It was raining heavily. Piklu was disappointed. For a full year he and his friends had waited for this day. Biswakarma Puja. The day of flying kites!
The whole sky becomes colourful on this day. Not only content with challenging the rivals, kids try to challenge the birds up there. Sometimes the results are disastrous. The hawks simply cut the thread with their sharp beaks! End of the dominance.
Piklu is seven-year old now. A master kite flier. He has a gang of people to assist him. It’s almost a carnival at the terrace. Father piles up huge amount of sweets and lozenges for all the participants. Mother would cook for all of them that day. There is enough provision of glucose and other energy boosting drink. Lest the warriors get exhausted.
Of all kinds, colours and shapes. Piklu’s family is known in the whole locality for its kite-flying enthusiasm. Just bring your spool. Kites and foods and refreshments absolutely free! No worries till the sun sets.
No wonder all of the young enthusiasts wait for the day for a full year. End of the day when the sun sets, so sink their hearts.
They were ready with their thread-full of spools. The sky was clear and bright even the day before. But out of the blue…the sky tore apart just at seven in the morning. It was a heinous crime by the rain-God. The rain was of a peculiar kind. It was showering heavily at times and suddenly would stop. But not entirely; it would drizzle long after the showers have subsided. Than it would fall heavily again.
Piklu loves rain. The scent of the newly drenched earth reminds him of a far-off land. A land, he had left long before…but could not remember properly. Every time that overpowering smell engulfs the whole world, Piklu wants to break free and run. Though he doesn’t know where to run and what freedom from what;
But today he didn’t welcome the rain. He had bombarded the elders at home past night with his whys and whats and hows. And his sister was there to answer all of his questions patiently. His father was tired after some time. And mother frowned and pretended that she had more urgent things to do than answering his stupid questions. But didi is a darling. He loves his didi the most in the world. He planned to give didi a surprise today by flying his favourite kite where he had painted a big ‘DIDI’ word.
But nothing would work today. He and his cohorts saw helplessly the condition getting worst. The sky was getting dark. Heavy clouds were refusing to move and free the sun. Even their joint plea to the rain-God was not helping.
Their throats were almost dry by chanting together:
“lebur patai karamcha…jaa brishti theme jaa” (cherries on lemon-leaf…please, oh rain subside).
But may be the Gods are heartless these days.
Then the black clouds thundered. An old pain, almost forgotten, wrenched Piklu’s heart. Piklu was struggling to keep his tears under control. But the pearls were flowing down from his cheek unguarded. Piklu was sobbing now. So was his friends. It took a matter of time before all the kids were caught crying. It was worth a priceless photograph. There were no artificiality in them.
Day rolled into afternoon. The whole world was flooded. Everywhere there were small rivers flowing. There was no chance that the sky would clear up before the night. Tomorrow everybody has schools to go.
The kids, huddled together in the verandah, were watching breathlessly the motif of the rain. All the time they were holding their spools at hand. They had meals together in the verandah. One eye at the sky. Any hint of the rain stopping and they will invade the sky and flow their flags. But…
Piklu, now losing all hope was watching at the little streams flowing in front. He was following a leaf from a long distance. It was coming fast floating. It almost zoomed past Piklu. All topsy-turvy.
Soon the entire field was taken over by the kids. They were all ready with their paper-boats. Who is the best boat-maker? Who’s boat is going to make it to the end at the now overflowing pond or ‘sea’? Which boat going to leave it in between? Which one will sink? Which one will be turned over by the swift current of the ‘river Ganga’?
Soon didi suggested that the narrow path where their boats are getting stuck is Suez Canal. Who’s boat is going to dodge that suez canal and make it to the coast of ‘England’, after sailing from ‘Calcutta’? It became a major challenge. The prestige was at stake!
Finally, when the rain stopped and the sky cleared and the sun smiled at the evening, nobody bothered. Everybody was muddy and soiled and gay! Everybody was happy for the rain.
When the streams started to slow down, they started singing:
“Aay brishti jhepe…
Dhan debo mepe…”
(come rain with your full power…we will give you paddy accordingly…)