Rain brings with her a mixture of emotions. My moods often vary as hers does.

A summer drizzle that tickles my nostrils with the scent of the parched earth soaking in rain drops fills me with joy. Summer is the season of mangoes and jackfruits and pomelos. The scattered showers accentuate the sweet scents of their blossoms. When I was a child, I watched many a summer shower from the shelter of the dense foliage of a tall pomelo tree.

In autumn, rain is a confusing concept, she makes me feel both hopeful and a little sad at the same time; sad that the summer has passed, and hopeful for the upcoming winter. Where I grew up, October showers are a spectacular occurrence. Rain falls in sheets, with the percussive accompaniment of thunder and a riveting lightning show. The purple sky splitting into shards of light is a sight one needs to see to believe. The thunder that rumbles in the mountains reverberates within you, deep within your soul.

In winter, rain  is a surprise,not always a pleasant one. She brings with her, a coat of fog that hides everything away. She darkens the sky and depresses me. Often the mood (mine and hers) lasts all day, and sometimes for several days, the whining wind, the cold drizzle, the mist … When it finally clears, the mornings dawn crisp and fresh and … heavenly.

Spring rain is a flighty creature. She arrives and departs in the blink of an eye, leaving the day light and airy. The only sign of her ever having been there, the tiny drops that glitter on the dancing petals. She is my favourite of them all, the enchantress who envelopes me in her hasty embrace before vanishing into the thin air …

In the midst of sadness and despair

Joy was nowhere to be found. Everywhere she looked, she saw only people in rags, crying, complaining about everything. It wasn’t their fault, really, she thought to herself, there wasn’t enough food or water to go around. She had lost count of how many days it has been since they have been stranded here. Death had been the only constant companion, arriving to claim someone every other day. She had lost count of the ones taken as well. She wondered if they might actually be at peace like all the religious books said. She hoped that they were, at least their misery has ended.

She walked to the edge of the clearing. Most of them were huddled in the centre, around the hastily concocted fireplace, relying on the dying embers and each other for warmth. She sat down by herself under one of the trees that lined the path to nowhere. She rested her back against its dense roots and looked back to where the others were. She wondered how many of them would survive this place. She wondered if she would. She wondered if any efforts were being made to find them. She leaned back and closed her eyes. She was hungry, cold and exhausted. She thought back to the day she left home, to the simple luxuries that she had taken for granted, like a soft bed and a hot shower, to the man she had met the night before who had seemed nice, to her parents who must surely be crazy with worry … It all seemed rather remote to her, almost as if they were images from another person’s life, which she seemed to be observing with mildly interested detachment. She sighed and turned her head to her side, as if the mild shake would dislodge these thoughts from her mind. All they would do was depress her further.

Her stomach growled, signalling the healthy appetite of a young woman. There was nothing to do about it. What food remained had been rationed and she had already had her share for the day. She decided to ignore her stomach. That had been her motto for the past few days, to blatantly ignore the things she can do nothing about, those phantoms that lurked above her head, above all of their heads, hunger, fear and death. She concentrated on her breathing, mimicking the breathing exercises she had seen in passing while switching channels on the television. She was drifting on that semi conscious bliss between sleep and wake when she was rudely interrupted by a light object falling on her face and then picking its way down her clothes. She startled awake and sat up, annoyed. She looked down to her lap and saw a tiny flower, yellow with a smattering of red freckles on its petals, still carrying the green vestige of its bud, delicate filaments poking through proudly almost like it was baring its teeth in a smile. A slow smile appeared on her face as she stared at the offending object. It widened and grew. She felt a relief that she hadn’t felt in days. It felt almost like a pleasant memory, of bright, warm, normal things. Amongst all this horror and death and ruin, in the midst of sadness and despair, here it was, one simple bloom, a tiny ray of light, a glimmer of hope, a testament to the fact that there is still life to be lived and beauty to be enjoyed. She felt as if a weight had lifted off of her shoulders.

The edge of forever

He started walking from the tree of knowledge. He didn’t want to see or think anymore. He hoped that the activity of walking and the associated fatigue will keep stray thoughts from invading his mind. It wasn’t until the needs of his body outweighed his need for no coherent thought that he stopped awhile. He looked around. He had reached the pond they called the sea. He sat down in the sand by its bank and tentatively reached out a hand to touch the water. But he couldn’t. As he reached his hand forward, the water seemed to recede. The further he extended his hand, the further the water receded. He sighed and gave up. He sat, staring at his reflection for a moment. His hair was matted, his eyes bloodshot and sunken, his face grimy and lined. He wondered, how long had it been that he had started walking, has it been days, months, years … He found that he didn’t mind having lost track of time at all. He raised his eyes to the horizon, the road lay spread out, far and wide. There was nothing of note to see around. He wondered, if it indeed was the way to go. He took a deep breath, braced his hands on the bank of the pond they called the sea, and thought to himself, perhaps this is it, the path to where he had set out for, the path to the edge of forever… He closed his eyes and dove in.

Circle in the sky

The circle in the sky was becoming bigger by the day. It seemed as if it was getting brighter as well. Minna wondered if she was the only one who noticed it. In all the old pictures and paintings, it had looked yellow. Her mother told her that it used to look like that back then. She didn’t know why it looked different now. So many things were different nowadays, her mother said that it is useless to worry about things that they couldn’t change.

The circle that appeared when it was dark hadn’t changed, though. The elders said that it was because the creatures who lived in it kept it safe. But the one in the light didn’t have that option, nobody lived there, although some people said that the creators used to. According to them, they had abandoned it right about the time everything started changing. Her grandfather said that even the climes were different now. When his grandfather was younger, the hot climes were shorter than it is now. Water from the sky was harder and whiter and lined the paths. He showed her a picture of his grandfather as a boy, holding a ball of the white stuff. The boy in the picture looked happy. It was difficult to think of him as her grandfather’s grandfather.

Minna had only ever known the hot climes, and the occasional water season. She had always loved the water season. Everything looked and smelled so fresh, and the heat abated, at least for a little while. Her mother always warned her not to get her head wet, so she would sit at the top of the entry channel of her home, with her feet dangling out and draw on the wet, cool, soil. But they didn’t have that many water seasons anymore. The past hot clime had lasted for more than one light turn. Now they had to go farther than before to collect water. Minna didn’t mind it that much, she liked the walk, but even after getting there, there was no guarantee that they’d find enough water for even a day. That made things a little difficult.

Every night as she lay in bed, Minna looked up at the little blinking lights in the sky. Her greatest wish was to see one of them up close one day. As she looked up at them today, her thoughts were much closer to home. She could tell that the elders were worried about these changes. She had come upon them whispering about something or the other. They would hastily switch topics and paste a smile on their faces when they saw children. But she had caught a few words in between, enough for her to realise that perhaps these changes weren’t entirely for the good. She had never thought about them so much before. This was just how everything was, and she had accepted them as they were. Although she did think it would’ve been fun to have the little chittering, flying creatures around, of whom her grandfather spoke at length about, or the white water. No one knew why they were gone, or if they will ever come back. All they knew was that it was getting hotter and that there wasn’t enough water anymore, and that it was because of the circle in the sky.

  • In response to prompt 1 of February writing prompts, circle in the sky.