A strong gust of wind blows a fine spray of rain into my rapidly cooling coffee. People break into a run past me and unfurl umbrellas as the drops begin to fall faster and harder, drumming out a staccato on helplessly flailing leaves. I walk steadily on, bareheaded; I want to feel the rain. A Cappuccino can be easily bought anytime; the fragrance of moist earth and the numbing sting of a heavily-falling raindrop cannot.
The bus drives out as sheets of rain sweep the freshly tarred roads; I wipe the vapour off the glass and create myself a little window to the world. Is there dust on my palm? I don’t give it much thought and the hand sanitiser stays in my bag for a change. The tiny restaurants by the road lose the relative normalcy of daylight and take on the semblance of nondescript roadside shacks (populated by burly, moustachioed truck drivers drinking glasses of steaming tea, if you choose to imagine them into your fancies as well) that materialise amidst nothingness on mostly deserted highways. On the curving expressway, high above the sprawling city, a smattering of water-smudged lights appears in the distance. Sudden flashes of lightning streak the brooding sky and startle decrepit dark buildings into momentary life. A tube light flickers on half-heartedly inside the bus, like the watery smile on the face of one trying to tell a lie while doubting its efficacy.
The rain slows down, comes to a complete halt- and when the bus takes a turn off the expressway, nothing remains but the sweeping curves traced on the dust of the window-pane by impatient fingers- yes, there was dust on it, and I look hesitantly at my hand. The road is bone-dry but for a few slushy puddles and water collected in some crevices, like memories left over from a well-remembered past. The romantic fancies evaporate rapidly, too- the warm lights of cosy homes dispel curious thoughts of adventure and mystery with consummate ease- the illusions of overworked minds craving for a few hours of solace.
Nature, though, continues to contrive her spells, leaving us blissfully ignorant of her machinations as we sleep the tiredness out.