A Foolish Rain Drop
A Foolish Rain Drop
A raindrop, a foolish raindrop, a foolish raindrop dangling one in innumerable others, in the middle of its struggle to meet its destiny – to kiss the surface of the earth and become one with it. The life story of that one in innumerable raindrops - Breaking bondage from its fleecy cloud, pulling its wrist away with dramatic music of thunder playing in the background leaving its home for some farfetched dream it dives downward, shining with the reflection of life around hiding inside it the truth of this world, miseries of its creatures, story of their struggle to understand whether their life is a gift or punishment on the way to meet their inevitable end struggling all the while. All this in its way to meet its only destiny and end, together.
Chatter and clatter created by memories clashing with the people who created them flooded the house. Mother was in the kitchen, just to let you know there was no change in her routine, there was a change in her attitude though, cooking was once again a delight to her rather than a chore. This delight of hers echoed in her voice which traveled even to hidden corners of the house shouting to different people with different appetites and choices. As far as my father was considered, we called him Baba, not even the slightest constitute of her delight reached him. He had grown accustomed to facing every situation with the same facial expression ‘Despair’. Other than the four of us - my two sisters, brother, and me who chattered and their kids who clattered there were few more people in the house, who would be joining the list of antiques soon. One was my grandmother who could no more roam around the house finding fault in everyone’s life. She has to shout from her chair near the veranda or her bed in the other room, she would take a break after every shout may be to accumulate enough energy for another one or to chant some verse from our sacred text like Gods are shown in television programs – Ramayana and Mahabharata before shooting an arrow towards the enemy so that her words reach their full potential. She was the grumpy one, also claims to be counting her last breath for many years. Her temperament was balanced by her better half, our grandfather who gave love and relationship advice to everyone but never allowed love marriage in the house, nonetheless he was the merriest of all, nothing could worry him – yes, not even grandmother. They were the opposite of each other in every aspect, even in appearance. The beautiful face of the grandmother looked crooked without a smile, the crooked face of grandfather looked angelic with a smile. Such is the nature of smiles, making the devil look angelic is their best marketing strategy. All the elders of the house were in delight to be together once again no matter it was because of a world pandemic – the mighty Corona, while us – their younger generation were just struggling to pass through one more phase of life. Such is the nature of humans, to struggle, even if get a ladder to heaven we would struggle to go past it.
Sitting on the boundary of the balcony sight of my eyes were captured by the falling of a drop like taking a shot in slow motion, I grew melancholic seeing its end. The aroma of ginger and cardamom from tea filled my nostrils reminding me of its presence. Tea seems to be a perfect companion for a feeling of melancholy, making you think about your own end. I was once again in-between of all the people from whom I ran away years ago to find perfect life with ideal situations and people. I ran away from them and the imperfection of their life. I was 12 years old when I first saw how relationships are formed, the event was the marriage of my elder sister Mira. I saw her crying for so many times that I got sick of hustle and bustle, songs and colors I was so excited about before. I just wanted to pull her away and hide her in the lush branches of the guava tree stood behind our house where we would once again be dangling our feet carelessly and eat guava without the fear of being seen or offending someone for just a simple act of practicing free will. But words of father rang in our ears – ‘Don’t forget we are from girl’s side, don’t create any trouble and you are the girl, don’t be a trouble’ and fear of his actions in our imagination so there was not much I could do other than consoling her with as much false hope as any 12-year boy could. By the 2nd event, I learned how dreams of others can break your dreams and change the course of your destiny. Neeraj was 10 years older than me. He was good at disappointing the decision-maker (beloved father) of the house with his academic failures and bad at impressing him about his sharp business mindedness. After passing metrics he wanted to open a small garment business with the money he saved from working part-time on a cloth shop, he worked out everything except how to get approval from father, silly he. He even offered me a part-time job in return for real money rather than doing some other chore of mine, that’s how my siblings worked for each other, returning a chore for the chore. Obvious happened, his wish was denied because he didn’t possess the qualities father wanted him to. He was made to join father’s watches shop, I am not sure how many times irony laughed at this, a man who sold watches but never understood time. Few years past that, when I was climbed the 16th stairs of my age, Charu, the youngest of four was 13 years old. At the age of 13, she was far more useful and sensible than I was, she did half of the work my mother used to do.
At that stage of life, every aspect of life around the house seems to strangle me. None of the people seemed right enough to confide in, but just a thought. A thought against the whole family, that’s how foolish and complicated a teenager can be. The only breath of relief came from the thought of running from all this in the search of an ideal life which would be celebrated, envied, dreamed and, loathed by others at some point in time. Money pouring, fame slathered life highlighted by blood boiling sacrificial love story, yes that’s what I wanted and thought I could achieve when I was 16.
When I scored enough marks to get admission in government college for Pharma in another city 600 miles away from home no one tried to stop me other than my mother. Father had neither money to get me into a private college nor a place for me in his shop. For a change, he seemed happy after a long - long time, no don’t you dare think it was because of me. He was happy in demanding all the things from Neeraj’s in-laws what Mira’s demanded from us and after all he was from the groom’s side. I left, with a tiny bag of clothes and a huge one with mother’s cooked snacks, promising myself to help Charu and mother. And I did, I stood with Charu when she didn’t want to marry someone 7 years older to her in age and 20 years in thought process, I sat with mother in the hospital for days when uncle, her only brother had a kidney transplant out of his drinking habits and father refused to help him claiming there is no place for losers in his family, irony again. But, all the while I was helping them I considered myself above them even though my life was going downwards, all because of a stubborn thought – ‘I know what life is.’
Life drifts fast when you have a lot to figure out. Three main attributes of college life - aspirations for future, mass carelessness and friends who seemed more personal than blood relations made life ahead seem like a fluffy pillow. When that phase was about to end every teacher warned us about the real world, we made fun of it judging them to be losers in life later we were losers in front of life and it laughed in our faces. Most of the relations which seemed more personal then family broke its ties, only a few remained which are still with me and I am with them. From immature infatuation that I never expressed to my crush, I understood how love really feels when I fell in love with a colleague. For me, love proved to me be a coin that kept its side flipping at me the moment I thought I have it. When it ended it felt like someone trying to hammer my heart to pieces when it wanted to keep beating for one more time, one last time. To climb every step of success life demanded courage, money, sacrifice, corruption. I made progress but not like what I dreamed of.
Nothing in life seemed ideal, every aspect of life was imperfect to what I wanted. The weight of worldly created reality crushed my individual imagination.
I married without love hoping it would come afterward but then again, I learned I had to hold it by hand assuring it everything is going to be fine. Easy promises are hard to keep. Now, I am twice the age I was when I left this home surrounded by the same people I ran away from but I don’t want to escape this time. Nothing is perfect, no one is ideal I understood that. Is to build a temple of the family is life all about? Are love and sacrifice its sacred entities? Are the moments we find peace in the moments when life has taken its enough share of throwing its tantrums of hardships and says – ‘go-ahead catch a breath.’? Maybe it is, it is about the moments with family no matter how imperfect or non-ideal –a smile on your mother’s face when you praise her cooking, a stolen kiss from your lover, the party of the first salary (costs more than salary), the first cry of your children…………………..
Starting from home only to return to it, like a drop of rain after meeting its destiny returns to the sky, to cloud to repeat the circle of life once again. A raindrop holds the essence of life.