Wednesday, July 05, 2006


All day it had been furiously hot. Now, dark clouds were heaped ominously on the horizon. A strong wind was blowing and the clouds growled deeply. Lightning flashed strong as daylight. Naresh opened his windows to let in the heady scent of the thunder-storm, due to begin any minute now. The ground seemed to tremble in the heat waiting for the first kiss from the rain. The trees threw their branches wildly every which way.. thoroughly out of control. Naresh thought it was a love dance, the movements both ecstatic and impatient for the ultimate union of the earth and the skies. The call of the clouds had awakened a sweet nostalgia in his heart. Plop plop came the heavy drops with a vengeance. The strong smell from the just wet asphalt filled his nostrils.

Naresh's mind slipped away to an evening not so long ago.. He and Preeti had gone to sit by the Ganges when the Kalboishakhi, a storm of notorious fury in the West Bengal, had suddenly ambushed them. The skies had been aglow with a brilliant yellow gray light and the thickly dust-laden winds had blown by them savagely. The two had been overwhelmed by the drama coming to life all around them. Other bystanders, the food peddlars, the boatsmen all ran for shelter. Naresh and Preeti had remained where they were, unwilling to break the spell of those moments. Rain was like a divine retribution to the passions burning in their soul. They had walked hand in hand by the roaring Ganges oblivious to everything but themselves and the rain...

Naresh lay down on his bed allowing himself to be lulled into drowsiness by the steadily beating rainfall. He tried to fill his mind with the sounds and smell of rain. .

A different picture rose in vivid details before his eyes. This picture was from many years ago. The Kalboisakhi was once more ranting away like a demon unleashed. Naresh then barely 13, had stood on their open terrace. His mother was busy gathering the clothes that had been hung out to dry on ropes tied across two poles. She was calling out to him to get back into the house. How much longer till the rain.. Naresh had waited impatiently as his hair and clothes started to get splattered by the winds.. then came the sharp sting from the fast falling rains. With the touch of the rains something crazy had clicked in his brain. Screaming with excitement he had rushed to join the boys who played football in the slippery mud of the open grounds by the railway lines; nothwithstanding his mother's severest remonstrances.

A movement caught Naresh's eye. Something fell from the tree to the ground. Before he could investigate further however Naresh got severely distracted as a wonderful aroma of food assaulted his senses. He turned to find as Preeti come in with both their dinners in two plates piled with steaming hot khichuri, beguni and dim bhaja - a traditional cuisine on rainy days in Bengal...

What had fallen was the little red Robin's nest from the tree where it lived whoes wild dance Naresh had been admiring. For a fleeting moment, I wondered at the cruelty of fate.. then forgot.