Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rains again

K leans over the balcony railing, watching something. ‘There are pigeons sleeping there’, he points to the top of the balcony down below. We watch them over cigarettes and he rolls his parathas in his hand and munches them thoughtfully. A clap of thunder follows a lightening tearing the dark sky like a thin old cloth. We stub our cigarettes and sign off for the day. I go to sleep, K to his book.

I wake up at three to a steady drumming noise outside – the slash of the rain on the glass door to the balcony. I heave myself from the bed and my feet find the slippers. I pull away the curtain, and pull the sliding glass-door slightly ajar – even at this height, I can smell the wet earth below. The curtain gently billows with the wind that sneaks in through the crack. I strip naked, leave the slippers inside, and walk into the balcony. I stand holding the railing, my eyes closed against the rain.

‘Why does it rain?’, I ask Ba looking at the dark clouds as we take shelter under the tin shed.

‘To make us wet, buddhoo! What else?’, she laughs.

I feel the water rise against my ankle. I gingerly move towards the switch on the balcony light, switch it on with a short jab from the finger and look towards the drain, and find a rag blocking it. I remove it and lay it over the railing, and the water level recedes. I switch the light off, go back to the railing, and close my eyes again to the warm rivulets tracing their streams from my hair to the hollow roundness around my eyes to the mounts of my cheeks to the nape of my neck to my torso to my legs.

‘We all have our own memories of the rain’, she tells me as we watch the rains sitting on the steps of the front door, our bare feet getting wet, ‘It’s like the moon – we don’t share it with everyone like we share the sun – it speaks to each of us differently.’ She pauses and the rain drums louder on the leaves. ‘Every monsoon which comes reawakens a joy in me. But it’s always a little sadder than before.’ The rains fall harder and we pull our feet in. She hugs her shins and rests her chin on the valley of her knees. ‘I wonder why’, she whispers.

The orange glow behind my eyelids from the sudden glare of the bulb darkens to a purple and slowly blacks out.

Because it reminds us of what we’ve lost.