Jhiri was reclining on the bed, face down, her cheek rested on a pillow and a book lay open next to her. She was staring out of the window watching the light drizzle, rain drops falling on the green leaves, water droplets like pearls falling from the leaves on the green grass, rain drenched trees that looked so green and beautiful. It was one of those days in Agartala when heavy rain brought life to a standstill. It rained heavily the night before. As the roaring thunder woke her up, she could see flashes of lightening before her mother rushed into the room and shut the window. She was awake for a while listening to thunder clapping, wind lashing, sound of heavy rain falling on the tin roof.
When Jhiri woke up in the morning it was still raining, their courtyard and the road along the house was waterlogged, at least knee-deep water. “Your school bus won’t come today, so just stay at home and finish your projects,” said her mother. Jhiri would have loved to venture out, wade in the water, get drenched in the rain, but the stern expression on her mother’s face made her go back to her room. She sat on her study table, opened a book and stared out of the window. Jhiri loved rains, she loved that it rained so often in Agartala. On usual rainy days, even in ankle deep water, she would head to the bus stop in her raincoat with her schoolmates who lived in the vicinity. She liked to feel the wet breeze with drops of rain on her face. She liked to splash in the rain water, soaking her Bata ballerina school shoes & socks, sometimes even her uniform. On such rainy days, after reaching school she and friends would remove their shoes & socks and leave them to dry under the fan.
Last night’s rain was however too heavy that left the city inundated. It was still raining, Jhiri could hear the steady pitter patter on the tin roof, breeze would sometimes carry droplets of rain through the open window. She moved her books away from the window and put her face on the window frame so that she could see, hear and feel rain. “It’s going to be a while before the rain stops and the water recedes,” she thought. Jhiri thoroughly enjoyed these rainy days, being marooned at home and losing herself in the lyrical beauty of the rains. Sometimes she would make paper boats and watch them glide away in the water.
Jhiri relished everything about rainy days, including kichudi & daler bora (khichdi & dal pakora) usually served for lunch. She could make out from the smell coming out of the kitchen that mom was making delicious kichudi. After lunch the whole family would sit together in the living room and play Ludo, Chinese checker or Carrom. She would sometimes play chor police or kata kuti (noughts & croses) with her sisters.
For Jhiri, however, favourite part of the rainy afternoons was when she would slip into her room, listen to the pitter patter rain, gaze at dreamy cloudy sky and the rain-washed trees in the garden. There was something mesmerizing about these rainy afternoons, and she knew she would miss them one day!