Absence of punctuality. He was even ready to kill on meeting the person who is famous for being late. He said, if you are late in your endeavors, I might as well add the word ‘late’ to your salutation. But, he knew not, that one day he himself will be late, at least, by his standards.It was his interview day for the dream job he has been dreaming about when not asleep. He was confident he will get the job. He was determined to not be late for the interview. He wore up early in the morning and got ready half an hour prior to when he should have ideally gotten ready, for reaching his destination an hour in advance. He liked to filter in reasons titled ‘unknown delaying phenomena’, to substantiate his excuse of being early. In fact, he was usually so early, that one day he had travelled back in time to reach the destination appreciably in advance. So, he got into his car and raced off towards his interview venue.
But the heaven opened midway. Not a problem for him it was, for he liked rain. He sang merrily to the beats produced by rain striking against the roof of his car. But a problem was awaiting him. The sudden rain has clogged up several drains ahead of him. These drains by now had overflown merrily with no worries of stopping. He also had a similar ‘thing’ about cleanliness as he did with punctuality. He simply could not live with the absence of either. To amplify cleanliness, he was known to buy mops to mop the mops he used to mop his floor with. When he saw that the water from drain was about to start kissing the exteriors of his car, he simply stopped his car, dead in the tracks and waited for the water to recede, which obviously, did not. He was in a dilemma. A dilemma to either be dirty but still be on time for the interview or wait to proceed clean while losing his quality of punctuality. He waited and waited and waited to the point where only a few minutes was left before the interview commenced. Then he started moving. His car was enveloped in sewage for a second and then it emerged victorious, yet black and smelly. Time too was running out. He reached the office with just one minute to spare, the interview room with one second to spare and wished the interviewers good morning with one millisecond to spare. Even though, he himself was not dirty and he himself was not late, he had a crushing feeling that both of those were a lie.
His interview went well and he was offered his dream job, which he now dreamed about when he was asleep. This taught him something. It taught him that his hyper-ritualistic hypo-realistic yearnings of punctuality and cleanliness were nonsensical. And rain had taught that to him. He was happy again. Rain had made him happier now.
As we grow older, rain starts to seem like a teacher. Someone, who has not changed ever since the beginning, someone who has not altered her miraculous properties. Someone who has never ceased to be inspiring. Someone rather than something. As we grow even more older, we see people leaving us, luck leaving us and sometimes money leaving us. But rain never leaves us. It always comes back every rainy season and wets us awkwardly.
When we are very old and our bed becomes our universe, we start to acknowledge the smell of rain. The smell of wet soil. The smell of rushing drains, well, maybe not. But surely, the smell of heavenly water itself.
And one fine day, we ascend. We ascend high up to the level from where rain originated. On our route to heaven, we briefly peep into the clouds, with an intention to find out how rain looks in the factory. And what we see surprises us. We do not see fluffy clouds laden with moisture. Instead, we find old wise men and women, much like us, sitting there. This brings back our childlike curiosity. We take a right turn and start moving towards these old people.
We have never even thought of the possibility of seeing people sitting on the clouds, let alone hope to see houses and buildings upon them. But there they were. Hidden from our view by the mighty clouds themselves.
We approach the first person we find. An old lady perhaps. We ask her about herself and everyone else around, who was not herself.
She says, she was your classmate!Her final moments were spent a year ago. And ever since, she has inhabited this grand cloudy community along with everyone else who had ceased to live.
All of a sudden, we find our best friend, whom we had lost recently, running towards us and every mystery reveals itself in a flash. We understand what paradise really was. A community in the clouds! That’s where everybody who died, lived. The fact that everybody we knew, everybody dear, did not leave us forever, brings immeasurable joy to our mind.
Ecstatic and nervous, we feel the need to go to the washroom. Because, in the old age, controlling it is difficult.
Our friend points us to the washroom. Just when we are about to walk in, we read a signboard, “Thank You for Contributing Towards Rain.” We hear the thunder because we now know, what that heavenly fluid descending from the clouds and drenching our clothes and wetting our hair and faces, really was!
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