It was Saturday and the teachers’ departure was supposed to be one hour later than the students. The kids had already left and the teachers were in their classrooms, alone. It was time to prepare worksheets for the upcoming week. To prepare the worksheets I took my laptop to school. I switched on the laptop, opened my small tiffin in which I had put some biscuits for my alone time, took off my shoes, opened the windows, threw open the grey curtains and forgot to make the worksheets! It was cloudy outside and making worksheets became like chasing rainbows. The Lantana’s aromatic flower cluster was peeping from behind a huge brick kept carelessly by the gardener. The Lantana was not planted by Ram Lal but it was happy, it managed to grow on its own. The Gulsarfi, commonly called Marigold, was enjoying the mild breeze that had brought the petrichor. That reminded me that chemicals aren’t always bad. The chemical that is responsible for the beautiful smell is geosmin. Geosmin is produced by bacteria in the soil. So bacteria, bhi achche hai!! The Rose mallows were really red just like a newlywed’s cheeks. They enjoy all the attention of mynahs and Ram Lal’s, too. Cloudy or not, it was Saturday, and Saturdays were meant to make the worksheets. As I started making the worksheets, I could hardly complete the first worksheet when it started raining. I closed the window. The raindrops were reaching the boring screen of the laptop with their peculiar smell. Besides petrichor, the rain brings with it imagination! By default the rain reminded me of peacocks. I imagined the peacocks displaying their beautiful plumage. Although I know now that peacocks don’t dance because they enjoy rain, I love to imagine peacocks dancing in rain due to rain only and not because they want to attract a female. But I had to make the worksheets! I pulled myself together and completed the last worksheet. It was a nice worksheet with mixed types of questions. Some were easy and some not.
Then, I realized that all the teachers were moving towards the exit door. Was it 2:30 already? But how’s that possible?! Many teachers were standing at the exit door. It came to my attention that we were allowed to go home early due to the heavy rain. Bathinda is not a very good place when it comes to rainfall. Recently, the roof of a cow shelter collapsed due to a heavy downpour. The city was submerged in the rainwater, and many educational institutes were closed for days and many shopkeepers suffered huge losses. That was the darker side of the beautiful rain.
I packed my things quickly, wore my shoes and left my umbrella beside my chair. Why? Well, I hate umbrella when it’s pouring. I love getting drenched in raindrops. It makes me feel alive. I reached Gate No. 1 from where we were supposed to board our bus.
The early departure was unhappy news for the teachers who would board the S2 Bus since the bus driver wasn’t aware of the scheduled early departure and went home. We stood under the shed waiting for another driver to arrive. Our eyes glued on the gate in wait of the driver and none of us was trying to enjoy the weather. “Did I lock the window of the bedroom today?” I wasn’t sure. “Did I leave the clothes outside?” I had no idea. I was lost in my own world when a car stopped near me. It was one of my colleagues. She offered me a lift home in her Tata Safari. As I was getting into the car, one of our peons came running with my umbrella in his hands. I tried my best to ignore him. But could I? He thought he did the best thing of the world by handing me over my umbrella. But did I want it ? NO! Anyways I thanked him and took it.
Within fifteen minutes we were on a road submerged in water. From Bibiwala Chowk the city was waterlogged. A huge dustbin was turned over by the heavy rain. My colleague’s daughter saw this and exclaimed, “Have you ever seen the river of garbage?” The muddy water with different colours of polythene bags floating in it looked like a river of garbage. There were no beautiful peacocks dancing in the rain. They were replaced by huge cars struggling to get some space through the heavy traffic on the road. The traffic moved slowly and our car almost stopped for sometime. A shabby girl with an infant in her arms knocked at the window of the car. She was all wet. “How lucky she was to be able to get wet!” But her eyes were glued on my umbrella. It was the best thing she could get that day. And it was my best chance to give it away. I slipped my umbrella through the open window towards her. Her eyes shown in surprise and she took her infant under the umbrella. A thankful smile spread and made the silver lining on her dark face. And I was happy as finally I got rid of the umbrella. Wow! I had a chance of getting wet.
Finally I reached at my stop. It started raining again. And luckily I did not have any umbrella with me. I had never experienced meeting my crush on a busy road suddenly but I was sure the raindrops falling and thinking of them falling on my body soon made me blush. It was time to open the car’s door and step into the rainwater that had engulfed the clean 100 Feet Road of Bathinda. The serpentine road wasn’t there. You could only see muddy water which would make huge waves as soon as a vehicle moved through it. I had to step into it. However, I thanked my friend for dropping me off, put on a brave face and stepped outside the car into the river of garbage. Believe me, you would only feel bad when you first stepped into the water. Silver pearls all over me felt so beautiful. I had seen many children at school who would move like snails on their way back to their classroom so that they can waste as much time as possible. That day, I was that snail. People were running through the street to save themselves from getting wet. How boring! I mean, if you are afraid of raindrops, you haven’t lived your life fully. Isn’t it, dear reader? There were a bunch of bubbly monkeys making paper boats and sailing them in the temporary river of the street. I overheard their conversation and realized that they were a transport company that work only during monsoon season. I smiled and enquired about their work. “Our boat can transport your very light things like letters or flowers to any of the homes on this street, aunty,” said one of them.
“Ah, that’s wonderful. Well, I would like to transport some of the seeds of Mexican Bluebells and I would love them to reach the home with a beautiful garden that is at the corner of our street.”
The kids laughed as they found that I was just like them. They were ready to do the task without any payment but I promised them a treat at home. The particular hot treat that suits such weather. Babbu took the seeds from me and put them carefully in their best boat and accompanied the boat till it reached Mr. Chopra’s garden. He pressed the bell and as Mrs. Chopra came out, he pointed towards me and told her about the seeds. She laughed aloud, waved her hands giving me an invitation for a cup of tea. I could smell the hot pakoras in the air and Mrs. Chopra was a great cook. A fool would only deny the invitation. The boys were also called.
While we all were munching over the crispy pakoras, Mrs. Chopra brought a towel for me. “It’s so beautiful that you thought of gifting me these seeds.”
Wrapped in a clean cotton sari, she reminded of my Granny. She would also invite all the children over tea and her world famous bread pakoras. Whenever it rained we would wear a smile on our face and walk through the water in the hope of hot pakoras and tea waiting for us at home.
“And it’s so very beautiful that you thought of inviting us all over tea.”
“Do the clouds know that by pouring down these silver drops they not only colour the plants but also the human beings?”
“I hope, they know it, aunty!”
Chittchor: it is a hindi word that means some one who steals away your heart.
Bacteria bhi achche hai !! means bacteria are also good.
Pakoras are made of corn flour and vegetables. It is snack that is eaten with tea.
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