It was more sudden than the most sudden thing one could think of. One second it was swelteringly hot, sweatily oppressive, a world of shimmering concrete, and just a nanosecond later it began to rain. Even before I could soak up the smell of mud, or rejoice in the coming of the monsoon, I realized I had not a scrap of anti-rain clothing with me, and sprinted to a nearby bus-stop. Unfortunately, half of my city’s population was in the same predicament and had the same idea, so I found myself a wee bit cramped. The bus stop, which had never been used as one before, (people here just wait around aimlessly, and when the bus arrives, there’s some sort of a mini-stampede cum id’ kill you to get in type scuffle) was suddenly home to about twenty-five of us, all in various degrees of wetness…
There was the bone dry man…he belonged to that rare breed of people who can sprint in the rain without getting wet. My idol, maybe because I get drenched even in a washbasin. Then there was the anxious human, ready with a half-unfurled umbrella, pants rolled, cellphone carefully wrapped in his handkerchief, prepared to beat the rains at its own game, staring at the sky with part awe, and part worry. Occupying the driest corner was a large family. The men stood in a protective circle around the women and children, resembling a herd of wildbeest on the African savannah, and all of them were eating noisily passing snacks from one end of their circle to the other. Their brats, unmindful of nature’s vagaries, were engaged in various activities and without much ado bawled, screeched and made enough noise to make you wish you were born deaf. The rest were a motley crowd of office going women, jamming cellular networks by frequently calling home barking thousand confused instructions to their children, ranging from the mundane “shut all the windows, no I don’t care if you suffocate, I’m not going to have pools of water everywhere” to the slightly bizarre “its raining, throw away all the food and start stringing the hall with clotheslines”
Our peaceful existence in the bus stop however, was rudely interrupted by a troika of ‘babes’, snobs, right down to their branded heels (sounding something like shooing a dog away). The babes cursed the rain, the clouds, and their fate (I just got my hair permed! Drat this *swear word* rain…What? Why do farmers want it to rain?) .Another one was seeing a bus stop for the first time”What’s this structure? Isn’t it cute? I’m going to ask papa to build one for us in the balcony”. Their leader had the sense to keep her cellphone dry and was frantically trying to reach her driver…The uncles of the large family had stopped crunching chips, stopped minding their little brats and were unabashedly looking at the ‘babes’. Their wives sensed the danger. Gathering their various children they began glaring at the babes, hard enough to burn a hole right through one of the babe’s freshly permed hair (which suspiciously resembled a wig, the girl’s tense expression and precarious demeanour only fuelled doubts).Working women’s association weren’t too pleased either, and began issuing a fresh set of instructions home “don’t get out unless you are wearing a burkha…”
By now everyone was getting fidgety, the intrepid slowly ventured out, and then began moving about, the safe ones decided to wait… Meanwhile a big car pulled up, as one of the babes uttered a shriek and ran pell-mell into it. The other two followed suit, looking immensely relieved. Slowly the rains abated. The world looked clean, and fresh. I stepped out, leaving behind me the human exhibition the bus-stop had become, with the delicious realization of the rains having arrived…
Minutes later, as the sun shone, the bus stop was deserted…as if it had never housed people in it.