by Vinita Murgod
Rains slashing across the roads, filling the innumerable potholes of our roads, the branches of trees crashing down over the drenched bikers, winds rolling athwart through the fields, children in plastic costumes walking back from school, buses royally spilling all the grime over the poor pedestrians who are struggling to find their way home with their umbrellas flipping inside out. The awesome aroma of the season’s special, hot pakodas and chai in the petite hotels, regally attracting the customers.
Walking down the narrow lanes of the city in monsoon, hopping across the steps of the shops, I finally reached my flat, wringling wet, leaving a trail of water throughout the way. Spending the splendid season with nobody at home can dampen one's spirits. With these thoughts swirling in my mind, I entered the kitchen to grab a bite and saw our neighbour’s children through the window. The older one was happily sailing his blue and yellow paper boats in the little streams of water and the younger one clapping and beaming in astonishment with the way the boats were moving with the wind. I smiled and got back to make something hot for my hungry stomach. Kept some water to boil, put the masala and noodles and ready in 2min was my favorite maggie.
I took the bowl of maggie and went to sit by the window side. Relishing the hot instant food in the monsoons is a special delight, I realized. Watching the drops of silver liquid, trickling from the canopies of houses, making streams and gushing over the roads is a beautiful sight. The lush green trees acting as umbrellas, for the people standing underneath, swiftly drenched them with a single breeze. Slowly the clouds cleared and retired for the day.
It was time to catch up with some friends, so I set out to meet my neighbor Naina. I overheard some harsh comments and nagging at their house and thought it was a wrong time. I came back to my room but my mind was churning with thoughts about her. We shared a lot among each other’s lives, though our friendship was hardly few months old. She was a graduate in commerce, but never got a chance to work outside because her husband Ranjit, always felt insecure with the thought of her working outside and so she had to remain a housewife. He did some odd jobs but couldn’t retain himself in any place longer than a month or two. Financial problems were devouring their life. She tried to convince her husband that she can work in some office and can earn a decent pay and lend a helping hand in these appalling times. But always lost her words in vain.
It was 8 o'clock. Listening to the daily news, I made some rice and dal. Dined and went to bed.
The Sunday morning launched with the holler of my milkman. I collected milk and picked up the daily newspaper tucked in my window sill. As the daily chores got over soon, I threw myself on the sofa and started reading my long pending novel. Around 11:30, I heard a knock on my door. It was Naina. Apparently, they again had a fight over
the same issue. I told her to relax and watch TV.
In the meanwhile, I made some chai. She kept flicking the buttons of remote but couldn’t settle on anything and set the remote aside. Gazing across the room, my red plastic bag caught her sight. It contained my new kurti from the boutique with beautiful handmade embroidery. She picked up the kurti and got engrossed in watching the detailing of the work. Such work always caught her attention.
I came back with Chai. She said, she knows how to make the kind of embroidery and that she would love to make it for me. She was so excited that she ran back to her house, rummaged around in her old suitcase to find her old clothes with beautiful embroidery. She got them and showed me. The boutique embroidery looked poignant in front of her exquisite work. I realized that she could use her talent and make a living. I told her that, such work is very much in fashion these days and that people don’t mind paying a little more for beautiful handmade stuff. I advised that she could do it at home and so her husband also wouldn’t have a problem. She was happy with the idea. I could see the twinkle in her eyes.
Two days went by Naina hadn’t visited my house.
One evening, I decided to meet up and knocked her door. There came Naina beaming with happiness as she saw me. She pulled my hand and took me inside to show her newly embroidered cloth material. It was awesome. I told her that we should visit the boutique where they sell such kurtis. I had already spoken about her at the boutique.
The next day, we both went to the boutique, with all her embroidery stuff. The boutique lady was very impressed. She was more than happy to join Naina into their team. She briskly walked into her workshop to get cloth material and the template of the designs ordered by the customers. 40% of the profit will be given to her, she added. Naina was so happy to get her first project.
She told her husband about her new project and that she can start working from home. Ranjit resisted in the beginning, but slowly understood that it was necessary for her as well for their family in these crucial days. Naina steadily started with her work. Her work won her a lot of appreciation by the customers.
It was almost two months now. She now had many more projects at hand. Ranjit also got into a good job as administrative officer in an institute and was happy working there. He started helping Naina in bringing the cloth material and also for dispatching the ready work. Ranjit’s help meant a lot to Naina. Their financial conditions also improved substantially. She could see so much difference in their relation, a lot more love, support and respect for each other. Naina had finally found herself and a new meaning to her life.
Finally the rainy days were over in Naina’s life and so were the rains in the city. Everyone in this world is looking for happiness but perhaps in the wrong places. ***