Last evening, it rained heavily in Bangalore. The rain cast sweeping hues of melancholy on my car’s windshield until I stopped and got out of the car, embracing its sweep. Melancholy can serve a twin purpose – it can push you to the darkest corners of your soul, or it can also sweep the darkest corners of your soul. I wasn’t sure which corner the rain crept into. But standing there and watching the sky rain down on you -is there a more beautiful feeling in the world? I have never understood why people go scurrying for cover when it rains. I run out more when it rains – like the whispers of trade secrets from the Universe telling me how glorious it is to live. And to die. And to live again.
Because that’s just what happened. Night crawled inside and laid a hand on me. I slept fitfully despite her embrace. I woke up to thunder claps in the middle of the night. Mercifully, I was able to sleep again, even though I always struggle to go back to sleep if awakened in the middle.
When The Skies Rippled
Morning came with a hushed silence. There were no birds. I glance outside. The clouds are still hanging around as if they were hung-over from the party of last night. I step outside for my barefoot run. It’s not easy today as the rains have washed more gravel and pebbles than usual. I wince, slowing down, and wondering what it is that makes us turn away from pain. I turn the corner, thinking if I should go back and wear my running shoes. I see this, and I forget all about it.
I remembered all the pain a moment later once I resumed running. But for that moment, I was gifted a paper cup of extraordinary artwork.
When Jessy Says Hi
I reach the office where I do occasional consulting work. Feeling the remnants of last night’s battle with sleep, I go to the pantry to fix myself a cup of tea. Since yesterday, I have had the pleasure of knowing Jessy, the woman who keeps the place atrociously clean. She is from Austin Town, I had learned. Today, Jessy waits while I heat up water in the microwave. “Naastha ayitha Madam?” she asks. (Did you have breakfast?). And then, “You don’t take sugar with your tea,” she says, remembering my choice from yesterday, and hurrying to take my tea bag. I smile because for the second time I have been gifted a paper cup of extraordinary kindness.
When Coffee Comes With Soul
A flurry rushes in through the office. Clad in green. She rushes in and out. I glance at her bewildered. She is holding a tray. “Do you want my mug?” I ask her because she looks like the kind of person who would rejoice holding trays with mugs. A joyous smile breaks out. “Yes, Madam,” she says, taking my empty mug. That smile settles in some corner of my self. It is still there, sending little beacons of light like a lighthouse. And then she is off, giving coffee cups all around, with the most breathtaking smile. I smile because for the third time today, I have been gifted a paper cup of simple soul.
When Care Comes In All Forms
Whenever I park my car at the Metro parking lot, I always plead with the parking assistants to give me a spot under a tree. They always acquiesce. But then, the sun always manages to find a way to burn the paint off my darling. Yesterday, I step inside the oven my car has become and I am annoyed. At the exit, the woman checks my parking ticket. “Just feel this!” I say. “I can’t even touch the steering wheel!” She peeks inside, touches the steering and then says, “Look at you! How much you have sweated!” I grumpily drive away. Today, the same woman is there. I hand over the parking ticket to her and she remembers me and says, “Is the steering wheel too hot today as well?” I nod and I smile, because for the fourth time I have been handed a paper cup of kindness.
When Words Move
- A woman messages me. “I was reading your blog. I was a little upset, because of which I was restless too. Then I started reading your blog. Feel so nice. Now back to work.”
- A man messages me. “I can’t see you like this. Next week, no excuse. We are going to the doc. Or, we can go this Friday as well.”
- A woman messages me. “Did you have lunch today?”
- A man calls me five times on my phone. Five times. Because he knows I am not myself and will persist despite knowing I will retreat and not receive these calls.
I smile, because for the fifth time today, I have been gifted a paper cup of warmth.
When Memories Touch My Soul
I reach out and pull an old photo off my wardrobe. It’s one of me with my sister, perched on the water tank on the roof of the house where I spent my first ten years. We are wearing our best outfits. In my sister’s case, a skirt. In my case, a yellow frock that my Dad dressed me in. For a long time, my Dad would always dress me up, choosing my clothes with care. I didn’t have many. I remember that once a child in school had asked me, in that vicious way that children have, “How come you wear the same dress all the time when we have ‘color’ dress day?” I had cringed, ashamed, but not knowing why I didn’t have as many clothes as the other children. I didn’t know even if I should be embarrassed.
On the day this photo was taken, my Dad had called the official family photographer to our house. I have to call him that because he always used to come around, taking photos of family gatherings. There were no digital cameras those days, of course. There were a great many photos that he clicked of my sister, who at that time, was receiving offers to star in movies. We went to the roof of our old house in Jayanagar. Traffic surged in the background. He made us perch on the wall and that’s it. Just one photo. But a lifetime to share it with.
When I got this photo on a mug for my sister, I smiled because for the sixth time today, I had been gifted a paper cup of preciousness. (The Whizz photo guy has forgotten all the commas in the version you see above). But oh well. You can’t have all the paper cups in one day, can you?