The wistful wait
How excruciatingly slow the hands of the clock face move! The second hand, absurdly, seemed to move the slowest of all. The pitter-patter of rain outside the window, on the grounds and on the corrugated roof, all seemed to mock the laziness of that treacherous hand.
If it was any other day, Shimtana would have leant out the window and let the rain splashing on the window sill glisten on her folded arms. She would have been humming her favourite rain song, 'Borisho dhara majhe shantir o bari'. Not today. Today all she can hear is the slow ticking.
As she gazed at the curtain of rainfall outside her window, she smiled at the irony of her not noticing the rain because of the agony of waiting for him. All those years ago, it was he who made her fall in love with rainfall, in a country more wet than dry.
It was early monsoon when he called her out one evening, when the clouds overhead were threatening to unleash their burden on the parched lands below.
They grew up in the same neighbourhood, and were part of the same group of playmates. The thirteen-year old Shimtana went out to join Rehan, who is a year older. “What do you want? It's going to rain. I can't be outside when it's raining,” she protested. Rehan didn't answer; he just walked down the road towards his house, playing it cool. Shimtana followed, as he knew she would.
“Where is everybody else?” she asked.
“Rahel and Sajid can't get out because of their results, Rabeya and Tipu are not home. Don't know about the others.” Rehan replied without looking at her. He led her past his house to the field where they played, in the middle of which was an expansive banyan tree. They made it to the tree amid a light drizzle, which broke into an all out downpour by the time they took shelter.
For the next hour, the two just sat there looking at nature replenishing her wares; the soft, shrouded evening light lending a glow to the colours already made vivid by the rain. Rehan got wet when he ventured out into the field to pick up stones. Shimtana stayed under the shelter of the tree, because she did not want to get in trouble at home. She cannot remember what they talked about; just that it was one of the most memorable experiences of her life. She fell in love with the rain, and much else besides.
The clock striking five jolted her out of her reverie. Rehan's mother had told Shimtana's mother that he would be coming from the airport at five. The rain was still pelting the earth outside. She stared a while at the ceiling, where the shimmering reflection of a puddle outside her window danced to the music of the deluge.
Two years had gone by since they last saw each other. Would it be the same? Will he still smile at her from the pavement in front of her house? Was she the same person that he knew? She wanted to throw a book at that mocking, ticking clock.
When she heard the distant horn of Rehan's family's car, she lay still in her bed. She dared not get up. A minute or two passed, and she heard the car splashing past her house. She slowly got to her feet, and coming to the window, she realised that this evening closely resembled that one. She leant on the awning, and could hear the shutting of car doors, and the muffled, joyful cries of his mother.
She turned away from the window, but at the last second, decided to have another look. She saw him. Drenched in the rain - as he was at the field that evening - he had walked to her house, and was standing on the pavement looking at her. He smiled, and stood there for a minute, with two sets of eyes locked amid smiles and giggles. Then he left, and she began humming her song.
By Fancy Daisy
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Styling: Maheen Khan
Make up: Farzana Shakil
Ensemble: Selim Ahmed Dhara
Jewellery: Maheen Khan’s personal collection