“No means no. It is too slippery over there, and you will stay inside the house.”, said her mother firmly.
That was the first time she had been prevented from playing in the rain. Her neighbour had had a bad fall the day before, as the continuous rains made the neighbourhood slippery.
She was sad, so much that she was almost at tears. But as she stuck her head to the window, her friend reassured her : Better luck next time.
Another day, it had been the fear of acid rain. How can my friend harm me?, she wondered. She asked. A drop fell on her right eye, and rolled down. She had to wait days, looking out the window, before her friend finally returned.
But all of these were mere temporary restrictions. The real one came when she was sent away to hostel for her higher secondary education. She was absolutely banned from playing in the rain, and the barely got the chance to meet her friend. These rare occasions were followed by sessions where the wardens would scold her so badly that even the drops would shudder.
And then, little by little she got so much into that vicious circle of life, she no longer waited at the window. No longer searched the skies.
She woke up early in the morning, died, and came back to life after she realised she had mistaken the chair to be a stranger in her room. She opened the blinds just enough to let her desired amount of sunlight rush in.
Amaya was between The Great Wall of China – her father, and the Fortress – her mother. Both were sound asleep, but she was wide awake. It was Sunday – her play day, the only day when she woke up on time, while her mother happily slept. But play was nowhere in her mind. Somebody was grumbling, and she was very sure that it was not her tummy.
The noise was coming from beyond the Great Wall, and she slowly peeked over it. And there, at the door of her bathroom stood a shabby Sand Monster, growling angrily, or maybe hungrily – she could not tell.
“Amma! Amma! Wake up. There is a Monster in our bathroom. It will eat us.” , she cried.
“There are no monsters Amu, come here.” , said her sleepy mother, and pulled Amaya closer to her.
However reassuring the gesture had been, she could still see it’s hand extend out to get the three of them. It could step out of the bathroom anytime.
And then there was a loud crash, followed by a heavy downpour – overwhelming every other noise. She peeked over the Fortress, at the window, as the drops catapulted over the window to reach her.
The bathroom was empty once again. She went back to sleep with a smile, mentally jotting down that Sand Monsters are scared of her best friend.
Sitting between boxes in the shadow of a dusty light, she came across something that made her smile. A photocopy of one of her answer scripts.
” You are not going anywhere till you work out all those problems. Just look at this answer sheet of yours! It is so red!”, ordered her mother.
“Please?”, she begged, making cute faces at her mother.
Her mother paused before firmly answering, “No.”
It was a Sunday, her no-work-all-play day. But there she sat, inside, while it drizzled outside. The ‘world of numbers’ her teacher would say. The only numbers she liked were ones she could count on her fingers and toes. She stared at her textbook, almost hoping the numbers would solve themselves; and then at the list of questions under a seemingly polite order : Solve.
Aren’t we supposed to solve our problems by ourselves? The subject is so cruel that her answer script lay injured on the battlefield. The textbook was such a sadist that it forced kids to solve its problems step by step, even though it miraculously had all the answers on the last page – that too without the steps. If it can solve all those examples, why not these too?
A cold breeze through the window delivered rain drops on her face, and she snapped out of her head.
“Ok fine, fine. I’ll finish this off and come.” she muttered.
The drizzle disappeared, and it rained when Amaya stepped out to play.
Her mother pulled her hair into a ponytail, on the top of head. She called it the ‘Umbrella Style‘. She was restless.
“Sit still Amu. What are you so happy about?”, her mother scolded her.
“I want to go out and play.” she replied.
She ran to the playground, and looked up. A few minutes later, rain drops danced down the roofs, the swing and the trees. She stuck her tongue out and ate one of them. She giggled as it tickled her tongue. As she danced, another landed on the left side of her forehead, and slid into her ear.
It whispered that a child was born, to a couple who was sad for a long time. They had lost their daughter when she was 7 years old. This was their second child, a baby boy.
He frowned at the bright sky. Later that day, the grey corroded the blue sky. It became more grey, as if it were trying not to pour down, till it finally gave in. Amaya had had an incomplete nap, when it arrived.
It declared that this time it was falling apart for an old lady, who lived in a big house. But the house no longer belonged to her, except for a tiny room where all her belongings had been stashed away.
