The remnant portions of the tea stain was worth complaining but I stopped, noticing how the hands of the old man handling the counter shivered incessantly. I collected the clothes and walked to the house that had a door but no woman to open it and a forlorn rope in the balcony with five clips dangling, that missed the smell of smell washed clothes. As I unlocked the door, I thought of the trembling fingers of the old man once again. He wasn't the first helpless man I met today.
It was a week before Ma would return. .
Before I reached, some clothes got wet. I was seeing such heavy rains after a long time. Standing near the window and staring at the cliffs, it felt like yesterday that she was running to take clothes off the balcony when it rained. Couldnâ€™t believe it's two years since we were away from each other and my little girl is managing her married life.
While I was staring I received the call and heard, â€œMamma... Itâ€™s raining. You took clothes inside, right?â€
I could just utter, â€œMissing you, dear.â€
She replied: â€œMe too, mamma.â€
And we both felt nostalgic..
The rain pouring outside
The ones we kept a hold on were inside
A year has passed,
the drops wet us more and more
with each passing second
We yet hold on strong to make sure
we stay here till the end.
But that matters no more because
they've left the house
carrying all non-livings but us.
If we failed to serve enough
or we were as frivolous
as a blunder.
Rains yet remind us of them
But we're glad in this world
we 5 friends stay tied together on same string.
That's what life is all about I guess
Finding reasons to be grateful though in mess.
We voted in the peak of summer, in the heat of the sun,
To lead our country, make decisions, we get someone.
A drama that spread from North to South, East to West,
We checked everyone, and evaluated all for the best.
When all was done, we patiently watched and waited,
We were keen to know, anxious to hear with breath baited.
When the news was out, there was disappointment, confusion,
Looks like democracy, corruption, bad luck were in collusion
After all this, irony, this was our precarious predicament,
In the monsoon session, we again had a hung parliament.
Hung upside down, they were talk of the town,
Four were somber, but one of them was a clown.
Oh man, this will be a lot of pain, not again,
The stupid one has left us to dry in the rain.
The somber ones cried only to get wetter,
They thought it would make them feel better
The clown though meanwhile could only smile,
The others thought he had intentions wile.
They asked why so bright and why so radiant,
Replied, I can't help it, I am abled different.
Oh!! now, what will four citizens say,
To judge others, is their only game play.
Hung from the same string of life,
They mock other people's strife.
Though measuring it all in money,
Green will say itâ€™s not about it honey.
Lighter green will be about culture,
Every action, it will eye like a vulture.
The blue will talk all about the law,
You canâ€™t hide, he has a long claw.
The orange is all about who rules,
In lust of power his tongue drools.
These are the proverbial four citizens,
On fifth who pile miseries by the dozens..
Looking at the clothes peg, it always reminded him of the fateful rainy day, when his sister had called their mother at work, asking her to come home immediately because she had consumed poison.
By the time he and amma had reached home, his sister had left for heavenly gates.
Amma's heart broke and never mended. The previous night Amma had scolded her, "Will you die if you remove the dry clothes from the terrace?" It had started to rain.
Sister had taken it to heart and taken the extreme step out of anger.
Hey!! It's almost 11 and Mummy is still not out to hung clothes, whispered red clothespin to the one in blue. Is it because of the rains, he quipped.
Blue clothespin paused and then replied, Everyone at home rushed Daddy to hospital. Mummy is in the temple since morning.
It glanced from the slits of the curtain to look at her.
Mummy, oblivious of time, was still maintaining eye contact with God. Clothespin did not understand much but it knew she was talking to God.
The rain outside matched the tears in the eyes of mom..
Iâ€™m the odd one out, Iâ€™m blessed.
I have the calibre to think
Out of the Box, not like the rest.
Thinking doing something for real,
Zeal of it makes me feel so clear
The fear of not achieving it doesnâ€™t make me queer.
