Saturday, May 07, 2011

Memories of a Rain-Drenched Mind

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 20; the twentieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

I look up at the sky. Pregnant with rain. Grey, Dark, Angry. Ravan with his ten heads. Or Kanhaiyya the Dark-one. Or Yama, God of Death Himself. I smile. Open the window to let in the Wet-Earth smell. I want to eat that mud. That musty-smelling wet-earth. Oh, when will Anuj be back? I must sit here. Wait for him. I could have had something to eat, but If I go, and if he comes just then, I would miss his arrival, n then I would get to talk to him only at night when the household sleeps. I cannot wait till then. I want to be able to rush out to him as soon as I see him at the gate. Rush out. Inspite of the rain. Into his arms. And tell him I’m pregnant. No-one but Anuj must know first. Oh agonizing hours of endless wait! Impossible. I cannot but, sit here. Now the rain falls. Plip. Plip. Plop. Plop. It falls, slowly at first. Then getting berated, n soon in a frenzy, now it pounds against the pane. It is soothing, somehow. This mad incessant rain, trying to get at me.
                                                                    ***
‘Here, Darling. See, what I brought! Your favorite sweets. Rasmalai n Gulab jamuns. Don’t u want to eat them.’ Father prattles on, while Mother dabs at her red-rimmed eyes with the end of her pallu. They come waddling in everyday. Sometimes, Father spends the night with me. Sometimes Mother. I still refuse to fall asleep. Instead, sitting by the window, I wait. They coax me, lure me away from this seat saying that Anuj stays far far away. And will take many days to come. That he is busy with his work, yet sends me these sweets to Father and Mother to give them to me. So I eat. Bite into the luscious Jamuns n let the Rasmalais leave sticky trails on my chin. Until they call the Woman in white to jab at my arm. Just a pricking jab and I drift into welcoming Blackness. Daily jabs and daily Drifts.
                                                                    ***
Today again it is a different house. It is white. Stark white. The walls are white. The windows too.  And the humming machines. Strumming. Humming. Sometimes it is the old blue and yellow house I grew up in. Sometimes the gardened, orcharded cottage I lived in as a bride. The only constant memories I have are all of rain-filled days and nights. Funny. That it should rain all year round. While I hesitated to lower my feet onto the squelchy ground, on my first visit to Anuj’s house. My red and gold sari blushing at the spots where the rain fell. While Anuj’s mother ushered me in, cooing throughout the ceremony, the rain lashed against the cars and the trees and the footwear and the paper decorations. While I lay with Anuj for the first time, legally, as his wife, trembling in the memories of our rain-filled passionate outburst the week before. Anuj’s wonder-filled eyes and then hazy-lazy lusty eyes. How I remember all those details so clearly!?! Of the week before and of that night. Both. When the raindrops glistened on my belly, toes, fingers, nose. How Anuj licked away each one. The steam that arose from our bodies that night and the next and the next and the next. But to have come to these lonely nights, Oh!
                                                                    ***
Father shakes his head. Another man has come a-visiting now. With his mouth smelling of tetanus injections. I don’t know what that smells like. But that is all I can think of when he speaks to me. Rusty smelling tetanus injections.
‘There is no rain outside, Paromita. See? There is no rain!!!!!’, he says peering at me.
I deny and gesticulate and explain myself. How can he say there is no rain?
‘Look outside. Here. Here. Don’t you see these drops on my hand? See how my face is dripping wet. Smell. The smell. Can’t u smell the wet-earth? And my wet hair too.’
I cry.
‘Don’t tell me it isn’t raining. It is. It is.’
‘Look Paromita, read this. Read this please. And come back to us. There is no rain. Come back to us from wherever you are.’ Mother thrusts the yellowed newspaper cuttings into my clenched fists. Another rain from her eyes falls on my hands, and the pieces of paper. Folded and Refolded many times.
It seems familiar. This heading. These letters. This print. Oh Yes, Anuj had spilled his tea on a newspaper with the same heading.  Twice in a row. While his Mother admonished him, like a child, I had giggled in the corner much to his chagrin.

I read aloud. 

The Madhopur Daily.
‘Man Dies in Road Accident.
Last night, while returning home from work, Anuj Bannerjee died in a road accident. He was 25 years old and lived at Nilayan Estates, Madhopur. He is survived by his Mother and 22 years old Pregnant Wife. Anuj was driving on the dark patch of road between Madhopur and Janasgram when he was hit by an oncoming truck. Readers might recall that the Local MP, Narain Babu has been lobbying for this particular stretch to be lighted up. The ambulance reached the site only after 4 hours, during which time, Anuj slowly asphyxiated to death wedged between the window and the steering wheel. It is believed that the dark road coupled with the dangerous driving conditions due to the heavy rains yesterday is believed to have been the cause of the fateful incident.’

‘Do you remember this, Paromita? Tell us what you know.’ the man asks.
‘Of course I do.' I reply. 'Poor woman. His wife. I must go to see her. Console her perhaps. Oh Mother, see the rain has started again. I’m fed up of waiting for Anuj to come home. Before his mother smothers him, I must be the first one to tell him of this good news. Oh Mother, look, look there is the rain hammering against the window.’
In the window pane glass, I see the shimmery ghost-like reflections of Mother, Father and the Tetanus-Injections-breathed man all shaking their heads together. Father muttering '6 months. 6 long suffering months it has been since the accident and the miscarriage and yet, and yet...' He breaks down.


