November 22, 2013 @ 6:27 pm
by Dhimant Parekh
On a darkly grey evening, I was on my way to the nearest bus stop when the clouds decided they could hold on no longer. The rain burst onto the asphalt in this residential area. A shop across the road had a large glass window and thankfully above that window was a slight bit of shelter under which I could keep myself dry. A few minutes later, another pedestrian came running towards this shop, wiping his handkerchief over his eyes and shaking his head in disgust. He continued to use his kerchief to wipe his face while he stood next to me.
A little later, a motorcyclist stopped his bike on the road in front of us, and keeping his helmet in tact, jogged over to where we were standing. The little shelter that we had was enough for the three of us and could accommodate one more person, should he find himself loitering around in this part of the town. The three of us continued to watch the drops of rain batter the road, each of us being lost in our own little drier worlds as the sound of rain enveloped everything else outside.
And then, a cow trotted over, evidently deciding that getting wet wasn’t all that fun anymore. It came to the side of the motorcyclist, who had by now removed his helmet, and gently got its head below the shelter. While the rest of its body was out in the rain, the cow seemingly only wanted its head to be under the shelter (and that was the only space available). The motorcyclist clearly took a liking to this and kept caressing the cow, intermittently turning his caresses into some praying gesture. The cow took a further few steps into the shelter and we three men got packed in closer. Every now and then the cow would raise its head towards the motorcyclist who would in turn touch the cow’s forehead.
On the other side of the road, we suddenly notice a auto rickshaw with a young girl who was gesturing frantically at the driver, vaguely pointing in all directions and sometimes at us. The auto rickshaw slowed down, took a U-turn and stopped in front of us on the road. The girl brandished her mobile phone, pointed at us, and then suddenly screamed at us – “You don’t mind na?”
I suppose the other two men didn’t get why she was taking a snap. I was thinking perhaps it was the wet hair and a day-old stubble of mine that still had the magnetic property to attract a random girl in an auto rickshaw to stop wherever she was planning to go and take a picture of me. But none of us figured out how to respond.
“You don’t mind?” she asked again, moving the mobile to the side of her face as the rain blurred everything around.
“What’s it for?” I shouted out, since I do value my privacy to a certain extent.
“Generally,” she replied back.
That was satisfactory, and I shouted back “Sure”. She clicked, slid the phone in her bag and off she went.
“Facebook ke liye hoga,” the pedestrian with the kerchief turned to me and said with a smile. And then it dawned on me as I looked around to see what scene had taken the girl’s fancy. Three men huddled together with a cow, all of them taking shelter from the rain. Definitely a Facebook moment there.
The motorcyclist continued his divine tryst with the cow while I dismantled my wet-hair-and-stubble-theory quickly as the rain sputtered on. For that moment, we four were all in one world, in one picture. The rain finally stopped and each of us found our way back to our own individual worlds, to our own individual pictures.