Another Rainy Day...

She had finally managed to get an off day from work, after weeks of hectic round-the-clock work at the hospital. Inspite of having made plans to sleep in late, her eyes opened to the six o'clock morn. Cursing her own circadian rhythm of waking up daily at six, she sat up on her cot. An entire day with no work seemed highly appealing. Smiling to herself, she walked out of her room. The quarter wing seemed empty, with everyone still in cosy slumber.

It was still drizzling; as it had when she had gone to bed last night. The rain sprayed itself on her as she walked over to the mess. A cup of coffee and the Hindustan Times paper in hand, she got back to her room. The raindrops fell at her window sill with a clunk, a voice she loved. Sipping the hot coffee, she skimmed through the daily news. Nothing ever interested her. As always, she tossed it across the bed, and switched her laptop on. It had been almost a year since she moved into this city. Kolkata boasted of colours, vibrant culture, fabulous cuisines and rich literature. It breathed a life of its own, and it was almost impossible for her to not fall in love with it. The melancholy of the Howrah bridge and the lushness of Victoria place; she loved every bit of it. It was as though the city read her mind, toyed with her mood and made her feel overwhelmed. And it had a lot many more reasons too.

While checking her mails, she found a name flicker on her chat messenger. Her fingers reached out on their own, typing out a hello. It had been months since she had seen that name in her list of online friends. He replied back. He had known that she had shifted to his city, she found out. But how, she did not ask. He spoke of his wife and family, his work and home and friends and life as such. She told him about her new research, her endless hours of hospital duty, her new life, her husband and lot more. He sent over his wedding pics, and they spoke about married life- about the good times and bad. Two good friends were opening up to each other after a while. A long while, indeed.

The coffee had dried out, but their conversation hadn't. She remembered the endless times she had heard him go on and on about his city, his Kolkata. She had known the nooks and corners of the city, even while she had never stepped out of Madras. The best sweet shops, the oldest of Indian Coffee Houses, where Tagore and his contemporaries used to have coffee and discuss literature and art; the dingy bookshops across the markets where first edition prints were on sale, unknown to most. She knew it all. She had always dreamed of being here and today as she sat in her room in the very same city, she thought of how ironical life was.

The entire afternoon was spent in the bank, and she felt doggone tired by the time she got back. The day had been kind of funny. She felt happy after her chat, yet a part of her bled of a hollow nostalgia. She decided to not waste more time, and began to surf data for her research. She was startled by a buzz.

"Hi. How are you?"

"I am okay." she typed back, wondering why he asked her so.

"But I am not."

"What? Why?" she typed out in a flash. She did not understand him.

"Everything was fine until I saw you today- your texts, the new display picture, and the new you... Knowing you are in the same city had been hard enough. I would see you online most often, but I'd always be invisible. I never wanted to let you know. Just one general conversation, and I am shattered, Yami. I know you are married. So am I; and I know I should not be carried away. I also know that I'd be back to normal in a while. But still, I don't know why, even after such a long time, you affect me. And, that too, to such a great extent."

She felt lost. She hadn't wanted to bother him, or cause him any trouble. It had been so very long, that she never considered such a possibility to have existed. Her fingers traced over the keyboard aimlessly. A pang of regret stabbed at her. She should not have initiated the conversation, she realized. Somehow, it hurt her.

"I am so sorry. I never thought it would be this way. It has been a very long time. I just could not not say hello."

"I am not blaming you Yami. It feels wonderful to know how you are, and what is happening with you. It really does. But at the same time, a part of me is reminded of what could have been, and what could not be. I am very much happy with my wife, my family, my work and life as a whole. I know you are happy and life is smooth, with your husband. I know the long distance might be hard, but at the same time, I know you are happy together. So am I. Life is good. Yet, today as you came in, fresh as ever, I feel empty. Maybe I am not as strong as you are. Maybe I never expected it, so the shock. I don't know..."

She sat back, a lump forming in her throat. She typed back: "I understand what you mean. Just as you said, we’ll go back to being normal, in a short while. It is just a moment of nostalgia, a rewind of those memories which never blossomed. Nothing more than that. So, please cheer up, and maybe another couple of years later, we'd talk again, and then we'd feel differently...or maybe we'd feel the same...But that does not matter. What matters are the present, the daily routine and the often boring normalcy of our lives."

"Yes. You are right. I am glad I have had those memories with you. I just have one regret. I want to see you once. Once in this lifetime. And at the same time, my mind says I don't want to; I should not want to, rather. And I know, I would not, too. Well...it’s been a long conversation. I guess I'd get back to the life, which I left behind, the moment I saw you online. Take care, Yami. You are special, and always will be."

"You take care too. I am glad that we both are happy and enjoying life. At one stage, I never thought you'd be. Nor would I. But time does heal a lot of wounds. Prayers, always. Until life decides to grant us a moment like this from the past, God bless!!"

"You too Yami... Wish I were as level-headed and strong as you are. You manage to move on so well. And I am so glad you do. Hope you have a wonderful life with your husband, and I hope you both get to be together soon. Take care. "

The green dot next to his name died away. She laughed at the irony of his statements, the irony of her life. Strong and level-headed; having managed to move on with life- ah, ironical. She shut her system down, and walked over to the veranda. The rain still drizzled on. She stood for a long time watching the raindrops die away, merging with the soil.

"Yamini, what is it in the rains that hypnotize you to such an extent?" she heard someone ask. Shaken up from her reverie, she turned back to her colleague.

"I have always loved the rains. I often feel as though the droplets fall for my sake... Just for myself...As though the rainclouds delve headlong into my thoughts, and rain my thoughts away... "

"As always, I cannot comprehend what you speak Yamini. Anyway, how is the groom-hunt going on at home? Did they finally find someone, who matches all your criteria?"

“Never."

She said no further, turning back to face the rains. And the rains lashed on in a new fury, as though the clouds were indeed reading her mind. And she smiled at the irony of her life!

- (c) Sashu 07 May 2010

5 comments

Hmm interesting :)

Came here following a link from some website, didnt expect to see u here.. hehe... was an interesting read.. wish i could find the time to write like you :(

Was checking out comments at Soumya's blog.. so yours there.. the days of Ah Poetry came flashing back.. couldn't resist coming here.. and after coming.. when I read this Another rainy day.. couldn't resist to comment on it..

such an smooth flow.. always knew u had this poetic mystery.. but never knew you could pen stories so well..

Loved the way you painted kolkata.. each line i read .. felt so real.. I guess because I have always love this city and also happen to be currently in the city.. Beautiful is its everything..

Would surely keep coming here..

In case you are wondering who is this guy anyway?..

So I am Gopal .. Dead Poet.. I hope you remember me!

@ usha ma'm :)

@ shyam : thanks!

@ gopal : thank you for dropping by! :)

Well , Rains are always special , especially if you will look into Bollywood you will find many relationships shaped and broke in rains .Nice writing Sashu :)

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