Amaya looked out of the window. It was raining outside. She could see the puddles near the gate. She saw passersby with their colourful umbrellas.
She loved the rain. Not only because she loved to sail her paper boats in the puddles around the school gate but also she would get a new umbrella every year. However, this monsoon made her sad. Her new umbrella had been stuck in the window and broke as she pulled it.
Today was a special day for Amaya. She was sitting by the window, waiting for the delivery man. The moment a van passed by the main gate, she got excited. After all, she was just a seven year old girl, who found happiness in small things. She ran down as soon as she saw the van halt. She opened the door to welcome him. The delivery man was carrying a box in his one hand and his umbrella in the other.
To her despair, he crossed the road and marched towards the opposite gate. Heartbroken, she returned to her room and sat by the window. The day seemed long, the wait never ending. She was too sad to see people with their umbrellas as it reminded her of her own broken one.
She decided to take a break. Her mother, Shanaya tagged her along for shopping. This was their gate to get away from boredom. It was drizzling when they left. Amaya was now sharing her mother’s black umbrella. She was not happy about it. Black wasn’t her favourite colour. Her mother was just window shopping and viewing the elaborate displays, but she bought nothing.
A small store caught their eyes. Different types of umbrellas were on sale. Amaya jumped in happiness. She looked at her mother with puppy eyes. Amaya’s mind was like an open window. Shanaya could see what was going on in her daughter’s mind. She immediately purchased a pink floral umbrella and handed it to Amaya. Her happiness knew no bounds.
The drizzling had now turned into a downpour. Little Amaya held the umbrella with her tiny hands. She promised herself she would take care of it and not let it break. Little did she know that promises and hearts are meant to be broken.
As they were walking down a lane, Amaya gasped. She let go of her mother’s hand and ran across the street. Shocked by her daughter’s sudden demeanour, Shanaya ran after her. She was furious and worried at the same time. But her anger melted at the sight of what her daughter had done.
Amaya’s kindness had opened the floodgates of tears for the homeless orphaned boy. While he was trying to protect himself from the rain, covering his head with his bare hands, an umbrella held by tiny hands had come to his rescue. He was hesitant at first, but couldn’t refuse the offered gift. She had given away her most prized possession to the needy boy.
Smiling, she returned to her mother. Shanaya hugged her tightly as if she would vanish in thin air. Amaya was totally drenched by rain. Again she had to share her mother’s umbrella. They wanted to reach home as soon as possible, but the hunger pangs made them stop at a snack shop.
There were two chairs around the circular tables outside the shop each with a large umbrella. As they made themselves comfortable in their respective chairs, Amaya was stunned by the enormous umbrellas. She wished for one. The hot piping samosas satisfied their hunger pangs.
The rain slowly started to calm down. As they paced towards home, Amaya heard continuous meowing. She shared a worried glance with her mother. They looked around and saw a tiny kitten stuck in the tree.
Together, they rushed towards the kitten. She asked her mother to lift her up so that she could reach the kitten. Her mother gave in but Amaya’s hand couldn’t reach the kitten. She kept trying, but all in vain.
Then her eyes fell on the black umbrella. She held it in one hand and again asked her mother to lift her up. She tried to pull the kitten towards her with one end of the umbrella. However, the tiny kitten hissed and backed off.
Like a lightning bolt, an idea struck her. She opened the umbrella upside down and held it near the edge of the branch for the kitten to jump in. As if on cue, the kitten slowly approached the open umbrella and jumped inside it, clutching onto the handle.
Shanaya quickly put her down and Amaya held the kitten in her arms before it could run away. Closing the umbrella, she looked at her daughter with utmost pride.
It was raining that night too when she had found Amaya. She had lost her everything to fate. She was returning home from the funeral of her boyfriend, Amit. They were supposed to marry each other the next month. However, her dreams crushed, shattering into a million pieces, piercing her heart.
Shanaya had lost her parents when she was in college. Amit was all she had. The only light of her life was gone and all that was left were the black clouds of despair.
As she rested her head on the glass window, she heard a cry. She thought that she was hallucinating. The cries grew louder. She looked out of the closed window when something caught her eyes.
Shanaya ran downstairs. She picked her umbrella from behind the door and made her way outside. There, outside the gate, lied a basket of life. She peeked in and saw a baby crying.
Shanaya picked her up and hugged her tightly. She was not her mother. But she knew the baby was a gift. She named her Amaya, the same name that she would have given to Amit and her baby. In that moment, she realised she had a purpose in life.
Amaya held the kitten the same way Shanaya had held her once. They happily returned home. Once again, Amaya sat near her window looking at the passing vehicles. She was waiting. However, this time she was not alone. Chiku, her little rescued friend gave her company.
Amaya recalled how she had won the first prize in the painting competition. She loved to play with colours. She had painted a picture of her mother and herself. She was dancing in the rain holding her umbrella while her mother was looking at her from the window.
The same window where she was now sitting, waiting for the delivery man who was bringing her prize. What was taking him so long to come, she wondered. Did he broke his umbrella too?
After what felt like an eternity, a van halted in front of the gate. Amaya’s eyes sparkled with hope. She waited watching him through the window. He was not having a box with him but a long gift wrapped package that looked like it contained a stick inside.
Amaya was puzzled. A long stick as a prize, she was disappointed. Nevertheless, she made her way downstairs as the door bell rang. She hid behind her mother as Shanaya signed the delivery receipt and took in the parcel.
She asked Amaya to unwrap the gift. Amaya started rolling off the gift wrapper. When the gift started coming into sight, she shrieked in joy. It was a large garden umbrella, the one she had wished for. The sponsors of the contest had sent a promotional umbrella with a window and gate logo. But Amaya didn’t care. She was happy that her wish was granted.
Amaya ran outside with Chiku in one hand and umbrella in the other. She opened it and started dancing, rotating it. The rainbow colours of the umbrella merged with the sky. She felt the happiest. She dragged her mother along with her. Together, they danced like there was no tomorrow.
The sound of a click interrupted their happy dance. Shanaya turned around to look at the source of the sound. She furiously marched towards the gate. The guilty culprit smiled sheepishly at her. Before she could reprimand him, he introduced himself.
The man was none other than Indrajit Sen, the sensational journalist of the country. Her jaws dropped when he requested her to click photos of Amaya with the umbrella. She readily agreed.
But the model in question was not. Amaya didn’t like the intrusion. After a lot of convincing and bribe of two chocolates, she finally posed.
Amaya held the umbrella in between her arms while placing her fingers on cheeks. Her lips formed a beautiful curve on her face.
The photo was printed on the front page of the leading newspaper with the caption, ‘The girl with a rainbow umbrella’.
Little did they know that it was the beginning of a new friendship between Indrajit and Shanaya.
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