Sunday, February 23, 2014

During a Storm

Brows knitted together in concern, and a comb perched in her three feet long, coal black hair, Jaya was looking out through the rusted out gate, while an umbrella was protecting her from the rain. Even as she squinted it was of no use, no sign of anyone on roads, as the unusual rain, reported to have resulted because of a cyclone.

She was eagerly waiting for the arrival of her husband, Srinu, while controlling her little kids, guys, six & four, while also trying to shove away all the apprehensive thoughts that are coming into the back of her mind.
Its almost his usual time of return.

The rain is expected to become violent and turn into a full cyclone in a few hours.

-----Cling Clang KalangThump.....------

She hurried inside, as a sharp sound of something falling came from the house.

The elder was not posing any problem at all, true to what is expected of an elder son, he was more mature and silent, even at a young age, and taking his moms advice, he went to sleep, lulled by the sounds of rain splashing on the roof tiles.

The little one, also true to what is always expected of a second kid, was mischievous and unstoppable, he couldnt stay put in one place, always running around in his pichku pichku shoes, and was posing a great problem for he was trying to go out in the rain, and in the process of rummaging for his treasures felled a neatly arranged column of the cooking vessels onto the floor.

The little one's face contorted with alarm, cheeks flushed in pink, though he tried to convey a feeling of apology, it looked rather funny.

Jaya clicked her tongue impatiently but said nothing more for her mind was too occupied to give him a nice scolding; otherwise he would have gotten a nice little spank to his back.

Go to the room and sleep, she ordered.

I want to go out, please, he persisted.

Although Jaya wanted to say, No, you cant go out, this is not just a rain, it is a cyclone, She knew he was too young to understand this, so she just shook her head in a brisk horizontal way, meaning a big NO.

They were not yet rich enough to have a telephone, even if they have had one, Jaya had always problem remembering the lone telephone of the telephone office, where Srinu worked, 327380.

The evening, which usually by that time was in full sunlight, was pitch dark, for the power which would be disrupted even for a short drizzle, was understandably gone by then.

Her anxiety kept increasing as the sound of the rain crashing the tiles increased, its roar growing as the time went by.

She knew the office, should she go there herself? No the little guy would definitely tag along. Moreover she was not sure if she can go out in this darkness.

Earlier in the day after teaching for half a day in the school, the management (all the 3 teachers) thought it would be wise to stop it and get back home early, for the incessant rain is only becoming thick over time. And by the time she came home, both her kids were home, and the elder guarding the young one against his will to go into the rain, using all the authority vested in him. The rain had become a full scale storm, and nothing in the streets was visible for as mentioned before it was pitch black. There were rumours that this might lead to flooding which is not unheard of in this coastal place. People here learned to live with it.

As she was married in the South Indian wedlock way, the arranged marriage, the expressing of love /concern /worry in words was very rare. The love was always masked in the cheerful bitter comments about how she had to abandon her studies to marry Srinu.

Its already 7 in the evening, time for the second round of evening tea, and Srinu has not yet returned.

While Jaya was waiting and worrying, the little one, in his shrill babyish voice, shouted, Please let me out, my boats are waiting.

He recently learned from his brother making paper-boats, and ever since it was one of his favourite pastime, launching paper boats in the overflowing drains, a habit which he embraced till he was a teenager. He made few modifications to the classic design taught to him by his brother so that they stay stronger and stay alive some more time before succumbing to the eddies of water swirls and the falls due to height variations within the drains.

No, Pandu, you cant go out.


Cant you see its raining, youll catch cold

The little one remained silent for a while and announced, All the cows and buffaloes stay in the rain and they never catch cold.

Jaya laughed at his reasoning, which helped her leave aside her tension, if only for a teensy moment. She with a fake seriousness, said, But you are not a buffalo are you?

The little one, not knowing what to reply, asked, Where is dad? Why is he not back yet?

Jaya thought to herself, Ive the same questions, to whom small I pose them to?

Suddenly the wind became so brutish that it seemed like it was hell bent on murdering the windows, while the curtains billowed out and we're swaying vigorously as if trying to run away from their harness.

Hold on the curtains while I bolt the windows shut. They had had a very difficult time shutting them.

click here for part 2

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