The British love to talk about the weather. It’s their go-to topic when all else fails. I, personally, find it one of the dullest things to talk about, especially these days, when any mention of the weather segues into a discussion about climate change.
Yet, right now, standing outside the door of my house in the pouring rain, all I can think of is the bloody weather. Mainly, because the downpour looks like it will never end. Which is weird.
This is Bangalore, for God’s sake. There are no downpours in Bangalore. The rain gods are very kind to us. No inconvenient cloud bursts for us, thank you very much. Our showers are very orderly and punctual, just like the civil servants of the city. It’s like someone is sitting up there with a stopwatch, and at the end of three and a half minutes, he shuts off all the taps in the clouds. Not today, though.
Today, it’s raining as if the weatherman up there mistook Bangalore for Mumbai, or even Cherrapunji, the place with the maximum rainfall in the country. I don’t know why that little fact slipped into my mind right now. But, my thoughts are hurtling down my brain like a runaway train. Was that a rhyme?
Every little factoid that my brain has registered is starting to pop up, like kids in the annual day program at school. Everyone gets a chance to perform.
But, I need to focus. What am I doing outside my house, drowning in a downpour, when I could be inside, curled up in an armchair in front of the window, sipping on a hot cuppa, tweeting about the weather?
I came out for a reason. Oh, yes. I came out because it started raining. But, why? And, where’s my umbrella? It’s in the attic, unused for years, because whoever needs an umbrella in Bangalore!
So, I came out…. to take the washing off the line! Yes! I had just hand-washed a couple of old silk sarees, with posh bathing soap, no less, because everyone knows you should never use detergent for soft silk. It’ll destroy the fabric.
Stop. No fabric lore. Focus. I came out to rescue the sarees. What happened next?
Ah, yes. I can’t get back into the house. I’ve been knocking for what seems like hours, louder and louder, but nobody answers.
Is it that they can’t answer or that they don’t want to?
They’re sitting right there. I can see them talking and laughing.
“Open the door, you idiots. This is not funny,” I yell.
God! What is up with the fricking rain? Can it just stop, already!
I can barely see my own hand.
I keep my finger pressed against the doorbell, and I get the feeling that I’m doing this for a reason. Not the obvious one, which is, to get into the house.
No, there’s something else. I need to tell them something urgent. I need to get them out of the house.
But, I’m so tired and soaked. I need to get warm. I need to just sit down for a minute, and close my eyes.
Wait! I open my eyes, and I find myself on the ground, leaning against the door. The last thing I need to do is close my eyes. That way lies danger.
I need to try the door again. Is there any point, though?
Maybe, I need to remember the important thing that I’ve forgotten. I’ll just retrace my steps, and see if it comes back, I think, slowly walking back to the clothesline.
Ay, ay, ay! This is what I need to tell them. About her!
The woman who’s lying on the ground, with half her head bashed in, blood running down the path in rivulets.
I drop down next to her and slowly turn her over. It all comes rushing back to me. I remember, and then I wish I didn’t. Ignorance really is bliss.
This is what I need to tell them.
That she died.
When they were sitting inside the house, cosy in their warm clothes and comfy chairs, she died. She slipped in a puddle and fell, bashing her head on a rock. I need to tell them that the rock garden is really as dangerous as I had predicted.
I need to tell them that she is me.
The sarees lie in the mud, blood-stained. Ruined.
Photo by Skitterphoto: https://www.pexels.com/photo/shadow-of-person-on-water-during-daytime-38069/