THE ADVENT OF RAIN
A/N: This is a completely unconventional story – another of my experimentation. There is no definite plot, no characters, no protagonist, no dialogue, no theme, no conflict, and no nothing. This is but a delineation of a single scene. This will be overly descriptive and have no resolution, too. What the editors call an info-dump is what you will see here. I thought, well, every writer avoids it, why not I make a story with only that? And that, I did! Care to try?
The signs such as abnormal accumulation of darkness in clouds; the low tides of eddy that will lift the dump that was laid on the corners of the street, and in garbage, and precisely scatter them in the middle of the road; the thunderous claps of the clouds; an indescribably strange odour that will fill the ambience; a sudden surge in humidity; and such, adumbrates in the likely advent of a rain.
Scores of people flow recklessly in randomness like the flight of cotton in air; as a coincidence to the aforesaid metaphor, the city, in itself, has the biggest textile industry in the whole of South India, and ranks just next to Mumbai, if considered nationwide! Coimbatore, the Manchester of South India, is the place where the rain is, as those signs indicate, about to come. One funny thing about Indian English (though it is accepted worldwide as a standard) is that a lot of Indians, both the well-educated and half-boiled class, will tend to say “rain is coming,” whereas the British just use “it’s raining.”
And now, Rain Is About To Come.
The exact location where we stand now is Lawley road—named after Lord Lawley, an influential Briton in this region (when Britain ruled India), the exact denomination of whom no one knows and no one cares about—which has become Rolly road in colloquialism. Lawley became Lolly, then Rally, and now “Rolly!”—the twist of tongues, and the madness of idiolects that will make use of whatever that is easy to say, contributing to dialect (numerous idiolects makes the dialect) performs, at times, magic like this—for English is alienated to our tongues. For instance, “trouser” became “towjer,” “polydol” became “paaltoil,” and so on. That’s how our tongues roll! Why, even Coimbatore came that way! The city was named after the king Kovan as “Kovan puththur” (Puththur means ‘new city’) which slowly took forms like ‘kovanputhur,’ ‘kovanbathoor,’ ‘koyanbatoor,’ ‘koyambathoor,’ which was finally anglicized to ‘Coimbatore.’ And that, was further contracted to Kovai! Hail our tongues!
A few conscious bikers (motorbikes, is called just ‘bikes’ in India) are in haste to reach their destination before shall a single drop fall on them as if they will dissolve in rain—they are the same set of people who would flaunt that they love rain, in its absence! They all throttle to such an extent that the engine will scream out and the gears will curse them. They have all forgotten what ‘cruise’ meant by and swerve in as much as possible, potentially threatening any other vehicle that comes opposite their way. The spectators from the Lawley road bus stop see them with their faces shrunk.
Lawley road is a 4 arms junction—Thadagam road (both the sides – north and south), Maruthamalai road (West) and Cowley Brown road. Maruthamalai road hosts Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), one of the best agricultural colleges in India. The right turn from Thadagam road (if travelled North to South) to Maruthamalai road is connected by an intermediary road which helped the vehicles avoid the traffic signal—thus it will look like a cross, when seen from above, with its eastern and southern hands connected by a diagonal. This bus stop is located in that inter-connecting road, a fairly new one, built before just a year. Opposite to the bus stop is a long stretch of yellow wall, the boundary of Forest College (different from that of TNAU,) laden with the words “STICK NO BILLS. DEFAULTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” And the same translated in Tamil below that. Yet, the wall hosts a series of wallpapers! Follow this stretch and it will take you to Government College of Technology (GCT), the second best engineering college in Coimbatore.
The age-old race between lightning and thunder continues, and, as usual, the latter loses the race, with unwanted influence on the viewer (loud sounds), like a boastful villain losing to calm-and-composed hero. There is indeed a magnitude of elegance in chaos!
One biker almost hit another biker who veers off in the last second. A Close Shave! “Veeiii!” one girl from the bus-stand openly expressed her threatened emotion. The innocent biker halts, turns back, and ejaculates some bad words at the other. The innocent one, an old man, checks his helmet and goes off feeling acrid at the other helmet-less rash biker. “Never will these people realize the importance of helmets,” he thinks. “They think helmet kills their beauty! What will they do if they happen to meet with accident?” he laments internally and goes.
