The Falling Raindrops

By Shobha Diwakar

Pitter, patter, pitter, patter fell the raindrops upon the bedroom window as the night deepened and the moist vapors settled on the glass panes making it hazy and dull to peer outside. Akash stretched lazily covering himself with the soft, thin, worn-out blanket he treasured since that always reminded him of his mother who left for her heavenly abode just a few months back. He had never seen his father for he had passed away after a mysterious illness a few months after he was born. His mother had brought him up with great difficulties but had never regretted the long stretch of hours she put in to make both ends meet.

Gradually the days passed into months and by the time, he was in the last of his teens, his mother left him for her heavenly abode. Akash was heartbroken and had spent many sleepless nights mourning her loss until one day he mustered up his courage and made up his mind to come to terms with his life and took a plunge from the dark, dreary world of his into the world outside waiting for him. For a few days he roamed aimlessly into the streets looking at this strange new world he witnessed with skyrocketing buildings, people running endlessly to and fro and no one to care for the other. This fast changing world unfolded before him evaporating dreams he had built for himself a few days when he was out of mourning.

Akash had no idea where his legs would carry him as he wandered along the footpaths peeping into every nook and corner of the ever- winding pathways without any idea of what he was searching. Yet, he was aware if he had to survive in this bubbling city he must find some work to earn his livelihood and forget his loneliness. He was lucky he had a snug room where he could retire, and a soft sigh escaped him as he travelled back into his past, lying warmly beside his long, lost mother …he worshipped the very ground she walked upon. Even while he was growing up, she never encouraged him to work for a living because she was always there to fulfill his needs. A tender tear rolled down his cheek but he quickly wiped it away scolding himself for being a cry boobie.

Walking around over half the city he quite forgot where he was heading. Suddenly he heard a crash and as he turned around, he saw an old man sprawled across the road. A crowd had gathered around him while someone called an ambulance to rush him to the hospital and gradually the crowd dispersed. Akash stood there transfixed wondering what to do since it appeared that the man had lost consciousness and no one seemed ready to accompany him to the nearby hospital. He remembered what his mother had once told him about city life and how everyone lived in isolation unknown to his neighbor. Since the old man could not speak or reveal his identity at the time, impulsively Akash offered to be at his side and on his request the ambulance driver and the police agreed to let him accompany the old man.

The ambulance sped on shrieking its emergency siren to clear the road until finally they reached the hospital. The men rushed with the stretcher as Akash followed behind them as though the old man was his own long lost father. The reception questioned him about the accident and then to sign the papers which quite intrigued him. He did not know the man, his name or his whereabouts what was he to write? The police intervened and since the case was hit and run and Akash only a good Samaritan, the police entered all the details about the accident and Akash heaved a sigh of relief.

The man was admitted into the general ward and was taken care of his wounds but somehow Akash felt the man needed him and so he decided to stay with him. He had nothing to offer him except comfort and care …moreover there was no one waiting for him at home… it was a lonely place to return too and here there were hosts of people lying sick and people busy coming in and going out. It was like a never- ending stream that flowed constantly.

Dusk had fallen when the man finally opened his eyes and was surprised to see this young man fondly gazing at him with great concern. He looked up at him saying, ‘Who are you?’ ‘What happened?’ ‘Who has brought me here?’ Akash told him how he was knocked out on the road and how people had called an ambulance and how the police ushered him to this nearby trauma hospital. ‘Oh, oh, so that is why my head is bandaged and my hand in plaster?’  ‘Yes,’ answered Akash, ‘If you give me your phone number I can call someone from your home to take care of you.’ Hearing this the man turned away his face but not before Akash saw a silent, lonely tear trickle down his cheek, which he painfully tried to wipe to no avail.

For a moment, Akash kept quiet then lovingly wiped it off with his kerchief and taking his hand in his gently asked him what the matter was. He was pained to hear that the old man lived a solitary life with no one to take care of him. Cancer had snatched his wife and his two sons were busy earning pots of money in far away Europe. Occasionally they sent him some Euros so he would not die of hunger and curse his children for their neglect. Beyond that, he was of no use to them except being a parasite. In fact, the old man felt the sons were waiting for him to die so they could sell off the two bedrooms flat the man had bought on loan while he was working in the factory.  He had paid off the loan long back and the hawks had fled away leaving the old man to fend for himself.  The shame of it was that when the mother passed away the two were busy touring around the world with not a word of grief.

Listening to the old man’s story Akash’s heart warmed towards him. Here was a lonely man unable to fend for himself and here was he too, lonely and sad. It seemed as though Fate had intervened and sent him to take care of this forlorn man. Impulsively he knelt beside him and said, ‘  My mother told me I lost my father when I was just a few months old and she took care of me through thick and thin. I lost her some months back and so I am an orphan. I have a small room where I live and am in search of work. If you wish to keep me as your help I would love to take care of you.’ Saying so, he stood there holding his hand. For a moment, there was deep silence and there the bond was sealed.

Suddenly the weather outside changed. The wind howled, the wind rustled the window curtains, the clouds thundered, the clouds howled and crashed, the lightning flashed making the surrounding attire itself in a silvery sheen. Then just as it happened, the earth was rapidly drenched in a heavy downpour that lasted for more than an hour. As the weather calmed down, the old man and Akash were still holding hands. God had sent the old man a son, and Akash, a ‘lonesome’ father to take care of.

About the Author:  Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *