It was raining when Raima came out of the building. Her friends had promised to pick her up at 5 from Thunderpoint. But there was no sign of her friend’s car anywhere near the entrance of the building.
She hated waiting. The moment she came out from under the building’s entrance into the footpath, it started pouring on her. It always rained in these parts, that’s why the name ‘Thunderpoint’. Pulling out a battered old black umbrella from her bagpack, she tried to push it open. But it was stuck. The rain was soaking her clean freshly ironed clothes into crumpled rags.
Raima looked up at the falling rain drops and frowned. There were dark clouds crashing overhead, lightening bolts snaked down cracking the overcast sky and rumbling thunder reverberated throughout the desolate street. She shivered involuntarily.
After a few more attempts, she finally opened her umbrella with a grunt.
People were passing in and out of the building behind her. They ran out in the rain with umbrellas and jackets. Others ran in, to shelter themselves from the downpour. Some men gave her rather pointed looks as they pushed their ways past her. Raima realized that she was standing in their way and blocking up the path to the entrance of the building.
Giving a defeated sigh, she moved away from the building.
She fumbled in her bagpack for her phone. She hated waiting, and waiting in this annoying weather was making her irritable. As she called her friend, she watched a middle-aged man on the other side of the road. His formal appearance was completed by the brown briefcase in his hand. He stood facing her, flailing one of his arms desperately trying to stop one of the yellow cabs that raced past him on that wet road.
Raima finished talking to her friend. A cab stopped in front of the man opposite her, he seemed completely drenched when he got inside the car and it drove off.
She stood wondering absently. Presently, three kids sharing a single blue umbrella passed her. Two of them pushed the third one out of the roof of their umbrella and started giggling mischievously. The third one hopped back under the umbrella shoving the other two aside. All three of them broke into a loud boisterous roar. Their laughs and animated talk became slowly inaudible as they walked further away from Raima.
“Oh! Vyom!! Dont stay away from the umbrella, you will catch cold! Come now, come.”
Raima turned her head in the direction of the voice.
A mother seemed to be practically dragging her small boy in the street. The little boy was bent upon a puddle, busy placing a boat made from some cheap green paper, in the muddy water. And when his mother wrenched him away with her to trudge down the road, scolding him all the way, he just kept glancing back at his paper boat from time to time.
Raima shifted her umbrella to her left hand impatiently while waiting for her friend to answer her call. Finally, her friend picked it up. And as she stood talking to her friend, she noticed a couple across the street. They were both young and seemingly happy, whispering little sweet things in soft tones. The guy wrapped his arm around the girl, who seemed to blush and smile at his words. They seemed to enjoy the rain and the romantic weather.
It made Raima almost nostalgic. She stood under her umbrella thinking back to old rainy days. Suddenly her eyes fell on an old man. He was walking with a stick and an umbrella. As he approached the puddle beside the road, he slowly bent down and picked up the green paper boat, which was now filled with water. He shook the water out and bent down again…
Right then the car appeared and her friend pulled down the window to shout.
“Get in the car fast, Raima!”
Raima opened the door of the car, closed her umbrella and got inside. She was curious to know whether the old man would smile after returning the boat to the puddle. She tried to catch a glimpse of him and peered through the misty window glass, but the car raced along the street and she couldn’t quite see the old man.
She felt excited to tell her friend about all that she had seen. She began, “Hey! Guess what I saw today?!”
Her friend asked, “What?”
But she remained silent for sometime, thinking to herself, before replying; “Urm.. nah.. nothing. Never mind.”
Just when she had begun to narrate, she realized that this was an experience. It was something that she couldn’t share with mere words, one needs to actually live it. To feel it and understand it, one has to experience it. She thought in her mind, ‘Ah! Just when I was beginning to enjoy the rain, the car had to come…’ and sighed.
She reclined in her seat and started watching the raindrops trickle down the windshield. In the rear-view mirror, she could see Thunderpoint being left behind.