One Rainy Day

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…..

Just Another Morning

The following post is an old entry from my 2008 diary. Life was so painful back then.

Note: All people, places and incidents mentioned and described are factual. Any resemblance to any person living and reading this is deliberate.

Time & Date: 11:30 AM 05th May 2008
Venue: HSR Layout, Bangalore.

I yawn in my bed, my roommate sprawled on his bed at four arms length. I pick up my cell phone and look at the time, darn time doesn’t run when I want it to. The dim screen of my broken cell phone rudely gestures 8:00. I pull the blanket over myself and try to sleep. My legs protrude out; as if I were 8 feet tall. I curl up my legs and try to sleep again. The fan stops making any noise all of a sudden reminding me that it’s 8:00. I pray in vain, in silent tears that there would be a miracle and the fan would make its familiar 40 dB of whirring, but alas, it’s never happened before. I turn around in my bed, being careful not to fall down. The width of my bed restricts me from performing any other act on it other then perhaps rigidly sleeping out the night. My roommate grumbles in his sleep, “Put on the fan, you ******”. I perform a Kumbhakaran act, with snores to prove I’m fast asleep for the next 30 years… He rolls over and almost falls off. Realizing what just happened, he stands up straight, fully awake – wide eyed, makes sure I dint see him in his gymnastic act and goes back to the comfort of the hard wooded no pillow bed.

Living in the basement of a posh HSR villa doesn’t revoke your destiny to something more meaningful. I get up tired of scrutinizing the ceiling for flaking paint and cobwebs. My morning has just begun. My hopes of having a hot water bath diminish rapidly, I lazily pick my soap, towel and clothes and walk towards the bathroom making sure to carefully navigate around my roommate’s computer kept on the floor. The bathroom happens to be on the outside of the room, and it’s difficult navigating your way amidst broken furniture, two cars and three bikes parked outside. I reach the bathroom safely, without any nails piercing my feet for the umpteenth time, mission accomplished. I smile at my skills and resourcefulness of having reached the bathroom using the broken sofa and the metal drum. The smile fades as soon as I open the broken bathroom door. Half a million mosquitoes swarm out in haste perhaps realizing a human presence breaking their deep slumber or due to the creaking noise of the hanging hinges of the door. I step into the dark, relying on my memory of the bathroom’s structure since the only exhaust window is boarded up to prevent lizards from coming in. I hang my clothes and towel on the door handle and grope around the walls towards the tap. I successfully reach the tap without running my hands and feet over any slimy creatures. Nice day today. I turn on the tap and smile knowingly. After 3 buckets of muddy water down the drain, does the water tank on top promise me some liquid that I was familiar with in Goa. Pure water without the Magnesium or Cobalt (asphalt included perhaps…) or even a gram of maybe Thorium, has become a far fetched reality for us. I look at the ceiling, even though it’s not visible in the dark, asking God “Why me??” He never answers. I silently fill the lone mug with water to the brim, hoping against hope that I don’t find another dead frog in it, and with all the courage needed to talk to my girlfriend’s father, I pour the freezing water over my shriveled body.

I quickly dry up, dusting my towel before I use it and proceed to bring in the Tiffin that supposedly carries our breakfast every morning. My roommate, with his afternoon shift another 4 hours away, sleeps idly on the rock hard pillow-less bed. Before getting my plate and spoons out, I make sure that the dreaded hasn’t happened with the non-descript breakfast yet. My hopes crash without making any noise. I grudgingly pick out the dead flies out of the ‘sambhar’, and throw them out of sight. I pray for their dead souls. They looked like a happy family to me. I write a yellow post-it slip with the familiar “Biologically Unsafe to Consume” statement and stick it on the metal container, lest my roommate in desperation attempts to devour its contents.

I slowly open the cupboard but the hinges give way and the resulting resounding thud of the door banging the floor pierces the noisy locality. My roommate jerks out of bed, rubs his eyes, looks at the cupboard door in my hand with stunned silence, and peacefully remarks “Oh… that? That came out yesterday evening. Keep it aside and don’t open the other.” I nod my head with disgraced silence and carefully rest the door next to the cupboard’s rusted sides. I then proceed to get my ironed clothes out and thank God for providing us electricity between 8.00 PM to 8.00 AM.

I open the only tiny window in the hope that sunlight will somehow flood the room. I then search for my shoes under the wooden pillow-less bed and then go on to search for my socks amidst the pile of newspapers, the computer, a cardboard box, three suitcases and two large duffel bags. I finally find them rolled up near the cardboard box that originally contained the CPU, but now acts as a storage bin for unwashed clothes. I check the time and shudder at the sight of the digits on the screen. I make my way out, remembering not to lock the door, although I don’t see how I would manage it without any knob, latch or keyholes in place.

I then begin my 45 minute journey, by bus, to office where life is, thank heavens, a billion times better!!