I canâ€™t quit, until I try,
Thatâ€™s how I want to live until I die.
You donâ€™t give up breath when you choked,
Why not laugh at yourself when you are joked?
Not all the things I did has made me feel proud
But thatâ€™s out loud the best of me up till now.
One fine evening, they decided to hang out together
A serene evenfall with soppy weather
Oranges, blues, greens and red
Ensconced on the finest flaxen twisted polypropylene thread
The surprise downpour resulted in the untimely break
While the robes rested indoors for drynessâ€™s sake
Isnâ€™t our life strange they said
Purpose built to hang by a thread
Two pairs we have altogether
Driven by fulcrum, the stresser
A pair in animus, always being north and nether
A pair being eternal lovers always trying to get together
Making us eternally suffer by design
Being useless with the strain in resign.
â€˜Haunted!â€™ she whimpered. â€˜This house.â€™
Suman pitied his sister. â€˜Sure?â€™ Tried sounding casual.
â€˜The clips,â€™ her finger trembled, pointing at the clothesline. â€˜Go closer. Notice something odd?â€™
He did. The odd clip! â€˜Proves nothing,â€™ he shrugged.
â€˜I keep throwing away odd ones,â€™ her voice trembled. â€˜They keep re-appearing. Within minutes!â€™
â€˜Someone putting them back?â€™ A confident query.
â€˜I throw them down 20 floors. Canâ€™t put back in minutes.â€™
â€˜So the odd clip reappears.â€™ Puzzling.
â€˜No. The odd clip is mine. Rest four reappear.â€™
Suman stared, baffled. Floors below, he saw four kids playing.
Heavy rains. Yet none were wet!
Rainy evening. Introductions started.
Proud-orange said, â€˜Held rarest fossils in museums.â€™
â€˜Clutched queenâ€™s robes in palace,â€™ Smug-blue followed.
â€˜Held presidentâ€™s banner,â€™ Chirpy-green chimed.
â€˜Clenched Worldâ€™s best photographs,â€™ Haughty-dark concluded.
Rusty-red was calm all along. â€˜Held broken toys in kidâ€™s toy store!â€™ finally boomed, proud. No response. â€˜Insignificant!â€™ rest silently pitied. Just then lightning flashed. Maid rushed out, muttered, â€˜Theyâ€™ll get rusty!â€™ Sealed all the clips in a plastic bag. All except Rusty-red. Hung the bag and let Rusty-red clutch it.
All looked up. He was smiling. They were just like broken toys to him now.
He felt important, significant..
That was the day. Job opening in kingâ€™s court. The new ministerâ€™s post. 5 contestants were finalised by the elder minister. â€˜The last test. 5 clips hung on clothesline in kingâ€™s balcony. Choose the most important of all. You got 2 hours.â€™
Dispersed, analysed, reassembled.
â€˜Red,â€™ said one. â€˜Looks unique!â€™ Rejected.
â€˜Green,â€™ rumbled the next. â€˜Holds kingâ€™s robes!â€™ Rejected.
â€˜Blue! Highnessâ€™ favourite colour.â€™ Rejected.
Next one stayed silent, puzzled.
â€˜Yellow,â€™ the last one smiled gracefully.
Heads turned, stunned, bewildered. Then it sunk in. Slowly.
â€˜The clothesline!â€™ someone gasped.
Minister smiled. â€˜The most important! No clip hangs without it!â€™ Recruited..
"Mummy, I like the red one with double rounds."
"Are you sure?"
"Blue one! No, I like them both."
"Ok. Let one colour be magenta."
"Mummy, I also like the background buildings in grey."
"Ok. Let the other one be stone-grey. Now before he fancies more colours, send it to the press."
As the head-of-the-state made the announcement, her lips curved at the thought of possible chain-of-events under her regime. And it dropped as quickly.
Things were changing, she thought, dialling the emergency contact. She hoped the disaster recovery plan had enough contingencies built-in. .