Her two sons lived in the same house, with their wives and kids, but nobody ever came up to check on her. So much that in that corner in the upper floor, she did not have any bed, cot or mat to sleep on. Her sons had forgotten about the bed, and their mother. So she decided to sleep in the wooden cupboard – the only furniture her children let her keep.
The cupboard was as old as the house – which was very old – and had a partition in the middle. It had two beautiful doors with carvings on it. One half had shelves – where she kept her stuff ; and the other half had none – where she slept.
Two days ago, one of her daughter in laws locked the cupboard, not realising the old lady was asleep in it.
What happened next, little Amaya does not remember, for she had returned to completing her nap.
She stood there, sky high, a mere window pane separating her from the grey horizon. Lightening shot through it, while she watched drops lashing against the glass. The drops ran all over, blurring the burning city lights. She watched, she observed – confused.
Her cousin sister, jumping and dancing in the rain, called out to her,” Come on Amaya, why aren’t you dancing?”
Amaya loved to dance in the rain. But she would not budge, because she knew that the rain was sad. It was crying for somebody, somebody who could bear no more. Her grandpa often tried cheer her up with paper boats, but they would all sink – every time the rain was sad. She would also fall sick at times.
She was born in the month of the rain, and named after it. She grew up watching the rain, and it never let her down. She danced with it when it was happy, and it showered on her when she was sad. She missed it dearly during summer, eagerly expecting the sudden unexpected showers.
Her first day in a new city, she was lost in the rain. The rain that went on beating against the pane, continuously with a consistent force. For the first time, her best friend had caught her by surprise. It was unhappy, but not exactly sad. For the first time, she could feel its anger.
*This post is dated 30th July 2015.It is based on a writing prompt by VJ.
Scarlet and Overkill passed away very recently. Their friends, and classmates know very well that these two shall be missed in their own world. A world I’ve never noticed, though they always claimed it was there – sigh, maybe I should’ve just believed them. Scarlet wore scarlet nail colour, well manicured and pedicured hands and limbs; and was born with lipstick-ed lips. Overkill on the other hand, would kill others with her ‘over-ness’. She believed in natural beauty, to an extent where she rarely looked human. Or natural.
Once I ran into them, while waiting for my friends. We ended up in a heated discussion that the Earth is round and not flat. No matter how many times I tried to convince her that the Earth was round, Scarlet was not convinced. She lived in a completely different world only she knew of. But, she even almost managed to convince my friends that I was wrong and the Earth was flat. Overkill on the other hand kept saying – No, the Earth is a sphere. Why do you keep saying it’s round? I finally gave up trying to explain that she was actually supporting me, in a different dimension.
Scarlet was so clever: she knew it all – Einstein perhaps would’ve proposed her (since she is such an inspiration) had she be born years ago. That would be a dream come true, for me! And Overkill, well she just went with it. She expected everyone to fall for her charm and rob a bank for her. That’s all she was bothered about. Unlike Scarlet, who depended on various ways to charm, she only depended on her beauty. Her natural beauty.
It was these all traits that killed them.
Yesterday, I was climbing down the stairs, with my friends, when I noticed them in front of me – Scarlet, and Overkill – with her boyfriend. I had almost reached the ground floor, when they’d reached the last few stairs. Suddenly, Overkill’s scream pierced my ears, blood gushing out of them. For the next few hours I couldn’t hear a thing.
But with horror, I saw Overkill rolling down the stairs, breaking the stairs as she descended down them, for she was all powerful. Scarlet had been busy on her phone, texting her crush (reminding him that the following day was her birthday and he must buy her a gift. Definitely.). She turned around and laughed at Overkill – so silly. But her laughter suddenly changed into concentration – she was calculating whether Overkill would hit her. She suddenly relaxed and watched Overkill bump into a big tree. She smiled – she knew it! She was safe. Before Overkill could come back to her senses, there was a big thundering noise and the tree fell, killing Overkill. Now, Scarlet did estimate that Overkill would not hit her (and thus kill her), but she never expected the tree to fall on her – she used the wrong formula. And thus, the tree fell on her – just as she was clicking a selfie – and she died posing for a selfie! Truly a grand way to die. Two brave warriors to the end. It was all over before I could do anything.
I was rushed to NIMHANS (for my bleeding ears) along with them (who were evergreen members of the hospital) and they were declared dead on arrival. Such a tragedy.