Last Friday, I was in a bus going back to Mumbai. I fell asleep around the time the bus left Pune and woke up when it halted at Lonavala. It was dark and through the stained glass of my window, I could see glistening windcheaters huddle around food stalls and canteens for cups of coffee. In that nocturnal morass, small swirls of steam climbed up from plastic cups to nothingness and gave up on the way.
One man held a cup and looked about for a dry place to stand. But, understandably, this was rather difficult, because what was not wet was damp. And damp is worse than wet if you’re thinking of eating or drinking anything. He stood in the centre and looked about in the drizzle. To the right of him was a wide, dripping beam, and to his left was a place with wet chairs and tables. He walked to the beam and stood under it. Then he looked up to the sky and was reassured that he’d made the right choice.
There was a broken streetlamp next to where he was standing. I loved the way rain looked in that kind of light. Mountain mist had spliced its delicious secrets and it fell away in silvery splinters.
I wondered if every drop of rain stood for every person I’ve known in my life. If I chose to stand under the beam, I’d meet a different set of raindrops. If I went to sit on the chair, then a different set of people would get splattered on my limbs.
And thinking this, I opened my window a little bit. Some of these misty sprays fuzzed in and wet my eyelids and brow. Some others dampened my hair and earlobes. This drop of rain on my thumb was the friend who made me attend my very first mass in college. Her name meant blessings of the moon in Persian.
This other drop that got swept away by the wind when it was headed towards me could be the English teacher I missed learning from.
This drop on my lashes stood for my friend who had unknowingly wrenched my heart.
This drop on my temple was the lover who’d betrayed my trust.
On the other side, a different lamplight illumined a different set of misty showers. What if I were standing there? I could have met friends who never hurt me or lovers who didn’t stray, or people who wrote music or seasons that went my way.
But my set of rain drops played around eagerly in the wind, and some of them got in, while others hit the pane and died. This was pretty too- my share of rain. I forgave the erring friend and cheating lover as they rolled down my cheek, and opened the window a little more.
A rather cheeky drop of rain whizzed in the wind and landed on my lips.
It was time to leave.