I can’t sleep.
I can hear the wind chimes down the corridor, their glassy tinkle penetrating through the closed door and the iron grills. A strong, rather cyclonic wind is whistling and huffing heavily through the streets, bending the trees over, sending the raindrops slanting across the sunshades and the windows. It has been raining incessantly since last night. The few pauses, when they do come, don’t really last long. The cars and the trucks are splashing through the thin film of water on the roads. The eighteenth floor does give you a good vantage point.
After having been sleepless all night and going to bed at four in the morning, only to realise that I wasn’t sleepy yet, my roommate and I rose at seven, planning to pick up another of our flatmates returning from a week-long visit to India. My roommate was equally sleepless, thanks to a phone call at midnight that left her wide awake till morning. We picked up my laptop, fished about for flight schedules, and found the flight number, only to realise the plane had already landed, and getting through a couple of calls later, she asked us not to come all the way- she was already starting for home. While all this transpired, we were already in the elevator, and deciding that it would be a waste of dressing up and perfectly good weather, we went for a walk.
The weather was truly marvellous- a fresh, cold breeze was blowing, the rain had just stopped, and thin, white, filmy clouds were floating across a grey sky, just touching the tops of the trees in the distance. We promptly went crazy. (My roommate and I are normally considered the craziest people at home, for our tendency to set off and go nowhere on our own, not to be overly sentimental, not to be saccharine-sweet girlish- we were just living up to the label.) I had been wanting to go out on those open green areas that stretch out beyond where the eye can see, which I liken, perhaps ignorantly, to the moors. Impulsive that we both were, we crossed the road over to the grassy area, almost running up the slope, feeling the wind and the rain in our bones. I cannot begin to describe the sense of freedom I felt there, standing against the wind, turning in every direction to look at incredible beauty. Then the rain started falling softly, and we made our way home slowly, allowing the wind to ruffle our hair and make our clothes flutter.
Approaching our building by a rather normal route than usual, we had a call from our returning flatmate saying she’d already arrived, and would we please come and open the door for her. We cut the long walk short and rushed back up the elevator, to find her laden with bags, looking fresh and comforted by the trip back home, and rather unwilling, naturally, to set off for work in the afternoon.
I hadn’t slept all night. I made an attempt to go to sleep on the sofa. I couldn’t, as the girls kept coming in one after another, looking for something or talking. I tried watching the rain, hoping it would lull me to sleep. No good. I read for a while. My eyes grew tired, but sleep still evaded me. After a long while, just as I was dozing off, I heard an uproar in the kitchen. My roommate came and broke the news to me- our electric cooker had just stopped working. I am the eternal optimist, though. I told her it was a blessing the cooker belonged to us and not to the landlady. Also, we have enough chapati and rum-raisin chocolate to last us a day. Why worry?
The rain still hasn’t stopped falling, the cars have had their headlights on since last night. The weather is lovely, and instead of curling up in bed with a book, I am setting off for work now. But oh, first I must have dinner. Dal-roti. Followed by chocolate.