The eddy intensifies, levitating the filth in circles, and continues to throwing it off like ego devouring one’s reputation. The people waiting for bus, standing in expectations, as will a person waiting for interview results, watch all the whirlpool action.
Rain is confirmed.
The cloud threatens the common masses. Time is sifting. The old and the wise tree that keeps the bus stop in partial shade sways in accordance.
There! There comes down a few raindrops that make a few on-lookers shudder, few others enter the den, that is, the bus stop, a few shout and run—primarily girls—as if the rain, on contact, will disband their existence, and a few others watching indifferently as it pour. A very few drops, and it stops. A few sigh, a few feel relieved; and somewhere in some random village, a few farmers worry.
Some precautionary people continue to run; continue to ride bikes amok. A random middle-aged man wonders the fact that whoever and wherever he sees, there was always hurry, hurry, hurry! Nobody would want the world to spin slowly. All want an extra hour! Give them 25, they would ask for 26 hours! Ever insatiable, ever rushing! It is always hurry, hurry, hurry... hurry for office, for eating, for sleeping, for waking, for speaking, and so on, for dying, too! He concludes that the world will not approve of those who do things slowly.
Isn’t nature clumsy? Nature is the only thing that can convert a completely organized structure (crystalline, in technical jargon) like solid structures into non-organized (amorphous) one like gases, free radicals. That is proved right again, that the very few drops have made the entire scene a bedlam.
After a few minutes, the clouds roar again. And now, the actual show starts. Rain! Rain! Rain! Pandemonium! Increase in humidity! Somewhere, from the comfort of her home, a child sings her kindergarten rhyme “Rain, rain, go away; come again another time.”
Each raindrop descends in rather an uncontrolled fashion gaining as much speed and momentum as possible under the influence of gravity, and tries to drill through everything possible, especially the leaves that were left open by The Almighty, facing towards the sky, just like a beggar who will show his palm symbolizing his need for alms. Lo and behold! It may drill a hole upon bald heads! And like a drill bit that is lesser in hardness than the work piece material, each drop breaks into infinity. Sigh! It cannot drill anything! The tree seemed to be enjoying its serfdom and takes pains in saving the people underneath. A tree is superior to the man in 3 ways. One: it won’t hurt other trees; two: it takes in things like water and light to only levels that is sufficient, whereas the 6-sensed stacks things in excess; three: it serves its intended purpose—the purpose of its birth! Man is the only eccentric creation of God. Perhaps the provision of 6th sense is such a mistake!
A post-teenage boy, probably a GCTian, stands inclined to the post at the left corner of the bus stand, and is busily engaged in texting to his newly found love. With every reply that comes from the other side, his face brightens up. Probably they are chatting something funny? No, perhaps, not. Not necessarily! Whatever she might say will look, at this point of time—that is, during the inception of love—to the boy, sweet and jolly, which may have been making him smile continuously. Poor soul! He knows not that calls and messages are inversely proportional to the days of acquaintance. As days progress, they dwindle. If he forgets to tell her what he is doing every hour, now, it will be treated as a punishable offence and the girl would ask, “You’re bored of me, aren’t you? Who are you hitting on now?” The same offence, if committed after a few days, will go unnoticed. Moreover, should he keep on updating her—that is, if he abides ‘by the law’—it will be categorized under a fair trial called “disturbance,” to which the same punishment will be awarded. Poor the boys are, who love renegades—that is, girls who grew up traditionally, and suddenly being attracted to Modernization (!), and change their walk, dress, and speech. Yet, a neem seed cannot become an apple seed! Modernization should be in one’s thoughts, not in appearance! And the boys, too, seem to always bait for the wrong girls. Though there is a very very less population of girls who accuse boys, in the aforementioned ways, the boys only seem to get ‘such’ girls (supercilious). Well, good girls wouldn’t fall as a victim to their playboy-hood. And, the masculine minds that are disposed to dominance, portrayed all the girls as being so, through all the ways available to them, like cinema; they’ve created a common image that girls are all bad! Then, who asked them to propose? What an irony!
