A rainy October evening

The sun had disappeared a few hours before its usual time. Almost as if he took half day from work. There had been sunshine until about mid afternoon and then he had simply vanished. It was pitch dark by the time he got out of his house. Although it was only just about time for sunset. There were no retreating birds in the sky and no colours that usually splashed the autumn evening sky. A riot of colours as his English teacher would probably say. He walked along to the station and boarded the first train. It didn't matter if it was a fast or a slow. He was in no hurry. As stations passed by and soon became a blur, his mind raced to it's favorite spot. The nostalgia station which housed all the memories, but he simply summoned it back.

Of late he had spent way too much time reminiscing about the good times that had passed. And then he would launch into a phases of longing and grieving. This not only blocked the present but also destroyed all chances of a good future. He was not going to let it happen. He was determined. Instead he actually chose to look outside the window instead of just staring into oblivion. The dark railway tracks would be illuminated for a brief while only to be followed by a loud thunder. This perhaps was the retreating monsoons he guessed. He should have been an expert at Geography by now but for the overdose of nostalgia.

And within no time it started to drizzle and then it started to pour. This was similar to the municipal water supply. The sole community tap would start dribbling and a queue would form, a long queue. Women with buckets and steel containers would line up. Each one eager to get her quota of water. The force would increase and continue for a while before it returned to its dribble and die away. The crowd would clear and the tap would again go back to being neglected. There, his imagination ran wild. It was like a captured wild stallion. Seeking every opportunity to run away and break free. He had to tame it before the lines between reality and imagination turned blur.

The rain was coming down in sheets as he disembarked. The streets were being washed clean and at places puddles had already formed. At places where the road sloped, tiny streams were formed by the sides. However, there were no kids sailing boats. In fact there were no kids dancing in the rain. Azim Premji would be disappointed. Maybe they were indeed preparing for entrance exams. He also should have been one of them but here he was. He stood under a shed for a while, just like the others but when the rain didn't give in, he simply jumped in. The cool drops of water refreshed him and he set course towards his destination. He finished his job and was soon on a train back home.

At his station, he realised that it hadn't stopped raining so far. But he didn't hesitate this time. He simply walked back towards the bus stop. It was crowded and he preferred to stand in the rain. That's when he noticed a pretty girl at the traffic signal. She was trying to cross the road. Her face seemed familiar and within a few seconds, it dawned onto him. He saw that girl in a pinnafore school uniform, six years younger, slightly plump too. Yes indeed, it was a lady from school. He had known her briefly, enough to recollect her name and a few distinct features. Although she had lost considerable weight, but one could recognize her.

She saw him and smiled. He was reluctant to go upto her and talk. Hell, he didn't have an umbrella to offer. But she didn't seem to mind. She was enjoying her time in the rain. Dressed in a short dress, she looked like she was back from an outing. A date perhaps. Killing all hopes of going out with that pretty woman, he smiled back at her. They spoke about a lot that had passed after school. She was still studying at a college unlike him. Their bus pulled in to the stop and they got in. He bought two tickets, he knew where she stayed. One could peep into her house from the school classrooms. She had shown the window to him herself.

They discussed her further education and he seemed to know quite a lot. She looked impressed. She asked him for his number, the conductor rang the bell. It was the last stop. Their destination. Quickly she typed the number in her phone and gave him a missed call. She promised to keep in touch and made turned towards her building. He waved and walked slowly towards home. There was no need to escape the rain.

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