Rain Dance

I

aay bristi jhepe, dhan debo mepe, dhaner bhitor poka, jamai beta boka” (come rain full speed, will give you measured paddy, but the paddy has pests, jamai raja is a fool) Tinni was uttering the Bengali limerick and dancing with joy in the rain.

Tinni, come in immediately...” scolded Bishaka.

No! Not now, so early” grinned Tinni waving one of her little hands with her other hand on waist.

Come in quickly I am telling you...Silly girl you’ll catch cold” shouted Bishaka getting worried.

He! He! He! How can I catch cold when I cannot even catch the rain...see ma” chuckled Tinni trying to grasp the rain drops with her tiny fingers.

Bishaka smiled secretly and she covered her head with her sari holding it tightly with one hand and jumped into the courtyard to catch hold of frail Tinni and picked her up and ran back to shade. 
Tinni protested “No, ma please let me play with rain ...please” she struggled to get out of Bishaka’s clutches.
Bishaka quickly took the towel from the rope hung for drying clothes during rainy times like these and started rubbing Tinni’s head vigorously.

Come on take off your frock..Tinni quickly. Don’t be in these wet clothes” instructed Bishaka.

Achoooo!” Tinni sneezed loud.

Go dance more in rain ....See the result of not listening to me, now doctor uncle will come and prick you with this big injection” Bishaka gestured an arm long injection.

Umm... I am not afraid of injections” Tinni made a face.


Bishaka was amazed by the intrepidity of her little daughter at times.



II

As Tinni grew up and her love for rains multiplied several times, especially the unscheduled rains in winter. For Tinni rains generally meant sitting indoors and listening to Bhaiyya, Tinni’s elder brother, singing her favourite Rabindra Sangeet songs related to rain or the Raga Gaud Malhar or the other Malhars in his deep, melodious voice. Bhaiyya, who was 12 years older to her, had tried a lot to teach her music but she was not interested at all but she loved to lose herself in his soulful singing.
Tinni would go to school compulsorily on a rainy day as she liked the school being called off for incessant rains. Also it would be one of those days when she could wade through knee-deep water with her shoes in hand. It was also those rare days when Baba wouldn’t risk break down of the car in water logged streets, so she would be allowed to return home in a bus with her friends. On one such day, when it was raining very heavily, she and her friends scrambled into a bus hurriedly and Tinni hung her dripping umbrella on the horizontal rod in front of her but due to the sudden, jerky movements of the bus, the umbrella slid along the rod. It reached above the head of a bald man who was dozing and water from the umbrella dripped on to the poor man’s head which caused him stir a bit and Tinni quickly hid the umbrella. The man looked at the roof of the bus and then went back to dozing. Tinni was amused by this, her eyes twinkled and she gestured her friends to be still, the girls complied as they knew what was coming. Tinni placed the umbrella again above the bald man’s head, again it dripped and the same thing happened as earlier. The girls had tried hard to smother their laughter. Tinni loved the routine so much that she repeated it a few times. The frustrated man shifted himself to another seat thinking the roof of the bus was leaking but he met with same fate again.

What do you think you are doing?” Tinni was startled by the whisper from behind, she turned abruptly only to find a tall handsome boy with a disapproving look.

Oh! Nothing!” Tinni whispered back trying to fake a smile.

What nothing? I have seen everything. If the man catches you then...

He won’t be able to catch see he is dozing” She giggled and whispered into his ears.

Anyway stop it I don’t want my school name be tarnished

Tinni backed-off a little by the boy’s strict demeanour.

Which class?” enquired the boy raising his brows.

Class IX! You?” Tinni hesitated.

Class XII, I am Amlan Basu

You are Amlan Basu!” Tinni’s large eyes grew larger with disbelief. Amlan was the most popular candidate for the post of next School Captain. Everyone in their school knew him by name.

Yes I am Amlan! And you are?


“Me!” shrieked Tinni “Bidisha Chatterjee!”

After a few moments of uneasy silence Tinni turned to Amlan and asked with an innocent smile “You like rain?

No!” replied a stern Amlan.

III 


It was raining cats and dogs for about an hour accompanied by lashing winds and loud thunder along with furious lightning. Tinni and Amlan were standing under the shade of a dilapidated shop; both were drenched till waist because the shade barely shielded them from the onslaught of the rain.

Don’t worry we’ll get something” Amlan reassured Tinni.

I know I am thinking how will you get back? It’s quite late already and the rain is not showing any signs of receding plus this load-shedding” replied a concerned Tinni.

Hey you love rains right, what happened now? Afraid?” mocked Amlan.

Yeah I love rains but now it’s not about me

Come on Tinni! Don’t be silly, I can manage

A bright lightning flashed which was followed by a loud clap of thunder. Amlan jumped and held Tinni tightly.

Tinni laughed “Yes you can manage, I can see that!

Amlan withdrew himself a little bit and let Tinni go. Just then Amlan saw an empty cycle rickshaw coming.

He yelled “Ooo! Rickshaw! Will you go to Nagpara Ration Shop?

The rickshaw puller refused and cycled past them.