A layman comes running, leaving to rain a completely decolourised bicycle, unattended; he, already half-soaked in rain, enters the shed taking it as his asylum. This action gives life to one of the brains which quipped to self, “Why ask for a blanket when you’re fully soaked already?” These words were a funny saying in this part of the world.
A streak of sandal on his forehead, worn out partly, matched to his khaki uniform. He is a Lathe worker who had cut his duty half-done after having received an emergency call from his son—the chaos being his mother’s pain of contraception—if successful, will release his 4th product. He has—or more precisely, they have—already 3 products aged 12, 8 and 3 (boy, girl, boy). One has to wonder at this paradox: The rich ones who can afford to feed more than 10 mouths will, mostly, never have more than one or two, whereas the poor laity which can’t feed its own mouth will have 5! One baseless inference here will be that sex is a way to release the frustration for The Frustrated Laity, in general. Oh even it is scientifically proven that sex is an instant cure for mild depression! One has to wonder how these set of people knew it beforehand for ages together - the reason India's population stands a peak. What more could the dull routine of the laity provide? Even as he stands in there, his reflections are centred on his family, their well being, his yet-to-take-birth child—his 4th output.
Like a tiny white spot on a complete infinite black background, the leaks in the roof—the grace of the local government (corrupted building contract)—steals the spotlight. A poet, unpublished and self-made, of about 19 to 20 years old, stands there staring at the dripping of the raindrops from the roof. The roof which is supposed to be the shelter, at that particular spot, fails in executing its office. He stands there watching it, and much wants to make a poem; but is unable to convert it into words. He, taking out his phone, opens up the Memo option and types out 2 words:
Rain, the mercy of sky;
‘R’ gets capitalized automatically, thanks to the auto-correct feature in his Samsung Galaxy. With that single line, he stands there, in aphasia. He stares at the crystal clear liquid gliding off the branch trapping the magnificence of penumbral sunlight, the indescribable inimitable glimmer, for a moment before submitting itself to ground. He wants to take in inspiration from all the things that he lays his eyes on. He, then, looks at the increased greenness of plants, which are getting accelerated by the sudden rain. He tells to himself “Rain increases the greenery.” And then he adds, after an ENTER, the following:
Increasing the greenness of leaves,
Unknown to the world, is its thoughts within;
He scrutinizes within him for words, unaware of all the things going around him—the confusions of the influx of people, the searing gibber of the rain, the barking nuisance of wet, undressed street dogs (Poor them! They have no home-sweet-home!), and so on. He, then, takes a look further ahead. A caterpillar, an infinitesimal entity to this conceit-filled human eye, slowly slithers, upwards the tree trunk. The Human community considers the caterpillar as insignificant, forgetting its own manifestation.
The human itself is just a speck of a speck, when one adopts an Eagle View, from top of the city; will be further small when seen from the top of a state; unidentifiable when seen from top of the country; vanish, when seen from the top of the world; non-existent, when seen from that of the universe!
The rain comes to a halt all of a sudden. Surprise fills a housewife’s throat. She wonders to herself that nature is unpredictable. It was scorching high a few hours before, and now it rains! What a contradiction! How can nature change itself in so quick a fashion—as quick as a mosquito flapping its wings!
The Lathe worker rides away his bicycle. Under the shed also stand two boys, presumably random college students, who start lampooning about the correctness of weather broadcasting.
“Today morning they said there won’t be any rain. And now it rains! Unreliable TV channels,” the shorter one sighed.
“Ah they’re never correct,” accedes his companion.
“Perhaps, they toss a coin and report? Heads, no rain. Tails for rain?” Both laugh, feeling satisfied. Their laughs permeate within the bus stand shed.
Buses keep on coming, frequently, at improper intervals—sometimes, it takes 30 minutes for the next bus to come after one, and sometimes 3 buses come together—and the crowd which seem to melt away with every incoming bus, is actually unaltered. All the buses are closely packed. No one knows the provenance of this problem—whether it is the uncontrollably rapid increase in Indian urban population, contributed partly by ever-flowing migrants and partly by surge in birth rate, or it is the inadequacy of buses available. Scared to step into densely-colonized buses, two older citizens (presumably, couples) just wait in hopes of seeing a bus with some free space. A particular bus numbered 70 comes; and the amateur poet steps into it, enduring the pushes from his co-bus-catchers, prior to which he groped his hair with his right hand, inwards, fingers wide open (thumb left unemployed). Air bus (Luxury bus, automated door lock system), they said when introduced, which remained so, only in its name. As time rolled by, they, too, have joined the pageant of wizened, paint-worn old buses, but the increase in fare stayed.
