Shruti sat gazing through the window and kept waiting for him. There was no urgency about her, no sense of excitement or any visible expression on her face. She was all alone and the small window was her only outlet to the world. It was a windy evening and something about it fascinated her. Or did it? It was difficult to say she was capable of finding anything fascinating with that stone-faced look. Her face was so close to the window that she could have been hiding a tear within that proximity from no-one. There was no-one in that room to see her cry or console her or keep it aback for shame. She was unmoved and that tear trickled down from her sunken cheeks on to the mirror. The rain had started falling outside and soon that tear became one with the drops of rain falling on the window pane from outside. There was nothing that could distinguish the two.
The wind was blowing hard and the rain had just begun; the dry floor could be seen being sprinkled with fresh drops but wasn’t all wet yet. If you looked long and hard through that glass like the fixed gaze of Shruti, you would hardly notice the presence of a barrier. The boundary betwixt the world of turmoil and peace blurred in that moment of thoughtlessness. Shruti was there, she could see herself. She was outside in the violent wind struggling to walk against it, wanting with desperation. The wind ceaselessly blew her hair and ripped her clothes off and the tiny specks of dust seemed like daggers being thrust into her breasts.
The illusion was broken by a sudden opening of the door as a woman walked in. The barrier was restored. Shruti had responded by turning to the woman and away from the glass at that instant but her eyes went back to reaffirm the broken illusion. It was just overcast and the clouds were beginning to giggle faintly. There would be thundering laughter soon. As she was in the process of soaking in the disappearing of her vision, the woman spoke. “Is not the weather nice today, ma’m” she said. Shruti attempted to answer in the agreement but her throat was choked by the sensation that she had just been through. Before Shruti could muster up a word, the woman began again, “All the best days of my life are like this. I mean it rains on such days.” Shruti politely nodded and smiled a mild smile in response. The woman had failed to recognize her welled up eyes before but the smile made it paradoxically prominent.
She was there to give Shruti a cup of tea and the next few minutes when she made it, there was silence between them. The tear had alarmed the woman into this vow of silence. She stretched to pass the cup to Shruti, Shruti rose a little to receive it and politely managed a word of greeting. Her work being done the woman got up and began to leave and just as she was about to close the door upon Shruti, she heard a call. Shruti said, “What good happened to you when it rained the last time? “
The woman took her place near Shruti in that room for a while, leaving her other engagements in the hospital. They began talking and did so till she had to finally answer some matters which could not be deferred. In these few minutes, Shruti had learned to smile again. The rain had washed the world of its sin it seemed. She moved her palm and wiped the glass to refresh the view and she could see the drops of rain falling on newly come leaves. She kept gazing on the visual for some time and the gloom on her face had been repealed by an expression of calm. It was not peace but calm, the sort of calm that the vulnerable sea allows itself for it is always capable of a raging storm.
The door opened once again and he finally arrived. Shruti did not move a bit as if she did not hear him enter. She was engrossed by the descending rain drops that fell and reinvigorated the dry leaves; she could feel the aroma ooze out of the soil that was impregnated by this first rain. The doctor uttered, “Shruti , you are going to be a mother once again.”
Arpit is a final year English Literature undergraduate at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. He mostly writes fiction and articles, and when free, likes to enjoy a cup of tea. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.