Usha Mani



Usha Mani


Rain Drops And Memories

Rain Drops And Memories

5 mins 576 5 mins 576

Radha looked out of the window. The train was traveling fast.

The sky was very dark and the clouds were rushing as if to retrieve something they had forgotten to drag in with them.

The mountains and tiny villages vanished in the speeding moments.

She had another two hours journey.

"Aw !! What are two hours compared with the journey of my life! I have been traveling for forty years...all by myself. "

There was a weak smile on her face, as she whispered to herself.

A lady in the seat across her was immersed in a magazine. Yes..the escapades of some popular actress seem to amuse her.

Another co-traveler was an old man who was chanting something and glancing at Radha once in a while.

Radha closed the book she was reading and kept it in her bag.

It was Alexander Frater's "Chasing the Monsoon."

A very captivating book, it was the author's journey in India from Kerala to Cherrapunji, chasing the monsoon moments. Until a few years ago, Cherrapunji had received the maximum rainfall. A very thrilling book, written very well. The flow of language was great and every moment described the author's anxiety. The description of the rain from a harmless drizzle to heavy flood creating torrents was fabulous.

She had just a few more pages but she packed the book.

She wished to experience the rain now.

Rain started as a drizzle, creating patterns on the wide window of the train. It formed small rivulets. The trees swayed in the breeze and the leaves were enjoying their shower. Puddles were forming soon on the red earth. Water fell in lovely drops on the river that the train crossed and created beautiful ripples. On some roads, she could see people rushing with their umbrellas.

Radha enjoyed every moment.

"How the years have gone by!!" she thought.

Thirty-seven years ago .... she started teaching in a Primary School. She was from a very affluent family and did not have to work. But teaching was her ambition. She loved being with children and imparting knowledge.

That was where she had met ShreeKanth.

Their love for literature brought them together and they slowly realised they were in love.

There was severe opposition from her parents and brothers as Shreekanth was poor and had three sisters younger to him and parents to be looked after.

Opposition grew with speed and one of her brothers brought home a friend of his, from a rich family as an alliance for Radha, Radha had revolted.

Since she could do nothing, she had walked out of the house with a few of her clothes and her certificates and started teaching in a school in another city.

Conditions were such in Shreekanth's home that he could not marry her immediately.

Radha kept aloof and decided to be totally cut off from her family.

"I have no family now ", she had convinced herself. "The humans who consider wealth above relationships are not humans, " she thought.

It was raining on the day she had walked out..Similar rain. She had walked out of her home shielding herself with an umbrella not caring for the epithets that were following her.....her brothers and parents were shouting at her.

She could hear her mothers words "You will regret, Radha. Regret this act of yours and will come back."

She had smiled to herself.

Come back? She never did!

"My life seems to be having a lot to do with rains," she thought, as she gazed out.

It was raining furiously now and the train had slowed down.

"It is running an hour late, " the old man seated across, told her. She smiled..

The train did come to a halt at the destination she had reached and the rain had stopped too.

Hailing a taxi, she had a porter carry her two suitcases and got into the cab. The cab driver was a pleasant man and helped her with the suitcases.

Shanthi Nilaya...

That was the name of the old age home, she was going to.

Yes... It meant a lot to her...the name.

She wished for peace. Peace in the twilight moments of her life.

She had reached sixty. Sixty a life of penance ..with the memories of those moments she had with Ramakanth. She smiled to herself...they had not even held hands..." But the bond was strong. at least, for me." she thought.

Wonder where Shreekanth is now.....

She had seen an advertisement in the papers regarding this home and their seeking a lady who could teach the inmates music and chants and relate spiritual stories. She was adept at it. From teaching little kids to old people now..what a transition!

Emails flitted between her and the Institution and she decide to move in here. It was a safe haven. The place gave her a small home and good food. There would be no politics. No gossip.

She smiled to herself as she got off the taxi.

The taxi driver was very happy with the large amount she gave him.

As she entered Shanthi Nilaya, she was welcomed by two women and a man who were very happy to receive her.

"I love these smiling faces" Radha mused..

"Ma'am, hope your journey was good and comfortable." said Rajaram, who introduced himself as the Assistant Manager there, The two ladies helped her find a seat and ordered some hot coffee for her. They arranged for her suitcases to be placed in her small cottage.

"Some formalities have to be cleared, Ma'am and then you can meet the Manager, who will give you the official appointment." She signed a few papers.

After a lovely coffee, she was shown into the Manager's room.

She was in for a shock.

She stared at him..

It was...he was. Shreekanth.

His hair had receded. He had become thin and wiry. But that dimple on his cheek and the mole near his upper lip. ....It was Shreekanth.

He stared at her too.

"It is written Radhashree here. ..I never expected to see you. You have added a "Shree" to your name."

She just stood gazing at him.

He had not married. He had been living with memories...just as she had. Memories of happy youth.

"That Shree is for Shrikanth" she whispered in a quivering voice.

It had started raining again...

Blown by the strong breeze, the rain drops barged in...

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