Ah there! Additional problem! There comes an unprecedented influx of more school children! School bell rings, signifying that the time of slavery is over, at least, for that day. Like tiny iron pieces attracted to a magnet, a humungous amount of population trek in haste, adding further confusions to the ambience, in that wet road, towards the bus stop. Caparisoned in blue uniforms, though many of them are dirty, the view, when seen from top, resembled to that of a colourful graffiti work with blue-coloured beads strewn in random. Radiations of laughter filled the whole atmosphere. The dull-looking bus stop gets animated!
Children Are Children! They have brought colours to the grey-scale scene.
School pupils start to throng the bus stop. A few children ride away in their bicycles, with that big load of their subject books, tied to the carrier. A few children stand and show thumbs up sign—a sign devised to ask for a lift—which a few good-hearted motorbikes obey and help, while most just disregard the existence of the finger. The old woman notices that a few children have no sandals (barefooted). She reminisces of her own childhood. She, too, had studied in this same school—St. Bishop’s school—a school that was built exclusively for the Christian children; the same, later displayed its open-mindedness by admitting everyone—soon it became a school for the poor. She laughs within herself thinking of her admission. In those days, admission was not based on tests. The children (both genders) will be asked to touch their left ear by passing their right hand over head. If a child is successful, it means it was old enough (hand had grown!) to be admitted and if it fails, the child will be sent home and asked to come next year. Images of her elder brother who failed to touch and was rejected came to her brain; because of this, her brother who was just one year older has had to study along with her! What a shame!
This was one of the oldest schools of Coimbatore that stands tall since the ‘60s. A tear unconsciously glides down her cheeks when her infallible memory quoted scenes of her (and her brother’s) toils without food, sandals, proper clothes, and struggles to pay even that minimal tuition fee, back then.
The older couple who has had avoided 3 or 4 buses, because they were exceptionally stuffed with people, primarily of school children, in which they can’t stand steady and travel, smile, seeing them, and their thoughts wander to their own parenthood. Remembering her daughter’s contagious smile, the old lady feels a strange peace linger within. The old man thinks about his grandson and granddaughter, who were in grades 7 and 2 respectively. Now, she considers, though not expressing it to her husband, the option of taking a cab to her home, quite discouraged by the unending accumulation of school children.
A bus comes. Oh no! These kids, who were considered to be genteel, and soft-natured as the petals of a flower, dash forward, pushing everyone aside, pulling out each other, in the race to get into the bus. The disease of hurry-ness affected them, too! The old people felt their countenances become acrimonious, involuntarily, witnessing these happenings.
The bus gets loaded densely than before. Bus drivers frown at the kids who flock towards ‘their’ vehicle. Their mathematics is that these kids travel for free (free bus travel passes), which reduces their ticket sales; and adding fuel to the fire is their school bags (satchel is a term unheard in this part of the world) that blocks a huge space where one more person can stand. So mostly all the conductors frown at these innocent kids. So you discourage against them getting educated? No one can answer that.
The problem is that private educational establishments have their own school bus, whereas government schools don’t have their own transportation facility and the kids have no option but to take public transportation. That eventually ensues in all this overstuffed run of these buses.
Rain starts to come again! Outbreak of A Mini-Apocalypse!
Annoyance; Inconvenience; Hassle; Disturbance. All in capital letters!
One school boy, of around 15, openly express to his friend, “rain must not come in these parts. I mean, what’s the use? Nothing! It should only pour in villages and farms. What an inconvenience!” he sighed. Well, invent a machine for that! Rain was much sought after by farmers, and the same is seen as a nuisance here, in the city! What a parody! How the same thing appearing valuable to one category of people appears valueless to another category!
