Drizzle on a winter day is not something that happens often in Calcutta, but when it does, it has its effects. The overcast sky and the cold breeze, the constant pitter-patter of the rain and the wet streets make one lazy and pensive. Today was one such day when I woke up to grayness all around me. Doing justice to the weather, I thoughtfully sipped on my coffee and looked into the characterless sky. With nothing particular to think deeply about, I decided that I needed a cigarette to stimulate my brain.
As I was walking down to the shop down the road, the rain came down a little heavier than the drizzle. Hurriedly, I scuttled to find a dry patch under a tree. As I was wiping the water droplets off my glasses, he walked into the dry patch too. I obviously stiffened – there was far less space than could fit the two of us. I carefully put my glasses back on and looked sideways for what he was doing. To my surprise, he seemed pensive too. He hardly paid any attention to me (which was a relief) and seemed to be engrossed in thought about the sudden rain on a December morning.
The clock ticked loudly as I counted the seconds we were spending side by side. With the rain getting heavier, the dry patch we were in was becoming smaller in area too, and that only meant that he and I were inching closer to each other. Oh, what torment those few minutes were! The few centimeters between us was only widened by the deafening silence. Okay enough is enough, I thought. I had to do something about it! So I slowly turned my head. To my dismay, as I did, he too turned his head (maybe we had some kind of intuitive message passing going on) and our eyes met. Well, that’s a first, I thought, I’ve never locked eyes with him before, or for that matter, with anyone like him! Our gazes held for sometime. When I run those few minutes through my head now, I am surprised at how calm I was, how my heart did not beat faster like it usually does, or how beads of sweat did not appear on my brow like they usually do. The rain had quelled the fire, the clouds had covered the past. It was this moment – him and I and the winter drizzle.
At that moment, I had this overwhelming urge to reach out and touch him, to feel his skin, to run my fingers through the gooseflesh that I could see the cold was giving him, maybe I could even bring my mouth close to his ear and whisper something in it, maybe he would like it and like me, and I would finally get over my lifelong fears and love him, and history would be behind us. Maybe we would create history on this dull unremarkable winter morning. I could feel my hand slowly rising, my heart still uncharacteristically calm, his eyes still lapping up my insecurities and upheavals.
Right then, the profound silence was broken by the rains falling silent. It was as if the curtains had suddenly gone up and caught us vulnerably gazing at each other under the spotlight. The sounds of the world came back – wheels of the car swishing past and sprinkling water on us from the streets, soft footsteps of a hundred people stepping out of their respective dry patches. We distractedly looked around us. I knew in my heart that the moment had gone by – my heart had started beating fast again. And he knew it too, because he swatted a fly with his paw, wagged his tail and walked away into the world.