I wrote this a year ago.. still fresh in my memories..
Everybody loves the rain. I hate it more than god would allow me to. People also love to celebrate their birthdays with lavish parties and expensive drinks and gifts. I hate the day I was born. I didn’t always hate the falling drops nor birthdays. I was a normal guy, am still now, but people don’t think so.
Traveling to work in a rickety old scooter that my father had bought on his 10th Marriage Anniversary, can be a nightmare, especially when you are working in Mumbai and its pouring outside. To add salt to the injury, my father is an optimistic and refuses to accept the fact that the scooter has all the qualifications to be called a fossil. I hate traveling by the bus. You never know a bus, carrying half the population of China, may go down the several flyovers in the city. My financial capabilities limit my rickshaw travel and the only other notion is to walk and walking 6 and a half kilometers early in the morning is not my cup of tea. Not wanting to hurt my fathers spiritual sentiments attached with the antique, I still half ride, half walk to office.
My job is a pretty plain one. Not that I’m complaining; its not what you would expect a First Class with Hons. Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer to do, but yes I love my job. Mr. Ranaut, my boss, a moron by character, comes to my cabin everyday in the morning, throws 6 or 7 files on my desk and leaves without any logical explanation. My self esteem starts draining everyday at 9 in the morning, until the angel appears. Soft spoken and always in black she comes in exactly 6 minutes after he has left. Sabrina, or more specifically Miss Sabrina, is the love of my life. Trapped under the clutches of the ill-tempered Ranaut, she is his personal secretary. She is the only other person on this planet, after my father of course, who loves my scooter. My apprehensions abound. I can’t make out whether she is sympathisizing with me or likes to pull my leg. Whatever the case, she is one reason why I still work in hell. She comes, we clean up the mess that the devil just made and she promises me for coffee at 1:00 and scampers away. I finish all the files well before 1 and the entire day I act busy, just to avoid his Highness. Sabrina and me have lunch and then she comes and goes every fifteen minutes or so into my cabin till 7:00 and then the boss drops her home and I try starting my scooter till 8:00 and by the time I reach home, I forget what time it is.
Sabrina and I have been working together for over a year now. I never had the courage to tell her that I love her more than anything that could have ever existed. Thought it would ruin our friendship, but hey, they always say, no pain no gain. Many a times I gathered enough courage to stand in front of her, look into her deep black eyes and tell her “I Love…” and then my confidence would buckle under the weight of consequences and I would end up saying something stupid like “I Love… to play football, why don’t you join me?” She would always laugh; I would give anything to see her million dollar smile. She always concluded the interaction by saying “Grow up Ranvir!”. And something told me deep inside that she loved me…..
Sabrina didn’t have a father. Her maternal uncle was everything to her. Mr. Dias had died when Sabrina was doing her final year in Commerce. She was the only daughter in the family and Mrs. Dias had succumbed to childbirth. She wasn’t rich but yes, she could have bought 10 of my scooters this afternoon itself! Sabrina had invited me several times to her house, but I never had the time, it was an excuse that my sub conscious mind would definitely be happy to give. In fact I did not have the courage to go to her house and meet her uncle. I knew where she stayed though, precise directions and a road map; she had taken an entire afternoon explaining me the shortest way from my house and from the office.
It was a Thursday, and as usual I was in my cabin working under files and papers. Sabrina came around just to make sure I was still breathing and ran her fingers through my hair. She informed me that Ranaut was leaving and she had to go along, he had to discuss some points for tomorrows meeting with her. It was the usual reason that he gave her and which she gave me. I saw them leave and then 10 minutes later I left. The clouds had gathered overhead and I knew it would pour any minute now.
I reached Delnaz Lane, on the way to my house when it started raining. I parked (threw would be a better word) my scooter next to a flower shop and knew only god would be able to start it now. I had never stopped here in my life and I knew this place was special because Sabrina’s violin classes were on the second floor of the yellow building right in front of me. I still had the map in my pocket; intuition told me to have a look. My heart started beating faster, if my sense of geography was correct, I was standing just two blocks away from Sabrina’s house!! The man in me finally wanting to run and embrace her. The adrenalin rush was just too much to handle, my legs started carrying me towards her house. It was 9 in my watch.
She lived on the ground floor of Diaspora Apartments, a pink building that rose 5 storey high. I reached the front door, the sign unmistakably reading Mr. Denver Gonzalez, her uncle. It was pouring more heavily now. I gathered all the strength in me, this was the point of no return, I gave the bell a solid ring. Felt sick in the stomach, wanted to run, but vanishing courage gave a final push and I rang the bell again. No response. I rang the bell again. Still no response. The suspense was unnerving. It was 9.10, she never slept this early, never. Where was she?? My heart skipped a beat, unfaithful thoughts coming to my head, she was last seen with the jackal and he never made his intentions clear. The clouds were clearing and I assumed she was out on dinner with her uncle. I left.
I reached home at 11.00 in the night, clothes shoddily wet and scooter in hand. I couldn’t sleep that night. For the first time in my life I had gathered enough courage to walk up to her house and ring the bell and she wasn’t there to open it. I cursed my luck.
The phone rang in the morning, when I was leaving. They asked for me, Sabrina had met with an accident, a bus had rammed into her the previous night, she was on a respirator and had lost lot of blood. They said every second she was growing weaker and she had repeatedly called out his name the previous night. They had found his number in her diary. I stood transfixed. My mom shook me out of stupor and I gathered my senses and I ran, I ran like I have never run in my life. Tears wetting my cheeks all along. Exhausted and with burning lungs, I searched for the Intensive Care Unit.
I cursed myself for letting her go that day with Ranaut, I didn’t care if he was alive or dead. Mr. Gonzalez said she was hit by the bus when she was crossing the road after ordering flowers from the Florist at Delnaz Lane for some guy named Ranvir, it was his birthday the next day. My eyes were fixed onto her body when they lowered it down into her grave, where she would rest to eternity. She was still wearing black…..