One, from the herd of school children, wishes that the rain continue to pour intensely so that they may get their day off tomorrow. The adjacent silhouette wishes that the rain should still be worse and the school should be announced off for a week. One day is not enough to play Cricket, is it?
Another school boy who was wearing torn uniform curses the rain, seeing the magnitude of the downpour. He is worried about the liability of electrical lines getting damaged by the rain which, in turn, will affect his Ben-10. To a middle class housewife the same problem will spoil her mega-serials. ‘Mega-serials’ with a capital M, for it is important than everything else—kids and husband included. The population under the shed never seem to diminish though buses keeps on coming, and some of the crowd melt away as each and every bus arrive. The ‘golden spot’ on the roof had occupied a considerable amount of space for its employment – wetting underneath, and forcing the already thick accumulation to get further constrained.
The occasional wind that hurls the flow of rain on even those who stand under the shed makes a few faces go into a million contortions, frowning. The acquitted shed gets branded “ineffective,” in a random person’s mind, in shielding them from the volley of rain. Inconvenience.
Two new faces—one partly shielded with the shawl—comes running and enters the shed. They run towards the shed, laughing, as if that was a game. They occupy the left end of the shed, making a second-rated clerk, who stands behind them, grimace.
Ever increasing density under the shed. Ever flowing rain above and outside the shed.
A few start to lose hopes if the rain will ever stop. One of the school children shows her pen to the neighbouring girl—a hero pen. The old grandmother (another random person; not the woman of the already mentioned couple) who stands behind them, witnessing it, start to reminisce. Once, when she was a student, it was a great pride to hold a hero pen. That was an age when wrong usage and aging of pens made it leak. Then came to market the Hero pen! It became a wonder soon that it won’t leak; the delicate shape of its nib was admired by everyone—both the possessor and the craving spectator! The possessor of Hero will feel like a hero! She remembered how she longed to buy it. Hero, as the name indicates, was costly when it was introduced!
The new faces start to disturb the integrity of the sheltered ones. Their smiles and laughter are filled with impurity and lust. Modern lovers! The girl, though, dons a conventional Salwar-kameez, is not at all traditional as she appears. It is clearly evident in her face itself, according to the second-rated clerk who is weighing her. The front end of the boy’s hair is light brown-coloured (Artificial! Yes, fashion!), and his T-shirt carrying the sentence “I DONT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE WORLD” in bold letters. His jeans pant doesn’t fit him at all. It is big and is barely standing on his hips. Wearing misfits have become a fashion/trend!
The boy stands submissive before that girl. Of course, that’s the set rule!—during the phase of love, men stay docile; and after the marriage, the roles somehow get reversed! The things they discuss (more precisely, they ‘flirt’ about) are random. So random like the choice that a rat in the larder will make!
It is worth mentioning that rain can either affect or effect one’s mood—to lovers (casually speaking!) like those two, it improves their romantic mood—and to old people, like the old couples standing to the right of these two and staring at them in aversion, it affects the mood—for it adds further to their problems, because of the muddle it will ensue in, which will further their already staggering gait.
The modern lovers stand there for a few minutes and even before the rain would stop, they go away. Why do they even come for shelter in the first place? A few more minutes pass, and the population of school children has very much declined. The old couples, who waited for long, wait still, along with different fresh faces, now being seated. All the faces carry certain expression, certain information, certain emotion, certain story untold. Who knows of all those illegible expressions? Who can read it? Even the most placid faces will be hiding sororicidal tendencies!
Slowly, the rain comes to a halt. The old couple finally find a lowly-populated bus. With the husband guiding her, she gets into the bus. Few others get along with them. Seeing the couple stand, a post-teen boy gets up (inside the bus) and gives his seat, in immediacy. The middle-aged person seeing his neighbour doing good deed, imitate him. The old couple though initially is shocked seeing this unexpected kindness, hesitate initially, and then with further pressing from the teen, occupy the seats. The old lady, after comforting herself, sees through the almost-vacant bus stand. She heaves a big sigh in relief. The bus starts to move.
Criticisms welcome… thank you for reading.
I don't understand why Booksie spoils my original format... It just infuriates me... I was forced to use these annoying horizontal lines to indicate a jump in time-frame, or a little gap in the same... It looks awkward, I know.