The monsoon’s started in Delhi, and somehow when it rains…it seems as if every natural colour is automatically enhanced and is ten times more beautiful. The skies…when you can take a peek seem bluer, the trees look greener, the white clouds look whiter and the grey ones look…well…grayer. The kind that will envelope all around you, making you feel either very secure-warm, or adventurous-alive, with all your nerve ends tingling with an expectation of what unknown thing might happen next.
Usually, we’re all so busy thinking about the next event in our lives, grumbling about it, planning about it that we rarely have the time or the inclination to sit back, and look at how our lives have turned out, but somehow for me, when it rains, life suddenly turns into a fiction book, that you read…but somewhat don’t relate to. Especially, when you’re sitting in a bus, in the window seat looking out at the rest of the world. The occasional drop of rain caressing your face, giving that momentous exhilarating relief from the humid climate. The wind hitting your face telling you that time is going fast by, while you sit in one place. Well…not really, you are moving with the bus, but then you don’t have to really exert yourself to reach to your destination, the bus does that work for you. You can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Looking around me, I see so many different faces, with so many different expressions. A man shouting at someone on his phone, a guy telling his friend about the admission procedures in Gargi (it made me want to interrupt and give a few pointers myself), a couple talking the silly love-talk, while the friend shifts uneasily because she feels unwanted and intrusive; an elderly couple enjoying the silence that has come after years of staying together formulating an unspoken language…or maybe they’re just estranged, and have nothing to talk about. It’s time such as these, when I get extremely bored that I take up a person and imagine what is going on in his or her life, why they’re where they are, how their life must be- outside the bus. But not today! Today I was more interested in the window looking out.
The soft pitter-patter of rain drops on the window glass, the wind blowing through my hair usually sends me to trips to far away lands, sometimes nostalgia strikes hard, or sometimes the imagination takes hold of the reigns. Today it was a sense of wonder and amazement at the world and people around me, especially those whom I didn’t know. Looking out of the window, whiling my time thinking about the guy riding the cycle next to the bus, while I had the luxury of being driven home. What kind of a life did he have? Does he have a wife…any kids? What if it started pouring right now, and he had to go to some important or formal place, and he reaches there drenched? Will the people understand his plight, after all it’s not his fault that he got caught in the rain, or maybe it is…after all he might be cheating someone, and needed to get somewhere fast so that he’s not caught, and this is nature’s way of punishing him!!!
The bus turns towards the Nizamuddin Bridge, and on the left side, there’s a whole bunch of jhuggies. People would have such interesting but difficult times living in jhuggies...wouldn’t they? Especially in the monsoon, when their thatched roofs aren’t able to stop the water from entering their small rooms (if they can be called rooms). Maybe many of them have a good place to live in the village, but they wanted to shift to the metropolitan to earn more money. They got these jhuggies instead. But then a dish antenna catches my eye. I look further to see that dish antennas are dappled all over the different jhuggies, and it seems weird that these very people who can’t seem to afford a proper place to stay, should have their individual dish antenna. It makes me smile, as I remember, that these people are probably counted in the below poverty line population, not getting their daily 2100 calorie intake, but they seem to have enough money to have satellite TV connections. God! Even I don’t have a satellite TV connection, and I’m supposed to be in the higher or at least middle-income group.
Soon the areas clear to form the vast expanse of green with puddles of water, that was supposed to be the Yamuna river. Next to my bus, a truck passes by with a horse atop its rear. The sight makes me smile. A horse is supposed to be a beast of burden isn’t it!!! It’s a white horse, all decked up…probably going for some marriage, where it’ll be the steed of the groom. This makes me think of the groom and his bride. How the marriage will be, with friends and family coming over? Or maybe it’s going to be a simple affair. Does the couple really want to get married? Is it a love marriage or an arranged one, or simply a marriage of convenience?
I’m now crossing the Akshardham Temple. I’ve always waned to come here, but never got the time. In fact, I wanted to walk down from my house to the temple and walk back. In the right kind of weather, with slight breeze and lots of clouds, the walk would be just wonderful. I make a mental note once again to one day follow through with my plan. The Temple construction seems to be going pretty fast. But somehow the temple doesn’t seem all that inviting anymore. In comparison to wild growth of trees earlier, the beautifully designed lawns and gardens seems mechanical. The lines on the temple look like a 3-D construction out of a computer program. Probably it is just that. But aren’t temples supposed to have souls. This one doesn’t seem to have one. There are too many straight lines and 900 angles, no realistic curves-no flaws. And I return my gaze to trees on the side of the road. Looking at those trees, newly adorned with their clean green leaves shining bright, it just seemed to me as if each tree had a particular personality of it’s own. One was scary and contorted, one seemed to be somewhat motherly, two of them reminded me of my friend and myself – conspiring with each other and living in their own private world, a little away from the rest, one had a kite stuck in its boughs, and I was reminded of the time when I once tried to fly kites and filed miserably, thereby tearing almost a dozen kites. The funny part was that they weren’t even mine, and I didn’t even ask their owner before taking. The poor guy got the shock of his life when he opened the cupboard to find all of his precious kites broken and torn.
I’ve reached my stop now. I get down, my reverie broken. Reality steps in, as I mingle with the tens and thousands, thinking about the next thing that I plan to do. Looking around, I see a girl standing in her balcony, looking somewhat bored...observing all the passersby. Our eyes connect, each acknowledging the other’s existence on this planet, and I turn my gaze back to the road ahead, wondering what kind of a life will she imagine for me. I smile as I walk on, and hope that it’s a little more interesting than the one I’m going back to.