Thursday, January 20, 2005

Stolen Moments

It is early dusk. The horizon is darkening. Clouds are moving slowly across the skies. A gentle breeze caresses my cheeks. Hope it rains today, but after my husband reaches home. He has not taken his raincoat, u see.
I like looking out from the balcony of our flat. It faces a broad guage railway line, so every now and then a train rumbles by. In the beginning, as soon as we shifted to this flat, my kids and myself would rush to the balcony to watch the train passing. My kids wave to the passengers, and sometimes they wave back. Now of course, its been 5 years, and Im so used to it, that sometimes, I hardly notice the trains.

The other day, as I stood watching in my balcony, I heard a commotion from the tracks. A woman was crying and running along the tracks. A girl of abt 12-13 years was running after the woman, crying and talking at the same time. Another man was also following, seemingly trying to pacify the woman. What I gathered was, the woman , after some domestic tiff perhaps, had crossed her point of tolerance, and had taken the drastic decision to end her life. The girl- obviously her daughter - was alarmed, and was trying to persuade her mother to revoke her decision, while the man-her husband was also trying to make amends!

They ran along the tracks, and I stood watching them, with mixed feelings. I felt so helpless. I could hear a train rumbling in the distance. I was worried, the desperate family was now out of sight and I hoped that the woman had changed her decision. The train soon rumbled past, and I never got to hear of any untoward incident. I was relieved.

Some weeks ago, it was around 10.30- 11 pm . It was raining rather heavily, and the kids had already gone to bed. My husband and me stood in the balcony sipping hot black coffee. We were just enjoying the coolness of the air, and the sting of the hot coffee in our throats. It had been rather sultry the past few weeks and the rains were welcome. The fragrance of the wet earth was refreshing. Suddenly my husband gestured to me to look down. (We are on the first floor). Curious, I looked to where he pointed, and what I saw remains etched in my mind. Our neighbour downstairs- a woman in her early thirties, rather plump, first cautiously looked around the colony to see if anybody was watching ( she did not think of looking up) and then reassured that nobody was watching, stretched her arms on either sides and just went round dancing in circles, enjoying the rain lashing down on her. Her daughter was running behind her holding out an umbrella. This lady, who was otherwise a rather solemn, silent kind of person, here was an unexpected, amazing facet to her persona. We were enchanted by the sight, and we have never let her know that we had witnessed her stolen moments of joy and exuberance.

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