop."
"Thanks Mr Station Master…..I am actually enjoying this rain….it's been ages since I experienced the first monsoon ….I love it!"
"Are you new here?"
"Well yes…and no," I chuckled after seeing his perplexed expression, "I am new to your train station……but not to this state…..I used to live in Bhopal."
"So, where do you live now?"
"No where…..and everywhere….uh….Mr Rahul Verma," I checked his badge which looked blurry in the dark, wet night. I knew I had confused this poor young man thoroughly. If he knew me better, he would know that's how I was- never direct, always an enigma for everyone-except for you. Yes….you….the only person who ever understood me, the only person I was not a mystery for……the only person for whom my feelings were always crystal clear…..
Being a professional photo-journalist, I was indeed nowhere and everywhere these days. My folks are still in the UK, where we had moved to six years ago. I have not visited Bhopal since then, but last week when Pete, my boss gave me this opportunity, I could not say no. I have yearned to come back every day of my life, but something stopped me each time. May be it was the knowledge that you were no longer there. That you had moved shortly after we had moved.
"I will be back in my office sir." The wise station master figured it was best to leave this crazy man who preferred to get soaked in the rain rather than enjoy the biscuits and hot tea being served in the First class waiting room.
"You are welcome sir."
RAIN…BAARISH….MONSOONS…… I sighed and recalled my favorite rain song by Adnan Sami…Baarish…from his album 'kisi din'
As a child, I was never fond of rain, the monsoons and the sticky weather during the summer months. I always associated the Monsoons with power failure, hot sweaty afternoons and mosquitoes everywhere. My friends thought I was weird. Wetting my feet in the dirty puddle water was inconceivable to me; paper boats- NEVER! Dancing and playing in the rain- ABSOLUTELY NOT! Yes, I was a little obsessive about filth and cleanliness….and afraid of drowning in the rain!
I was fortunate that my parents were very well off- we had two generators which kicked in as soon as the city underwent 'load-shedding'; my dad had purchased a little speed boat for me during one of his business trips to England, which I could run all day on a couple of AA batteries in my pristine Italian marble bath tub.
I remember I was 17, and you were 16 when you moved into our neighborhood. We were in the same school, but within a few weeks you had befriended the whole neighborhood and school as if you had been studying there since kindergarten. I don't think you ever noticed me, but yes, I did! May be it was the rush of adolescent hormones, or just a curiosity about the new girl on the block, I developed a clandestine interest in you. When my parents thought I was busy studying for my finals, I was gazing at you from my first floor window. Even though you were 16 and in high school, I was intrigued by how easily you played with the younger kids of the neighborhood. In fact, your giggles and squeals would resonate in my ears all night. How I wish I could play the jump rope, pithoo, gulli-danda, kanche, stapoo with all of you. I had never been interested in those street games, but each time I saw the joy on your face, my craving to be there on the street bare feet like all of you exceeded my own expectations from my 'perfectionist' self.
Of course, you were beautiful- those hazel eyes, long silky hair spread carelessly on your face when you hopped like an eight year old and your contagious laughter haunted my thoughts, day and night. I knew you had no idea who I was; I never took the bus to school with all of you- we had a chauffeur who drove me back and forth from school.
Each day, I rode in our car, I dreamt of the day when you would be stranded in the middle of the road, and I would be your knight in shining armor there to rescue you. I would imagine my car was a horse and you, a damsel in distress would be swept off her feet by me one day. In my drab life, my fairytale imaginations were the only speck of happiness. How I craved for magic or a miracle to happen in my life…..
How can I forget that magical afternoon that changed my life forever? As if, the Rain Gods had been notified of an innocent 17 year old's dream. That was the day I started believing in magic…..miracles….and also fell in love with the rain….and with you.
The first Monsoon showers always arrive at the most unexpected moment. It was the last day of school; I was in a rush to get home. We were moving to the UK the very next day. I had been accepted to a prestigious college in London; dad had taken a transfer with his company. As we drove back from school in the blinding rainfall, the dark clouds and thunderous lightning guiding the chauffeur, my gaze fell on a tall, slim girl wading her way through the flooded streets of Bhopal. With water reaching her knees, she was drenched from head to toe. Instantly, I recognized you. How could I not? I am not ashamed to say, I had studied you so intently through my first floor window, that even if I had not seen your name on your backpack, I would have recognized you.
To my surprise, you accepted our offer to give you a ride and changed my life forever……….