I turn towards the rain; Feel it caressing my face and hands, while I wait for Anuj to come home.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


Credits

31 comments:

Tan said...

sad story :(

Siddhesh 'Ravan' Kabe said...

Very sad....hmmmm

Shilpa Nair said...

My Speciality? Disgust, Horror, Sorrow :) :)...Thanks for stopping by :)

Jyoti Sharma said...

I can see it, hear it, feel it...gives chills..very nicely put...

Shilpa Nair said...

Thanks Jyoti :) :)

Leo said...

Beautiful. The rain, from her point of view, it could be seen so clearly! I enjoyed your narration again, Shilpa!

My Blogaton Entry

Enchanta said...

What a strange, strange co-incidence?!!! :O

I say it shows that we think on the same lines. And that is very interesting indeed.

You bottled the story beautifully. And I completely comprehend the feelings you wove for obvious reasons!

Someone is Special said...

Her wait is forever... touching sad story.. Shilpa you rock.. awesome awesome awesome..

You rock girl.. Good luck for BAT....and ~ the pic became our.. the home became our... ~

and vote for your favorite entries here

Someone is Special

The Fool said...

I seem to remember leaving a comment here. Didn't I?

Shilpa Nair said...

@ TF - No U didn't....Even I wondered because usually u r the first one to read all the posts.....I thought maybe u hadn't read it till now :(

Shilpa Nair said...

Thank You - Tan, Siddhesh, Leo, Enchanta, SIS :)
All the times that u keep coming back here, I send u away with sad, dark nonsense :)

Enchanta said...

That does not send us away. That keeps us coming back for more! ;)

The Fool said...

Maybe it did not get submitted. Nice narrative. But sad one as usual. You have a penchant for sad stories with female protagonists. And not surprisingly one of my non Blog-a-ton stories you commented on was Her Name is Red, which is a sad one with a female protagonist.

Sadiya Merchant said...

i mus tell u dis!
d last tym i came here, i was like reallyyyy reallyyy horrified.

so dis tym wen i saw ur post, d frst reaction was reluctance to read it, cos i expected it to b sumthin disturbin fr sure!

andddd u din lemme down on dat. :D

wat i wud like to add tho is, both stories i thot were exceptionally arty!
d noooooo-eww feelin aside, it had extreme neatness n clarity :)

D2 said...

Sad and dark, maybe. But definitely not nonsense! This was fabulous. The poor wife was traumatized and hasn't recovered for six months! The weird part is that such things actually do happen in the rarest of occasions.
Amazing story.

UmaAnandane said...

a sad story

Shilpa Nair said...

@TF and Sadiya - Eews, Owwss, n Noooos are exactly the feelings I want to generate in you guys :) There is a lot of humorous, clean stuff being written, but I guess, if I have evoked the exact reactions I wanted to, in u, then I will accept ur compliments on my writing style :) Thank u so much for reading, even if u r sitting with an onion n a rosary thru' this :) :) :)

@ TF - Yep, somehow I'm drawn to these. But of course I hope my readers are not thinking that I'm some morose, gloomy, wailing woman in black. Hahaha.....I'm actually the opposite in real life.....

@Uma - Yes it is....n therefore I have put it under the 'Sad' label already :)

Hafsah said...

sad and heartbreaking! but tell you what, it wouldn't have bin so amazing if it wasn't meant to be dis way. everything goes smoothly and then all of a sudden life takes an unexpected turn that leaves us searching for our destination forever. unfortunate reality for some people :(
Best of luck for the contest! loved your post

Shilpa Nair said...

@Hafsah - Life with all its turns :( Appreciating your positive feedback.....I could not have thought of another ending too :)

Shilpa Nair said...

@Leo, Enchanta n SIS - I absolutely hang on to every review u give me ;)

monty said...

hey twas a good read...but when i read the first line itself i knew there was something sad coming up...hehehe...:)...ppl tell me also that i always write about sad and depressing stuff...but i find so much happiness in putting down such dark feelings on paper..(oops...on my blog)...anyways fabulously written!!

musingbymoonlight.com said...

Lovely writing style. A sad but fine story. You had me engaged right from the begining. Bravo! Nicely done for your Blag-a-Ton entry, Shilpa.

JamieDedes

Shilpa Nair said...

Musing by Moonlight - Awww....Thank You !!

the critics said...

as usual a wonderful story by u... i enjoy reading ur posts though i am getting used with ur twists the use of words at certain places are impeccable i love the style...cheers

Shilpa Nair said...

@TC - Awww, that feels so good to read all ur appreciation :)

Someone is Special said...

Congrats Shilpa Nair for winning BAT BRONZE this time too.. you rock girl..

Someone is Special

Leo said...

Congrats for the Bronze again :)

Shilpa Nair said...

Hi SIS and Leo - Thanks and Congratulations to you first :)I'm happier to have made acquaintance with all you guys out here more than winning :)

viva_andya said...

fantastic story...loved to read it...the pick of story is apt depiction of d main character & her life.....read many such kinda stories..but this one stands out fr its simplicity

Randomness said...

I loved your story...your portrayal of both the sadness and the madness are very good.

Shilpa Nair said...

@Viva and Randomness - am glad u liked this :) I will be stopping by ur sites soon !