Mostly, rain carries no meaning . But spend sometime about a rain and you realise how it can evoke a montage of memories.
It is raining outside now, not your typical rain but a type of light intermittent drizzle that just lets the land dry up before gently wetting it again. Sort of unfathomable mind game. The wide tarmac is variably patchy and the planes are wetted by the intermittent showers, the staff who appear as random bright spots in their water-resistant fluorescent jackets continue to work ceaselessly. A distant stretch of young trees take up the furthest horizon as they seem almost touching the heavy grey sky. Through the soundproof windowpane, the whole view looks as a snapshot of a farther heavenly world. Of all the rains, it is this type, which often reminds me of P.
I’m lazily tossing about the couch and watching P washing the dishes, her back facing me. She moves nimbly handling the dishes and checking the cooking in between, and of course she is humming all along. She is wearing an old green top and a faded baggie jeans. The back of her top reads in bright white, ‘Hi, I’m back.’ Strangely for reasons that I cant immediately identify the whole frame - The familiar kitchen with its gas stove and side basins, well arranged rows of pots and the dishes,with P amidst all with her back facing me, unsettles me a bit. May be It is because we are meeting for the last time and I’m never going to see that charmingly witty top again. We are at crossroads, we have made choices that are unlike. We are waiting to utter our farewells. A Dylan sings on the tape as if he was in the room with us-
‘You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last.
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast.’
Some of the planes have took off and the lounge is bit less populated now. Drizzles have eased off for the moment but the weather continues to be overcast. It’s a funny thing, the weather in this part of the world. I often wonder how such a inconsequential trivia elsewhere plays such an important role in our lives here. It’s the weather which controls everything; weekdays, weekends, going out, staying in, even our mood and emotions. We are at its total mercy. Aren’t we?
A few more flights are announced by what is a familiar female voice by now; My flight is not announced yet. I think I could do with one more drink.
Between her busy chores, She catches me looking at her and smilingly asks the eternal feminine question 'What'? And I reply almost instantly, the eternal masculine answer, ‘Nothing’. We get back to our acts reflecting to ourselves the meaningfulness of the meaningless conversation. We are young, we can afford clichés; in talk, in thoughts.I suppose.
I’m at loss of words whenever I want to describe what exactly we shared between us. We shared a lot of interests and obviously spent quite a bit of time together. Needless to say , we were mutually attracted. Yet, for some unbeknownst reasons to both of us we never took it further. I think it is a late teenage trait to hold on to something special in any form than nothing at all thus unwanting to disturb the balance of the whole context and its consequence . Besides, we had met when we both were in the varying stages of other relationships. She had left behind a guy who was crazy about her and wasn’t sure what to do with him and I had started going out with S. So in many ways, somehow it was best to be passive and let things just be. Looking back now, I think the passion could have been love and deep down perhaps we knew it but just didn’t realise the meaning of it all, we simply didn’t know where to lead it? And how?
The clouds have thinned out a bit and have begun to spread. The day consequently, has become brighter. I hear my flight announced and gather to check in. Something inside me feels a bit better and before I can actually lay my finger on what it is, it has vanished. In the queue, I run into the couple who had accommodated me in their table at the busy bar. He reminds me of his offer to take me flying over the lakes in his double seater aircraft, the photo of which he carries fondly in his wallet. I thank him again and assure him that once I’m less busier I shall definitely visit him. Have a pleasant journey. Thank you. Seated in my window seat I notice the showers have started again.
There are few moments in all of our lives that we anticipate with so much anxiety, split in two minds, unsure if we really want to go through it or not but eventually we realise we were a part of it only after it has gone past.And we cant do anything about it. I think I can definitely count our farewell as one such moment.
Throughout the lunch and the tea we both are sensible , enforced of course carefully avoiding important questions about future and relationships etc. And as we near our farewell, we both display an artificial air of pleasantry that all the good education prepares oneself for. I am feeling heavy in the head and hot in the neck, I cannot think straight yet I am saying the right things with a plain face. I can sense that she is going through something similar if not the same. As we hug and are about to leave I do something so uncharacteristic of me yet something which I’m not ashamed of .Or will be. In one impulsive motion, I draw her close and hold her tightly against me and kiss her as hard as I can. She kisses me back furiously, breathing into my breaths. It all ends faster than it started. We quickly pull back. I have almost lost my voice while she sighs a red beetroot 'take care'. We bid adieu. Outside, as I walk towards the gate trying to collect my thoughts, I notice my bike showered in a gentle drizzle. The one that I don’t pay any special attention but later would be haunted by tantalisingly forever.
After so many more rains that have become waters and flowed under the bridge, the whole thing still fills me with a sense of unbearable heaviness that often ends in a deep sigh whenever I think about it. Mulling over it now, I think we had to part in the midst of something special developing which we both could only sense but had no time and space to identify and articulate into a feeling. Or speculating contrarily, we would have lost the charm with more time and ended up being ordinary. Or perhaps it was just the mindlessness that is so often blamed upon the notorious vagaries of the youth. Regardless of all that, What made it so special is that we never found out and obviously never will. Coming to the kiss, I think there was profound anger in that kiss and a fair bit of helplessness . So dangerous is any kiss in itself, I’m glad that this particular one did not progress further to anything that would have been fairly easy to comprehend and classify. What the whole episode taught me was to play the game at any cost, because if we don’t, we may ensure that we dont lose but we also thereby ensure that we don’t win either. I hope she had found it equally enriching and has made the best of her promising life.
After an hour or so, in a different country the rough screech declares the landing. The sun is shining cheerfully and the air is full of enthusiasm. The passenger next to me makes the inevitable remark, ‘Isn’t it a lovely day’ ?
That’s the tragic part of such lovely days. The feeling of being such a lovely special day would be repeatedly remarked throughout till sundown that it ends up as quite meaningless and banal. In that sense, although it is very refreshingly lovely now, sooner the day would be not as lovely.
So , I usually do what I do with the first such comment; I take one more look at the day slowly: the bright sun burning in the azure sky between the milky white stratocumuli, the shining air planes taxiing about and the bright light ricocheting off the car hoods in the valleys of nearby parking spaces. Then, having digested it all, I slowly reply turning to the gentleman, 'Its marvellous'.
His face lights up as if a million stars have exploded inside him.
PS~ I suppose this is the corniest Ive been on here.Drafted sometime last month in transit, edited later.