Raindrops of Defiance

Years have passed, but the monsoon remains more than just a season of petrichor, chai, and pakoras to me. It symbolizes an unbreakable bond and reminds me of a defiant act of love. The raindrops are now a symphony of liberation, echoing the heartbeat of those who dared to challenge outdated customs. Each falling raindrop whips up a whirlwind of memories from that monsoon night. “As dusk approached, the relentless rainfall reflected my deep-seated solitude. Each droplet's incessant patter against the ground mirrored the loneliness that enveloped me. Rain droplets dripped through the straw-thatched roof, mimicking tears that streamed down my cheeks. The monsoon, with its brooding clouds and drenched surroundings, added to my emotional turmoil. The musky petrichor mingled with the enticing aroma of chai brewing and pakoras frying in the kitchen — a sensory symphony that usually infused vibrancy into my rustic Indian village, seemed hollow. Our home, usually filled with cheerful exchanges between women over steaming cups of tea, was eerily silent. As darkness fell, I, Anaya, sat alone on the veranda. It was my eldest brother’s wedding. All the men in our family had left to attend the baraat. Our rural Indian culture wouldn’t permit women to attend such ceremonies. That enforced elimination intensified my sense of loss. The feeble lantern's glow stirred shadows on the mud walls, deepening the spooky calm. I watched rain blanket the fields. My tears kept pace with the rain, creating a mute chorus of yearning. Miles away, my brother stood under the wedding marquee, his ceremonial turban making him resemble a prince from the stories we'd grown up reading. The rhythmic rain on the wedding tent triggered his memories of monsoon frolics. His fingers twitched, a telltale sign of his inner turmoil. His mind raced back to our childhood delight of crafting paper boats and watching them sail on rain-swollen roads. He hummed a nostalgic tune. ‘Mujhko lauta do bachpan ka sawan, 
Wo kagaz ki kashti, wo barish ka pani.’ His joy was incomplete. A cherished face was missing. ‘Celebration without her?’ He thought. Sadness hit him like thunderbolts. Suddenly, the door creaked open, breaking my melancholy reverie. A drenched figure I knew well, stood at the doorway, a sight so astonishing, it seemed unreal. ‘Is this a dream?’ I mumbled. ‘Not a dream, silly,’ he replied. His faint voice held the warmth I yearned for. ‘B-But your wedding?’ I stammered, bewildered. He shrugged, a familiar grin on his face. ‘A wedding should be joyous, Anaya. It's incomplete without my little sister.’ His unexpected arrival filled the void in my heart, providing solace no cup of chai could.  That night, the monsoon bore witness to my brother’s act of cultural defiance. He'd chosen to defy tradition for the sake of sisterly love, adding an unforgettable and unique chapter to our shared narrative. The rain, which shared our loneliness, celebrated our bond. Under the glow of the monsoon rain, with me by his side, my brother married his radiant bride.” ____ Note:- To quote the poignant words of Jagjit Singh’s song in the above story. Here’s the meaning. "Take away this wealth, take away this fame, snatch away my youth if you must. But return to me the monsoon of my childhood, my paper boat, and the rainwater in which it sailed." Glossary:  Baraat - A wedding procession   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!