That sunday
I spent a lot of time at the cyber-cafe near my place. I like the place, as it has an ambience of a den. Calling mummy online was quite an exercise. Calling her up on the landline, to helping her figure out where the Yahoo! Messenger icon was on the destop, to telling her somebody's Yahoo ID and password loud enough to encourage everyone in the cafe try a hand at logging in -- It was quite some effort.

And at the end of the conversation, she tells me to hang on for some time as she had to cook lunch for granny! Whew!
She logged on, spattered some emoticons on the other side, and gradually went on to make some Dal for granny! Uh-gain?

She came over, after quite some time, threw some generic pleasantries and she logged off after some time.

It was 4 hours already, and nearing 4 pm, when I walked out of the den. The heat was on, and I was blinded by the outside light. I must not have walked even half a kilometre that, it started drizzling. As feeble as a creeper's fresh tendril, it was a catalyst to the irritation caused by the soaring temperature and the humidity. I don't know if my mental tantrums reached the weather department or to the big-Shower Department, but it started raining heavily, as strong as the hold of the roots of an 100 year old sycamore tree.

Everybody was scampering around, for a roof, for a shelter for a refuge. I found a tree large enough, with enough leaves so that I have enough time before all the leaves are wet, and the rain begins its attempt to reach me.

There was a village girl (or do I say woman?) standing under the next tree, with a kid. Her cheeks were wet, and when I realised, I understood it was not because of the rain, but something else. She looked tired, and a little shaken.

She preened at me from between the leaves of the tree, and I looked at my surroundings, as I was never used to something like this. I pretended, I was not caught looking at her, and trying to figure out why everything did not look allright.

I looked at the Dhobi and looked at the security guard standing next to his hatch. I was lost in watching the droplets dripping from the roof of his small outfit, when I heard a rustle behind me, and the place was much warmer suddenly.

A cursory glance scanned the tree where I had seen the girl in orange, but she was gone. No. It was almost a shock. She was standing next to me now, and the rustle had come from the crumpled dry leaves on the ground.

She said "Saahab, tumhaara kamaraa kahaan hai?"
I fumbled for words, scavenging my mind to see if I had come across any situation like this before, and the answer was no.
"Woh... Woh... Door hai thoda!"
"Aaj main aapke saath reh loon?"
I couldn't say anything. I just gestured, with one open hand in interrogation, and trying to swallow the lump in my throat.

"Subah Chali Jaaoongi!"
I gestured in a similar fashion again, but managed a few words this time.
"Main akela rehta hoon... Chota ghar hai!... Koi Bangla nahee hai!"

The spattering rain became worse, and I got goosebumps on my skin. Only, I was not sure what had caused these--The rain, the irritating heat, or the utterances of the village girl.

The Dhobi's shed looked inviting in the blinding rain, and I ran in to get there, after some incomprehesible curses at the invisible raingod up in the sky. In the shed, I found a security guard. Before I could concoct something, the girl followed me there, and involuntarily I looked at the security guard and the girl, and again at the security guard. I don't know how, but I was able to pass the message that the security guard was the sole responsible for getting the girl a shelter.

"She has lost her way", said the guard, "and doesn't remember the address of the place she was to get work at... and she has lost her other child somewhere...".

I suddenly recalled how I used to call my friends and tell them "This place is hell!" or "I feel lonely" or "The heat is killing!".

I saw my pains vanishing, I saw them turning to zilch, disappearing into thin air, when the silent lament of the girl (or should I say, patience personified) strangled me to feel what nature had always wanted me to feel.

Involuntarily I said, "Drop her at the Central Office!", where they could reach her easily.
Getting the police in loop was not tough, and the girl and her child are in safe hands now.
By now, the rain was almost gone, as if it had arrived with a purpose, with a reason, with a design.

The sky cleared, and also some cobwebs in my mind. The design is perfect.