July 26, 2005

Night in the city, too

So the rain continues, the wind howls at my window, I've been out a couple more times, and we have, inadvertently, three guests for the night.

One, the young man from the flat below us. He stepped out to clean something, and the door banged shut behind him. He doesn't have the key. One of the other two people in the flat is in Goa. The other is stuck in the rain somewhere in south Bombay.

Two, the old woman who lives in the nearby flowerbed. My wife went out for her own jaunt in the rain, found the woman bailing out water -- mud, really -- from the flowerbed. Utterly futile. Wife asked her to come up for the night. She has had some food, wanted something sweet at the end (sugar, she finally decided) and has gone to sleep.

Three, a friend of the folks in the flat below who works behind the counter at a clothing store. No way she can make it back to her farflung suburb in this flood from the sky, so she came to our building. Found nobody home, so sat on the stairs trying to call them on her phone. She's up here too.

Strange evening, but then it's pretty strange out there. Wild and exhilarating, but strange too. And it brings back, over and over, a memory that upsets me still, of another soaking night.

8 comments:

Neela said...

d,

sweet of you and v. to take in all these strangers, esp. the lady in the flowerbed.

n!

Niket said...

Nice story. This one and the one about the rick/taxi driver. I hope people like you would give me courage to act like a responsible citizen. Thanks Dilip!

chappan said...

Dilip
I had no idea that these rains were heavr and had taken about 150 lives in Konkan. Trust that there has not been much destruction in Mumbai. Stay dry and warm now.
Sourin

uma said...

thoughtful post. thanks for sharing.

Anand said...

Nice post.

Heavy rains. I don't think I've seen it raining like this ever before. Last night, I had a family of three as guests too -- a family from Delhi who came here for their son's admission. Their room downstairs was submerged in water. And my wife was in her colleague's place as she couldn't make it back from work.

Funny conversations we had! First five minutes of our meeting, my guest asked my caste. Soon he asked me my scale of pay.

Power failure, dim candle light, mosquitoes "all in", heavy rains outside, and four shadowy figures in one room. I wasn't offended by the questions which I think would have offended me otherwise!

Sunil said...

The rain will stop......and life will go on.....but how much can change with just a downpour!

Aditya said...

sunil - that might be true for most - but definitely not so for the nearly 100 or so who died. and for some, its washed away more than just mud.

Sunil said...

Aditya.....that's kinda what i ment....

most of us will survive the rains fine (perhaps a little wet, or with a little water in our houses), but the poor...they have it really, really bad.....

Sad.