The dark blue clouds hovered up in the sky, teasingly growing darker and darker, looking ready but not quite ready to burst. Children were scurrying around in the yard, and there was a bustling in the tent which had been set up to serve food. At long last the prayer session was over. Legs were stretched, and it seemed as if a yawning and gossiping competition had just started.

Oh! There was Leena. The little daredevil! Looking like an angel in her little yellow ghagra choli while having her food on her mommy’s lap. The latter was so engrossed in relating to Aunty Neeta about how their neighbour’s daughter had just eloped that she would not have noticed an earthquake. I made a mental note to give the little monster a good talking-to later on. Tripping me over like that in front of so many people! I’d never ever felt more embarassed. Or have I?? Hmm . . . better stop the influx of memories. It would not help going red in front of everyone.

Ah . . . and there he was. His crisp white kurta reminded me of grandma’s freshly boiled rice, and I could almost smell it. I’ve always been good with odour imagery. And how I liked the way he was casually leaning against the mango tree while talking to his friends, as if living this life was the easiest thing one could do. Perhaps it really was, and I’d just not yet discovered the way to live it.

And then, suddenly, those dark brown eyes which I’ve been dreaming about for so many days travelled all the way past his friends and rested on me. Self-consciously, I ran one hand through my hair and felt the other one nervously grasp the end of my pallu. Those eyes. Twinkling like stars and warm like shy sun rays. There they were, teasingly brushing my face and sending tingles down my spine all the way to my toes. His lips distinctively started to curve upwards. And I dropped my gaze.

Then I felt it. The first drizzle. The clouds had finally decided to do away with their shyness. I closed my eyes and smiled as I felt the raindrops gently caressing my face. Thunder started roaring as if huge firecrackers were being lighted for a celebration. I was no longer smiling, but laughing out loud when I turned my face towards the sky and felt the rain pouring down on me. That was it. That was the way to live life.

-Swati!! What are you doing sitting in the rain and laughing like a crazy girl? Come on, get up and let’s go to the tent now. Quick!

I was jerked off the ground by mom, and angrily pushed towards the tent full of people annoyed at having their oh-so-beautiful clothes wet. Just before going inside, I paused at the entrance. And turned around. The dark brown eyes had forgotten to leave me.


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