May I take you away with me? Solitude seemed to ask me in the quietest whisper…


I felt my heart smile. Hadn’t I been waiting to do just that?


I sat comfortably in the verandah with my legs hanging out, touched oh-so-very-lightly by the torrential rains, just enjoying the light breeze and the overcast sky. There was an unexplained satisfaction in watching the puddles fill, with an almost empty cup of tea by my side as my sole companion. 


Ameen Sayani’s distinguished timbre played over muted music…recorded segments that sat well with the weather and primarily, in settling my head. 


My head… 


There were times that I could swear it was no longer there. As for my heart- it seemed to have switched to cruise control in the past six months. Instinctively, I looked behind me. Right behind me was the window to my daughter’s room. 


Her eyes were closed, and, in the minute, she looked peaceful, regardless of the tubes sticking out of her. 


Cancer. How had it found its way into my home?  Right after both of us lost the anchor of our lives. 


My beautiful wife, her hardy mother. 

She left before I could learn anything from her. I hobbled my way into each day. 

There were things I had never done before and things I had only done occasionally. 

But I did them anyway. 

I had gathered myself rather quickly to take care of my daughter. I fed her, changed her bedpan, gave her sponge baths, and changed her clothes. On the few days she could get over her nausea and keep some of the food down, I felt euphoric- it was like she had learned to walk again. 


Disinfecting the entire house for her compromised immunity was another daily chore. Sometimes it wore me out but most times it kept me distracted and preoccupied. Daughters always take care of their fathers, don’t they? 


Mine did every day. I was constantly engaged with life even when it seemed dangerously fickle. Me and my tenacious angel pushed through each day. 


Sayani’s mellifluous voice lured me back into its lair. The downpour seemed to get heavier. At times, it felt like the heavens were throwing buckets of water at me. For fun.


Felt much like life at present. 


However, my adherence to simple pleasures in life always kept my head above water. I enjoyed monsoons, tea, and the radio thoroughly. It was magic, afterall 

The reverberating din from the rain felt much like my head though. Constantly busy and struggling with direction. But even this water burst held great promise, as I saw it. A promise not of a solution but of life itself. 


I leaned back a little, resting my body on my arms behind me. Some memories came flooding in. All of them sitting on the verandah, as a family, watching it pour, talking about nothing or everything, my wife singing, my child playing with her dollhouse, picking up samosas, and having lots of tea to go with the weather. 


Tea. Another one of my perennials. I looked down at the cup which felt icy now. Picking it up, I held it mid-air for a while before taking a sip of the now-cold brew. 


I closed my eyes. The babel sounded loud and infinite. I smiled at the fallacy.


I knew, after a point, the world and its cacophony would dissipate into a tiny dot and all that would stay would be the sound of raindrops hitting some roofing sheet-Patra somewhere close, the faint noise of rickshaws and scooters out on the street and the soul-stirring music from another time and era. 


Sayani introduced another song, his sophisticated baritone elevating everyone, even seemingly calming the turbulent whiplash of rains to a telling pause. As for me- a perpetual audience- I dispersed for a while in the magic of radio and its host even as the unruly weather hypnotized me, willing time to stand still for just then….



So many seasons and familiar reasons and yet this man grabbed Time’s attention. It wasn’t his tragedy that seemed to halt the wheel but his casual wholehearted acceptance of it. His willingness to move on with no fuss at all. 

Time had lost count of how many times it would look at this man, and briefly pause. It would watch with an unbecoming stillness – this man on the verandah, his cup of tea long forgotten and his mind several galaxies away, appearing for all good purposes- meditative and calm, holding a poignant half-smile as he absorbed all this transient wealth without seeming to get bored of it, marveling at its abundance without a trace of greed and letting it sit with him in him. 

Time knew that just as easily he would let all of it fly away, but how it stilled him where the world was restless, running in circles trying to find it and then hold it. 

Time knew, from wisdom as old as itself that man would never understand wealth until he stilled, and yet man never knew that he had to stop running to find it.



I smiled a little, then chuckled lightly at a joke Sayani relayed. I had heard it several times before and yet it never failed to make me smile. It also meant the program was almost over. My tea-stained cup looked at me dolefully. But life beckoned and as long as it stayed with you, you had to stay with it…


“Aha … Yahin toh hain woh surmahi manbhavan yaadein. Jee haan , yahin…”


I felt Time cross over several generations and return to the present. Gratitude lapsed into another smile, and I doffed my invisible hat at it. 



Time watched as the man dragged himself back into his world and smiled, acknowledging his mark of respect. Both friends returned to life …. an unspoken promise between them to meet when a window into the recesses of time would be needed again while incoherent life continued to exist…




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One Comment

  1. Akshata I love how you bring your characters to life. This story very simply provides some support on how to accept what life brings to us and how to still have a life after a tragedy. Thanks for creatively showing the way. I am sure many readers would learn valuable lessons on life from this one.

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