(Pleasant rain outside...this story just kind of sprung up in my head).
It was five in the evening and the one kilometer walk to the library was turning out to be really pleasant. It was then he felt the fat drops of water fall from the sky like these huge marbles being dropped from atop a building. He looked up, squinting his eyes and had to bring his head down the next instant. He found a shelter nearby and started to head for it.
"Hey, let me enjoy this."
His feet stopped. It had been a long time since he got drenched. The last time was when he was a small kid, returning home from school, all drenched. He'd dance and jump with glee, splash through the small puddles in the road. He always loved the rains for that and probably was the
only little Johnny who wished the rain won't go away.
Now he stood on the pavement, as amused onlookers in cars and rushing bikers looked at him. He smiled back and then turned his face to the heavens, enjoying the shower, spreading his hands, trying to take in as much as possible. And for the first time, he felt the need for his beloved to be beside him, enjoying the rain with him. Only trouble was, he didn't have a
beloved. He didn't have anybody in his life. He stood for a second mulling over that fact, as he wiped the drops of water off his face. He'd always wished he met the girl of his dreams on a rainy day like this. He ran his hands through his wavy hair and looked up again, as if reminding God about this small favor.
He had barely got down from the auto when she came running from the building.
"Auto? Bus stand?"
He looked at her. She looked at him. What kind of girl was she? Can't she see he was still sitting inside? He got down and reached for his hip pocket. He could feel the girl brushing his elbow and getting inside.
"Excuse me, I'm not done yet."
She just put her hands up, not saying anything. Some thick skin, he fumed.
He started up the stairs and started planning ahead for the day, going over his schedule once again. And then it hit him. He turned back and ran down the stairs, almost running over a short, stocky old man. He muttered an apology and tore past the front gate on to the main road.
"Shit, I didn't even note the number." And why would he, the auto guy hadn't knocked him down. Well, the girl had, almost. He held his head, thinking fast.
Please, not on a Monday, he prayed the auto would return. But it didn't.
A hand on his shoulder made him turn. Anil.
"Arre, I left my bag in the auto yaar. Stupid girl, rushed him off."
"Anything important in it? I notice you normally have only your lunch box and novel in that. And why did you take an auto today?"
"That's a long story. Now how do I locate this guy? I had my presentation CD in it. Owl's gonna kill me." Owl was...you know who.
It was as good as gone, they both decided. Both the bag and his promotion.
Later that evening. He sat at his computer, staring at the copy of the presentation. If Owl hadn't fallen sick, he would've. Saved by a rat's whiskers. He looked out the window. Dark clouds had loomed up again. He sighed at his narrow shave and nodded. His cell rang.
"Yeah?" It was an unsaved number.
"Yeah? Who's this?"
"I think I have your bag."
Oh great. Ms. rush hour.
"Yeah, it is mine. If you'd been a little patient this morning, I won't have left it in the auto. Can I come get it?" He still wondered how she got his number.
There was a beat on the other side. He raised his eyebrow. Probably he shouldn't have said that. Oh well.
She'd said Coffee day. Here he was. No sign of her though. He could not forget that face in a hurry. She'd insisted on telling him how he looked but he'd had not patience. "I'll recognize you" was all he said, hoping she'd remember him too.
He paced outside impatiently. And then he saw his bag. Inside the cafe. Ah!
But...the girl wasn't her. strange, he thought and stepped inside.
She stood up. "Gautam?"
She was a different girl. "Yeah." He felt awkward. And now he bit his tongue for having said all that to her.
" I thought..."
"Yeah, that was Asha, my sister. She'd left the bag at home and gone. I guess your novel made her pick it up. I'm sorry. I saw your CD in it and thought maybe..."
"Yeah..But it's ok. Thanks." He smiled. How did she get his number?
"I got your number from the business card in your bag."
He wondered, when he'd slipped his business card inside the bag.
They walked out a half hour later.
"Can I drop you some place?" He volunteered. That was the most he could do.
"No, it's ok I'll walk."
He looked up.
"It might rain any moment now, are you sure?"
"I love getting wet in the rain." She smiled, looking up longingly. He smiled.
"Hey, me too."
He nodded, smiling. And then it poured. They were drenched in less than a minute. But neither moved. They just looked up, enjoying it. He was actually thanking someone.