Drops of pearl are hiding
Behind the blanket of cloud
The glacier of rains
Not moving but shouting aloud.
Go away, O cloud great,
Let there be sunshine,
Let the rays pierce my heart
And reach this soul of mine.
No, it would not rain soon, he thought. Is it good time to go out? He looked at his watch, probably for the tenth time this morning and it tells the same time. It was time to sit back at home and get more bored. He turned back towards the door of the verandah and leaned backwards on the railings. He took out the small linen piece to clean his spectacles, again for the tenth time probably. It was shining like gold by now. He cleaned it once more and went inside.
He turned on the TV to see if there was anything interesting. Astha Channel! Damn! There is nobody home today. He need not pretend to be watching this freaking channel anymore. He turned on the Sports Channel. WWF – yeah, the program to watch now. He liked this fat man in red and white, but could not recall his name. Whatever, he was good – he thrashed those two bulldogs the other day and it was fun to watch. Let’s see what he does today to this bear in yellow.
“साब, मैं जाऊँ?” (“Sir, may I go?”) the maid enquired. She has always been so nice to him. Always ready to serve him the way he wants. She’s probably the only person in the world who takes good care of him. Probably an ‘achhut’ (untouchable) – pretty dark, tall and exposing! She must be in her late twenties. She has all those immature gestures of that age. Probably unmarried too, but he never had the guts to ask her. These people do not clad that way too, so you cannot just tell if they are married just by looking at them.
“साब, अब मैं जाऊँ?” (“Sir, may I go now?”) the maid enquired again. Damn!
“सिउली, बेठ न थोडी देर. घर में कोई नही है. थोडी देर बय्ठ्के चली जाना.” (“Shiuli, stay for some time. There is no one in the house. Stay for some time and then go.”)
“साब, दूसरी जगह भी जाना है.” (Sir, I need to go to another place too.)
“अभी, अभी जाना है?” (“Do you need to go right now?”)
“हम्म, नही. थोडी देर बय्ठ्के जाती हूँ.” (“Hmm, no. I shall stay for some time.”)
She sat near him, alongside his easy chair. He felt anxious. She was sitting so close to him that he almost could smell her sweat. He hoped that it starts raining and never stops now.
As if you never did
Wash away the earth along
For, it’s you now, whom I need!
As long as you want to,
Don’t ask me why, now
Just that I want you.
He could easily feel that Shiuli did not take much interest in wrestling. So, he gave the remote to her and asked her to select a channel she would like to watch. She took the remote with a tiny leap, but then looked back at him as if asking permission. He smiled at her and winked. She was all smiles. Could not read much though, but she was happy getting this unexpected privilege. She browsed through the channels and finally held on to a Hindi movie channel which was showing a not-so-new movie on it. Shiuli seems to be enjoying.
He could not look at her directly, even if he wanted to. He tried to move within his chair as far as possible, but could not get a glimpse of her. He moved again and again in quick succession, but still Shiuli’s beautiful face was away from him. He could feel the togetherness and the proximity, not knowing if Shiuli was feeling the same. He did not care for that. He was trying to get as close as possible, in his own way, from within the boundary of the easy chair.
“गोविंदा मेरा सबसे मनपसंद हीरो है साबजी. आपको भी अच्छा लगता है?” (Govinda is my favorite hero, Sir. Do you like him too?”)
He came out tearing through the spell of her beauty.
“हाँ, हाँ क्यों नही. बहोत अच्छा है. और कौन अच्छा लगता है तुझको?” (“Yes, why not? Whom else do you like?”)
“गोविंदा, शाहरुख़, अमिताभ और सलमान. आपको?” (“Govinda, Shahrukh, Amitabh and Salman. And who’s your favorites?”)
“हाँ, मुझे भी.” (“Yes, I too like them.”)
It started to rain outside. It was drizzling, but now it was heavy – just what he wished for. Shiuli was getting more relaxed and friendly with him. She let go the knot in her hair and let it loose. A subtle fragrance filled the atmosphere. He could feel it – more with every breath he took. At times, she would catch hold of the leg of the easy chair and would shake it. The sudden movement would set a chilling feeling in his spine. He was very excited – a feeling of freedom and mischief was filling his mind. He was about to ask her to close the door to the verandah when she looked up at the wall clock.
“मर गयी साब! नौ बज गया. मुझे दूसरी जगह भी जाना है.” (“Oh My God Sir! It’s 9 o’clock now. I need to go to another place too.”)
“चली जाना. ये फ़िल्म तो खतम करले.” (“Finish this film and go.”)
“नही साब. मुझे अभी जाना होगा. घर में मेरा एक साल का एक बच्चा भी है. अकेला है वो. मुझे अभी जाना होगा.” (“No Sir. I need to go now. I have left my one year old kid back home. It is alone. I need to leave now.”) With these words, she stood up and started to tie her hair.
He was dumbstruck! He never saw that coming, not from any direction he could think of. He felt lost. He felt selfish. He felt weird and shitty. Ashamed! He knew not how to react. A weird feeling filled his head and the feeling moved down through the throat and chest and reached his stomach. It was almost aching! He sat straight in the easy chair, trying to relax. He was breathing heavily – almost audible. He wanted to walk up to the door and open the door by himself, but could not even stand up. His heart was sinking and he could feel it. He could utter no word.
Rain O rain,
Take a break and stop for sometime
Let her reach her goal. Then rain again!
The downpour slowed down. Shiuli left, not before reminding him of the glass of milk and his medicines. He raised his right hand as if he promised her to have those on time. She locked the door behind her and threw the key from beneath the door. He need not move towards the door. He could not. He was too ashamed to have looked at her again or to move any further. He sat there for I-don’t-know-how-long. The delicate scent of her body, hair and sweat prevailed, but he could not feel it anymore.
He stood up holding his knees. He walked up to the door to the verandah, removed the curtains and leaned on the railings. He remembered today to be another Monday morning. He ardently hated this time every week for four years, since the time he retired. It was not raining anymore, but the streets down were all wet. He looked up in despair. I am not sure, but probably he cried – for one last time!
A feeling so impure
I felt today,
I would shed tears, but then
Laugh, you may.
What would you do there?
Come down and pour on me
Drench me, soak me and clean me
O Cloud great, I pray to thee…
Cross posted at: Thus Wrote Tan!heh