Another cycle rickshaw was coming from opposite direction.

Amlan gestured him to stop “Stop! Stop! Nagpara Ration Shop?

Yes Babu I’ll go but you will have to give twenty rupees extra” replied the rickshaw puller stopping his rickshaw.

Twenty rupees! Why? Take ten extra...” retorted Tinni.

No Didi! Give twenty extra or I am going

Ok! Ok! Take twenty, Tinni get in quickly... careful! Watch!” hurried Amlan closing his umbrella and guiding Tinni onto Rickshaw.


Once in rickshaw with a plastic curtain covering them from rain and the world, Amlan got cosy. He wrapped his arm around Tinni. She looked into eyes of Amlan with a questioning smile. Amlan came closer, Tinni’s heart was pounding but she felt nice as she was melting in Amlan’s arms, she closed her eyes. Their lips met and a shockwave rippled through Tinni’s body and she trembled in every limb. Her lips parted slowly in a bid to get more of Amlan’s lips. Just then a glaring headlight of a car coming from the opposite lit up the entire rickshaw and Tinni withdrew hastily. She was quivering. Amlan smiled impishly and held Tinni’s hands firmly. He looked intently into Tinni’s eyes and said “Let’s get married”.

IV

The dark cumulous clouds had filled up the sky, covering the dazzling afternoon sun. The heavily pregnant clouds were ready to burst any moment. Tinni looked out of the window and called for Mokhoda “Pisi, go quickly and get the clothes from the terrace, see rains may start pouring any moment.

What has happened to this world never heard of rains in November?” Mokhoda replied grumpily wiping her hands onto her sari.

Unscheduled rains happen at times, I have seen it many times in my childhood, don’t you remember?

At this age I remember nothing. Now why are getting up? Tell me I’ll do it…”

Just open the window a bit more so that I can see the world outside bit more clearly.”

Mokhoda was widowed at a very young age, her mother used to work at Chatterjee household. Naturally after her mother, Mokhoda had become a trusted hand for Tinni’s parents. Mokhoda had brought up Tinni and when she got married to Amlan and shifted to their swank flat, Tinni’s mother had sent in Mokhoda to help Tinni. Ever since Mokhoda was Tinni’s left, right, all hands.

Since the dreaded disease invaded Tinni’s body, she was losing all her strength and beauty, increasingly she was being confined to her bed. The radiation therapy had burned Tinni’s innards. She would cry in pain all night and Amlan would watch helplessly. The large window by the bed was her only gateway to the world outside. She would watch the sky change its colour all through the day. Beneath the sky she watched lovely skyline of her beloved city. Down below she would see assortment of vehicles plying. See could also see the play yard where young children would play like Vicky her son was playing along with his friends.

Hey How are you feeling?” Amlan broke Tinni’s reverie.

Oh! You have returned so early. Is everything fine?” Tinni replied with a surprise.

Amlan kissed on Tinni’s forehead and said “Madam, didn’t feel like working on such a day so came home rushing to be with you”. He pulled the chair sat beside the bed holding Tinni’s hand.

The window closed with a thud by the strong gale startling Amlan. “Who opened this window did not fasten the latch?”. Amlan walked to the window and closed it.

No, please leave it open, I want see the rains” pleaded Tinni.

Just then another gale of wind blew into the room blowing away some papers, the calendar on the wall fluttered and overturned; the empty steel glass on the table beside the window tumbled and fell to the floor with a clanking noise. Amlan ran to pick-up the glass and collect the papers. Tinni looked at black clouds outside and remembered something.

Tinni turned to Amlan requested “Can you put on Bhaiyya’s CD, its been a long time since I’ve listened to it”.

Amlan found the CD at the rack and played it. Bhaiyya’s soulful voice began rendering the Raga Gaud Malhar.

By now small drops of rain had started falling slowly, a sweet smell was emanating, the smell of rain touching the earth. The drops started growing bigger and the speed of the rain picked up till it reached maximum force and started pounding on the roof.

Oh God look at this silly boy” Amlan rose from the chair pointing to Vicky, the lone child dancing in rain. He rushed to balcony and yelled “Vicky! Come home immediately…crazy boy getting wet in this unscheduled rain”. 

Vicky looked up at his father but ignored him and kept dancing.

Vicky! I am warning you, I’ll come down and that’ll not be good for you” scolded Amlan.

Tinni raised her hand as a tear drop rolled down her cheek “Amlan don’t stop him please, let him dance in the rain, let him love the rain”.



Images from: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=539912&page=134

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A post by Dhiman who blogs at Chronicles of a Techie

comment 4 comments:

Paritosh on July 20, 2010 at 2:09 PM said...

Awesome!! Dhiman, you have become a master story teller.

Dhiman on July 20, 2010 at 3:08 PM said...

@Thanks Paritosh :D

Dreamer on July 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM said...

Beautiful prose. You've brought out the beauty of the rains and linked it to Tinni's life story. Great imagery too.

Dhiman on July 23, 2010 at 6:55 PM said...

@Dreamer Thanks ! Yes we are mostly afraid of rain but it can really be beautiful too....

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