Indian monsoon is a very peculiar season. Either it is despised, or it is loved. The constant pitter-patter of rains disrupts the day-to-day living, whilst the wet but fresh air stirs the love within our soul.
My aunt, Nupur, soaked her soul in the drizzle while sipping tea in the steel cup. She is an overly ambitious and highly motivated young lady with opinions on all sorts of subjects ranging from politics, music, films and books. The previous evening saw her writing a 2500 word article articulating her thoughts on the government’s stand on the anticipated bill on economy liberation.
She took a quick shower. Threadbare dress and clichéd style did not help her hide her introvert and indecisive personality, rather exposed her self-doubting nature. She safely slipped the yellowish pages of the hand written article in the colourfully embroidered leather shoulder bag and left home. Aunt waved to me as I stood in the balcony. Her smile hid her discomfort from me
The rickshaw puller slowly but steadily creaked forward towards the Ambedkar Nagar bus terminus. Drivers and conductors in khaki coloured uniform, whistled to indicate the departure of the squeaky bus. Aunt reached the bus shed, tilted her feet and drained water out of her slippers. She clambered in the over crowded bus and managed to get a place to sit right behind the driver’s seat, pushing open the window to let in the cool breeze. The sun almost peered out of the thinning clouds. The driver switched on the engine, removed the brakes, freed the clutch and accelerated the bus forward.
My aunt took out her article planning to do a quick spelling check. It had just been a few kilometres when the breeze suddenly got angry, the bus had to fight the gusts to keep up the running pace. The yellowish papers, with words written in black ink using the fountain pen grandpa brought from Lahore, started to flutter. The driver slowed down the bus as the next stop approached. Mindful of the risk of papers getting wet, aunt shoddily tried to push the papers back in her bag, but it was too late. The papers flew off, the paper clip giving away to the wind, and the article flew off the window.
My aunt’s heart stopped for a moment as she saw the papers fall in the bus shed, just a few inches away from the big puddle. Kids were floating paper boats, screaming their hearts out as the boats raced clumsily in the muddy water. Aunt gathered her senses, tapped the driver hastily, and rushed out of the bus. Very unlike her, she nearly pushed the passengers, and jumped off the bus skipping the last step. Like all twenty two year olds, she was sprightly and agile, but scared. Running off the platform, she crossed the road without looking at the traffic on either side. A car screeched to a halt, and the newspaper boy almost fell off his bicycle. The papers were right there, lying on the ground, some upturned, surprisingly dry under the shed. She quickly counted the sheets, but two were missing. Tears welled in her eyes, as she impetuously searched for the last two sheets.
The conductor, Man Singh, came rushing to aunt, helped her on her feet, and aunt quickly ran back to the bus, leaving the girls with the papers to craft the paper boats. Trembling with fear, angst and sadness, my aunt wiped her tears. Man Singh’s few muttered words helped my aunt’s shoulders straighten, and stabilized her in the jostling bus. All kinds of thoughts gushed up in the young determined lady, as she alighted from the bus.
The news editor was eagerly waiting to read the article when my aunt handed him the papers, all 10 pages, the last two penned while picking a cup of hot tea from the canteen, conclusions of the article recalled and written by my aunt, on two green papers handed by Man Singh. As the joyous editor called for the typist and asked for a quick turnaround of the article for further editing, my aunt strode out of the room, calm, content, and confident. Uncertainties washed away by the monsoon rain. She had overcome her fears, her hesitations, her qualms, bringing out the a self-confident and poised lady smiling at herself, never to look back, as the sun fell on the rain drops bringing out the seven colors of the rainbow.