It was six in the evening in Mumbai. At his cosy second-floor apartment, Mr Abhijit Anand―the award-winning writer, blogger, and social media influencer, was watching the Mumbai-monsoons for the first time. He was new to the city, but had heard lots about the city’s intense affair with the rain.
He had been patiently waiting for this day. With a mug of piping hot coffee, he settled in the grandfather armchair on his balcony, to welcome the rain. With the soothing tunes of Bollywood music in the background, the setting could not be any better.
The mild afternoon drizzle soon became a torrential downpour. Going through the hundreds of pictures he clicked that evening, Abhijit was trying to decide which one of them was worthy enough to announce the advent of monsoon on his Instagram page.
Would it be the fluffy bird perching on the gentle Jamun tree with spongy branches and pregnant leaves?
Or the tiny plant peeping out of the neighbouring building’s crack, planning an act of revenge on the concrete?
Or the two street children wrapped in polythene playing with pebbles under the drowsy street light, as if they were out for a trip to the moon?
Lost in the beauty of rain, Abhijit had started sculpting the heroine of his next story. She would mesmerize everyone with her charm as the raindrops would play hide and seek in her long curly hair.
Suddenly the doorbell rang.
His cook Raju was at the door, completely drenched and struggling to fold his umbrella. “Sirji, I got late. My umbrella almost gave in.”
Abhijit welcomed him in, “Umbrellas are poor fellows. When they are manufactured, they are told that they would only have to shield us against the rain, but some rains come with wind. Just like today’s one.”
While receiving a towel from Abhijit, Raju sighed, “Yes, it’s such a nasty rain!”
“Nasty!!! How could you say such a thing about the rain? Come; see how beautiful it looks from here!” Abhijit pointed towards his balcony.
“Sirji, it may be beautiful from here, but it’s not so at our place. Within a few days of continuous rain, water enters our house. We have no option but to seek shelter elsewhere, probably at a relative’s house or in an elevated area. You wouldn’t know, on rainy days our lives are no better than that of a stray animal: Wandering in search of warm shelter, and at times finding none.”
Abhijit’s thoughts dived, somersaulted and back-flipped. He had been reminiscing about the mesmerizing rain but forgot that the same rain, who beautified the heroine of his story, was the villain for many slum-dwellers of this city.
“Please have it. You’ll feel warm.” Abhijit offered Raju a cup of coffee.
“Sirji let me fry pakodas for you.” Nursing his coffee Raju went to the kitchen.
Abhijit stopped bothering about choosing that perfect monsoon picture. He just updated his WhatsApp status with the quote, “Art of life has its own place and time”.
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