Tip tip..tap tap…tip tip Baarish shuru ho gayi. The song played at full volume on Radio Mirchi in the colony at South Mumbai as water plopped on the muddy pool at the basement. Avanti slowly opened her palm to grab drop of water inside the moist hands, winked at the sky with a playful smile on her face. Rustom stood at the balcony, wearing a white muslin Sudreh, and hands pressed on the metal handrail, to admire her from a distance. He enjoyed staring at the open sky and the sudden rains that brings a whiff of romance. Rustom always dreamed of love the good ole’ way, walking and holding the hands of a special someone to brace the rain. Avanti was oblivious to Rustom who was smitten with her charm, divine smile and how she ran down the wooden floor, swaying to the rain and soaking in water, her hair grew thick wearing her trade mark, the white Salwar Kameez.
Rustom sat cross-legged on the wooden chair and sketched the portrait of Avanti, who was dancing in the rain and trotting her steps to gaze at the sky. She is his prayer, muse and meditation. He longed to see her, breaking free and showing her true spirit, wild and dare, at the start of every monsoon. The sky wore shades of darkness during the afternoon. Thunder and lightning shook the Parsi locality at Mumbai Central where young kids cycled their way back in the dingy lane to snuggle in the comfort of their homes. The braver ones stayed outside the row of houses that formed a rectangle on the huge area, to play marble and cricket.
Suddenly, the rain roared to life and droplets rattled the window sills. Footsteps were heard descending the wooden stair. Rustom sprang to life and pushed his way past the flowery curtain to wade his way at the balcony, that gave an aerial view of life at Dinshaw cottage. The pressure cooker blew like siren and perfume of food wafted in the air. Loud whistles brought the Parsi colony alive and crackers fizzled, as the rain played spoil sport. Sachin has scored a century to win the nerve-wracking final against Pakistan at the Lords. The entire nation are glued to their TV screen. The residents jumped and effervescent voices could blow the Dinshaw cottage apart. Celebration has just started and unbridled voices sang with passion at full volume, ‘Ooh aah, India..aaya India…Maara re sixer.’
Avanti whose hair was combed in knot, closed her eyes and a feeble smile surfaced at the edge of her lip. Her cheeks reddened. She longed for the love of her Knight in shining armor that would mount on the galloping horse to carry her in heaven. Water gently kissed her forehead and slathered on her lip. A loud sound was heard where folks chanted, ‘Sachin! Sachin! Sachin! India! India! India!. Rustom’s eyes were closely following Avanti.
She thrust her legs and unfazed by the white pyjamas, tapered to the ankle and the slim fitted Salwar to her thin body, danced passionately with a large smile. She looked like a Goddess consumed by the fury of passion and trance. She bore her soul out, crossed and swung her arms open, rotated her whole body to celebrate India’s victory. Rustom let himself loose and was drawn by Avanti’s energy, found himself aping her movements. She suddenly stopped in her track at the sight of Rustom dancing madly and eyes fixed on her. “Oh! No! This fellow has been watching me dance like a pagli and is imitating my movements. Is he the one? No for love cannot happen like that?”
They stood and looked at each other for few seconds, emotions flowed through their eyes. He smiled at her, consumed by her inner beauty and flawlessly divine face. Avanti turned back and smiled coyly to him. She covered her face with the hands, turned and smiled a second time in Rustom’s direction before she ran up the stairs. Rustom closed the curtain and walked back to his study.