Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A song for the road

She gritted her teeth and punched the horn. Again. She knew it would achieve nothing. The red tail lights of the car in front of her would continue to wink through the torrents cascading down her windscreen. The rain washed dark green color of the filthy truck would continue to obscure her view. The RJ would continue his mad chatter, as if he were sitting on a different planet, in another galaxy with a satellite feed of this traffic jam filling up some random monitor in his room. Nothing would change. Yet, she had to do something. So she punched the horn. Again.

She glared at her iPhone settled comfortably in the seat next to her. Dead. What a day to forget to carry your car charger! She had a million calls to make. Why couldn’t the universe understand that? Why did it have to rain in March? When did it ever rain in March? She wanted to scream. There was nobody in the car but her. It would be alright to scream. No one would hear her above the din of the rain and traffic. But she could not. It was not who she was. So she punched the horn twice. 

And then sighed.

She rested her forehead against the steering wheel. Something on the radio caught her attention. A song. She frowned and tilted her head to hear it better. She smiled. She turned the knob and strains of the song filled the car

Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh...kaha shuru kaha khatm…

The sun was setting against the balustrade of the small balcony. Raindrops hung like dim fairy lights from the patterned railing. Soft tendrils of smoke rose from dainty blue cups of chai. She was too young to have chai. She sat holding her cup of milk, feeling great about sharing this evening with the adults. They were talking. She did not remember much of the conversation. But she did remember that every now and then the conversation was punctuated with laughter. 

And sounds of the rain.

She just sat there grinning from ear to ear. Clueless about the conversation around her. Yet content to be among people who were so happy. She remembered how her mother’s bangles jingled softly every time she lifted the cup to her lips. The way her father affectionately tousled her hair every now and then. 

And she remembered the song. 

She remembered the soft melody of the song filtering on to their little balcony. She still remembered how her father’s face beamed with mischief. He pulled her mother to her feet and just like that they burst into a dance. It was no choreographed performance. But she remembered thinking how beautiful they looked together. 

She could still see her mother throwing her head back and laughing as her father tried to sing along. He had then let go of her mother and stooped to pick her up. He danced along with her. It was the best dance ever. She had laughed and laughed. 

And she had fallen in love with the rain.

The last strains of the song faded and the RJ shrieked in the closed confines of the car. She smiled and turned the volume down. She looked around. Nothing had changed. The truck was still next to her, the car still in front of her. 
But something was different.
She no longer felt like punching the horn.