DEEP BLUE EYES:
I hate this rain. Of all days, why did the monsoons have to start today? After being fired from so many jobs, I was looking forward to this new one as a nanny to the daughter of a Bhopal based rich widower. I read the appointment letter again and stuffed it into my purse. Is that why I accepted this job, or was it my hidden desire to visit Bhopal after all these years?
I am stuck in this dingy second class waiting room at a no-name train station. God knows when the track will clear? It could be another 24 hours, or may be a whole week before the tracks are useable again. Why do I worry so much about everything these days? I was never a worry wart; on the contrary, people marveled at my resilience, my carefree attitude and love for life. I used love the monsoons, love playing in the puddles, love getting drenched after the first showers of the season, loved the sweet smell of the wet earth. It all changed after you offered me a ride that rainy afternoon.
Nature has endowed us girls and women a keen awareness about our admirers- hidden ones and obvious ones! Since the day we had moved into your neighborhood, I knew you observed me furtively. Your sad but deep blue eyes peering at me through your bedroom window haunted me every night. The other kids in the school called you 'weird.' Yes, you were weird but in an enchanting way. I never saw you talk to other kids in school; you never rode the bus with us, never played on the streets with us. You were too serious, I thought, but that piqued my interest in you further. I had always loved challenges. Soon you became the most attractive challenge for me. I am sure you wondered why a 16 year old girl hopped and skipped on the streets like an eight year old? I am not ashamed to admit that your deep blue eyes drew me to the streets every afternoon. Even though, it was easy for me to make friends with anyone, I hesitated when it thought of you.
It was the last day of school; I had missed my bus once again as I was too busy chatting with my friends. As always, I decided to walk back, but the first monsoons descended on the streets of Bhopal with full vengeance. The blinding rain flooded my path within minutes. Even an avid rain and water lover like me was lost in the storm. Then I saw your car stop beside me. How could I refuse the ride? The optimist in me saw the storm as a blessing in disguise. We rode quietly without exchanging any words. I felt guilty about soaking the seats of your car, but you seemed unperturbed.
"Can you teach me how to make paper boats?" I was amused and taken aback by your question as your car halted in front of my house.
"Sure," I unzipped my backpack and tore a page out of my history spiral. I still remember that horrified expression on your face; you probably cherished your books more than I did.
We raced paper boats on the flooded streets all afternoon. I could not help noticing how those deep blue eyes of yours danced with joy in the rain. Even though, we did not say much to each other, I sensed that this was perhaps the happiest moment of your life……and probably mine….
You invited me to your house afterwards, as I had lost the keys to our house. My parents were probably stuck in the rain elsewhere, so I accepted your invitation.
I still remember every detail of that memorable afternoon.
The next day, you were gone! Just like the overcast skies on the city, a gloom fell over my life when I saw your car pull away from your driveway with an isolated, 'FOR SALE' sign on your gate. I saw your deep blue eyes for the last time through your car window. After six years, I am still not sure whether I saw a tear roll down your cheek, or was it the blurriness in my eyes which gave me that illusion?
"Mama….I need a tissue," Sunny shook me out of my memories.
"Yes beta," I searched for a tissue in my bag. Just like my life, my bag was a collection of disorganized mess; being a single mother, I had to carry clutter of all kinds for my demanding five year old son. "Here you go," I pulled out a tissue but did not realize my appointment letter to my new job flew away in the confusion.
"SUNNY! Go get that piece of paper beta!" I yelled as I gathered my other belongings.
"Yes mama," his innocent blue eyes smiled mischievously; he was dying to go out in the rain, seeing the paper fly away onto the wet platform enthralled him immensely.
"Mama…..come outside…..an uncle taught me how to make a paper boats!"
I was livid. Sunny had no business talking to a stranger and how come he forgot that paper boats were BAD? My painful memories had kept my son away from the thrills of childhood like paper boats.
"SUNNY!" I screamed and ran outside. My appointment letter floated towards me in the form of a boat. I rescued the soggy piece of paper, trying my best to decipher the address and phone number of my new employer.
"The monsoon magic has worked again!" I heard a familiar voice. The dimly lit platform made it hard for me to see the man-who-ruined-my-appointment-letter. I treaded the wet platform without caring how soaked the bottom of my new sari, especially purchased for my new job, was getting. There in his arms was my son. As the light fell on their faces, two pairs of identical deep blue eyes smiled at me. At that moment, my worries like the damp appointment letter flew away from my hands.
Just as we found each other six years ago on a wet rainy afternoon, our son found the rain dance on this wet platform…..all the passengers from both the First class and Second class waiting rooms joined the three of us in the rain dance without worrying for their train to Bhopal…….
Song from DTPH 'koi kadki hai' (rain dance song)