By Garima Mishra

These weren’t the first rains. When did it rain first on Earth? The simple lines that the black-eyed girl could speak to herself was “it drizzles in August and rains in September”. It was less intricate to hide that big mole on her left arm, bulging out and eyeing the clouds, just like the notorious seven-year-old herself, prodding Mumma’s palms, for the ‘last’ mud roll!

She knew that mud roll wasn’t the last one. Childlike pleasures were more pleasurable when forbidden. And she knew that wasn’t a mole but a birthmark. Her parents never taught her how to make boats, how to jump on a puddle and splash mud water on the handsome red sports car. The sports car owner complained but he saved his paan (betel leaf) spitting stories inside the car itself. Years after the same car would be emitting flashes and sparks in a car repairing stores.

She visited the car repair store while it was raining heavily outside. The poorly shackled asbestos had non-stop tip-tip drips of rain water. Her nicely blow-dried hair had rolled into a big round bun, with humid drops of sweat all around her face. As she waited, she remembered …girls are meant to mend into difficulties — reiterated by the puckered smiles of her granny.

True, she thought for a while. The repair store had flashes erupting when a man with blue uniform welded a jagged piece of metal. For a while, she stepped on a dirty plastic cover, with rain water out of fear. The lightning streaked into the shop perhaps. Suddenly the sky turned violet and thunder swept through the black clouds. She saw a few girls, with knotted frocks and skirts, playing in a rainwater puddle. Running boats, moulding the clay, patting a frog.

“My parents never taught me what are rains…” she spoke to herself with audacity. All they taught was how to search for candles for that ‘Great Indian power cut’ or wear rain coats when your bus stop is still far away. What do parents teach children, to be a child lock in this big world?

Those two hours inside the store was a medley of sweat, flashes and the never-ending rain. The girls had watches with them, they looked at it and walked straight like a flock of birds assembled in an ant’s kingdom. Their line was like the one in her school assembly. They walked off and were suddenly lost to view.

She took out her scooter keys, as if she was heading out for a mission. She got some hair clips on the way. She found a big hostel, gated in front of a boarding school. She had run away as one escapes from an exploding crater of a volcano. She ran away from boarding school this way, ten years before.

She wove stories of her Granny’s ageing.

She had known by instinct when it rained. Rains were a product of water cycles; a learning from environmental science textbooks but she never knew that rains were deeply nuanced.

She touched her birthmark, now doubly bold in her diary and blogs as moles were also a product of staying at home and gazing at rains as if it were an intruder.

The next time it rained, she went out, wearing a pink kurta. The one she purchased during the Diwali Mela, a big maroon bindi from her mother’s dressing table and piece of paper from her sister’s classwork copy. She made boats, but ran inside when it started dashing on the green creepers. Her boat was floating.

Garima Mishra is a student pursuing her bachelors in microbial sciences in University of Delhi. She writes in English and Odia.



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