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She was an NRI….one of those Non Resident Idiots..sorry.. Indians ,who get impressed by the sweet- talking smart and mostly cunning resident Indians who not only know how to weave a mean tale but also how to make you hang on to their every word like it was the ultimate Gospel!!!!
She was definitely one of the believers, suckered into coming to a new land which promised her quality education at a steal and lured her into packing her bags, saying goodbye to all those sensible friends who were boarding the gates to promised lands while she trudged scared and wary to that which led her to Indian soil.
By the end of three years in a Godforsaken college which definitely graduated and found her some good friends and experience, she was more ready for the world!!!! She had been ragged, bullied, been made fun of because of her American accent, danced, laughed, hung out freely, bunked classes for a movie and burger, bought Rs. 5 worth of tops from portable stalls in every market, lost 10kgs weight from skipping the cockroach-infested meals in hostel……..lived a fairly typical college life in other words.
The icing on the cake was when she gave up her dreams of a career and plunged into marriage immediately after college….unknowing, unprepared, scared, hopeful, taking solace in the fact that even if she didn’t know where she was going to, at least she knew whom she was going with!!!!!
And life began….er, sort of????
Her new home was a 200 yr old British house in the middle of a cantonement left behind by the British…a fact that saved her marriage…for she was not prepared mentally or cut out for a life in a small town that time and the modern world seemed to have forgotten!!! It was a bygone era , a trip back in time , a culture shock! It was the spacious grounds and the space it gave her for some solitude, away from prying eyes that were the saving grace!
I guess the romantic notions of newly weds who walk around wearing rose colored glasses blinding them to reality carries them across every obstacle or hurdle smiling and never losing hope!!!! And so it was!!!! Undeterred she dealt with all, primitive, cass, painful, fun, alien!!!!! Dealt well ,she thought and patted herself every night, looking back on the days events.
For the first time , soon it rained!!!! The huge garden that she had slowly cleaned up and landscaped into some semblance of order was green again, the smell of wet mud rose through the air… a fragrance more romantic than any perfume in the world….there was a word for this…ahhhh yes…Petrichor, I believe the term is…she was definitely a petrichor fan!
As she stood in the doorway that first time it rained in her new home, she was reminded of the weather back home where it rained often and everything was green and colorful…nostalgia welled up and her perpetually lurking homesick tears fell again!!
Her self-indulgence didnt last long for she was shocked out of feeling pitiful by what was suspiciously a huge drop of water falling on her shoulder…couldn’t be…she was indoors and there was no way that rain was known to turn a corner…or so she thought!!
There it was again…plop…on her head this time! She looked up in disbelief, studying the 200 yr old wooden beam , mud and tiled roof… the bent beams had bravely held up the roof for many a day but now two of them seemed to be protesting against all that nature had dealt them out…I guess even architecture has a tolerance level and this one was at the end of its tether! A huge wet patch had built up just above where she stood , another drop of water pulling away from the surface and preparing to give in to gravity. The brick floor had already started forming puddles and as she sploshed through one she realized that she had to do something!!
She dragged herself out of her shock and realizing this wasn’t looking good, she darted into the kitchen, pulling out a pan and rushed to the wet zone, meticulously placing it just under the spot on the roof from where the water seemed to dripping through…..success…it now went plop plop into the pan instead of the floor. She was quite proud of herself!
Right across the room another daring drop of rain made its way through the mud, tiles and onto the floor. This time she didn’t waste time standing agape and quickly scurried in and out of kitchen again with another pan in hand. Mission accomplished…she had saved the day!!
All this activity had made her realize it was loo time and as she made her way through the house towards the washroom a sonata of music notes seemed to ring in her ears….ping, pong, plop, whish, toing, ting!!!…unfortunately Mozart hadn’t arisen from the grave but the leakage problem had certainly taken on grave proportions!!
Every corner of the house seemed to have turned into a tiny waterfall….water had collected on the floor of practically every room , smattered onto the sofas and even one bed .In dismay and panic she ran around placing pots, pans,buckets, bowls and every conceivable utensil in the house under every dripping spot……she soon ran out of utensils but the rain refused to abate!! Nothing seemed to be helping!! Despairing she gave up and plonked herself on a chair overtaken by disbelief! Was this really happening???
Five minutes later, her husband partially wet , came running in calling out her name.” Isnt this weather wonderful?” he was exclaiming, but cut his speech short when he saw her all distraught, surrounded by utensils, an expression more contorted with dismay than the first time she saw a snake in the garden…a survivor of a war zone!!!
He was suspended in the doorway as she raised her beseeching eyes towards him as if saying “But I tried…is this for real??” for a second, before he allowed a tiny smile to escape his lips. He had obviously been through this scenario many a time and was most amused to see her state. His smile turned into a grin and she watched in anger as it turned into a guffaw!!! How could he be laughing right now? She looked around to see if a pan could be spared from any spot so she could throw it at his head but she quickly realized that the scene around her really was quite comical!! Her anger slowly melted and humor surfaced! Soon they were both bending over clutching their stomachs at the ridiculous nature of their predicament!! So this was what life was going to deal out to her in addition to everything else! Thank God, being young and newly married somehow gives you more tolerance and the ability to find the silver lining in most things!