The autobiography of an Umbrella is a funny story.
No, obviously Rinki is not that uncle Podger type to sit in his own coat and shout for it. She put it just beside her and kept vigilance over everyone who shared the same bench until she finished the ‘Chicken chup’ with ‘Alu biriyani’ (Indian dishes) and left the table to wash her hands. Then she paid the bill, took a pinch of ‘mouri’(fennel seed) and sugar and in a relished mood went away to catch the train.
She needed not to stand in the long serpentine queue as she had her monthly pass. And with a belly full, it was not healthy to stand for a long time. She had already walked for 15 minutes at her unusual speed of 1 km per hour and now she wished to get a window seat and be free to think over the next course. It was very hot when she came out of the tutorial class but when she reached the restaurant it was already under the ‘going to rain’ curriculum. So she did not unfold the umbrella and waited for the clouds to do some miracles.
“Hey, umbrella, my umbrella”, the very thought of it reminded her of the blue umbrella with white dots, a beautiful umbrella that she just left in the restaurant beside her seat. Sky collapsed on her head and all the skyscraper buildings broke down in torrents over her. Her eyes got blurred in tears. She wished to run back there and rescued it but the reason cell of her brain hinged at the caveats of its consequences. The umbrella might be stolen and lost forever in the meantime. But if she missed the train, the last train on this route, she would have to spend the night on road with or without the umbrella. That’s in no way possible. If an umbrella is lost, you can get another, but if your life is lost, hundreds of umbrellas cannot compensate for that cost. So it would be prudent to reach for the platform and board the train. But at her heart, she knew how impossible it was for her to forget those white raindrops on blue canvas. Oh! How can she be such a careless jerk? She cursed herself as she blinked back the streaming passion ready to snake down her cheek; she tried to avoid public curiosity. If anyone noticed a girl of eighteen, just two years above the sweet sixteen, with wet eyelashes and puffy lips, they would sympathetically come forward to soothe her bereaved heart and curse the heartlessness of the imaginative boyfriend who must have left her overwhelmed in that overcrowded platform. So she decided to check on her exuberant emotion until she reached home. Then she could unlock it under the scolding eyes of her mother. Till then it was better to get a window seat and to search for a vendor with ‘papri chat’ (Indian Snacks).
When Mohon reached home it was already late. The street dog Ballu, started barking at him taking him as a trespasser. “It is not fair”, he thought, “my wife might shout at my knocking “who is there?”, but a dog whom I always described in the name of a ‘faithful animal’ should not be double-faced. In the morning it wagged near me for a piece of biscuit but at night it even could not recognize me and fiercely growled forward till I swiped into the house sliding through the little gap that my dear wife risked being sure of the visitor.” “Oh it’s you, I thought…” She could not complete as Mohon scoffed out,
“What? A thief?”
“Thief? Why will a thief come here to spoil his game? What is here to take?”
Ok, she had got her usual track.
But today Mohon did not feel irritated and did not like to snap back. He asked endearingly, taking his wife in his light embrace,
“What is today’s menu dear?” Though his belly was full with a half plate of ‘chicken biryani’ he acted prudently to lock up the secret. His wife got a bit anxious at the sudden change of usual fight mode that she was habituated to every night before taking the grumpy supper. And her musing over the plot gave Mohon enough time to bring out the umbrella, a beautiful blue umbrella with white raindrops.
“Wow, how beautiful it is! Where have you got it?”
“Cannot I buy even an umbrella for my sister-in-law’s birthday?” Mohon smiled the most amiable smile touching both ears.
A fortnight passed but Rinki couldn’t recover from the grief, the sudden breakup with her favourite umbrella. Mother did not say much, as she knew how dear it was to her and father had bought a new umbrella, a plain sky-coloured one, with no raindrops.
She was pondering over her grief, standing on the platform when she turned her head and found the girl giggling with her boyfriend just beside her with a sky-blue umbrella with white dots of rain bubbles. Overcoming her initial shock she approached the girl fiercely, groping her hand, clutching the rod of the umbrella. The girl and her partner were both startled at the sudden attack and flinched back tumbling over a vendor selling potato chips.
“How dare you steal my umbrella?” Rinki fiercely hissed out under her breath. But the opposition party had already recovered their senses and the girl felt too humiliated in front of her boyfriend at the tagging of a thief. It was beyond her tolerance. She lashed back clinging to her umbrella
“What a mad girl you are! Just out of the asylum. What are you saying? This is my umbrella.”
“Then tell me, from which shop have you bought it and when?”
The girl seemed a bit puzzled but she recouped soon,
“My sister gifted it to me on my birthday. And now I’m not going to tell who is my sister and where she lives to an insane.”
“Then your sister stole it for you.”
The accusation of theft over her sister was beyond her endurance.
She knocked hard Rinki over her head with the umbrella butt. But Rinki is a sturdy girl who easily avoided the blow and clutched the handle from her.
They both started fighting under the astonished eyes and merry confusion of the crowd including that lanky boyfriend.
Suddenly the train whistled and the warriors loosened their grip at the majestic entrance of it with furry and blowing air. The blue umbrella, in the meantime, aloof itself from the shackle of fierce grips and wafted along the crowd outside the platform, high above the sky like a colorful balloon.
Hey, I am Munmun, the phoenix fabulist who wants to tell you stories. I love to read stories and I love to weave stories. I feel life is an amalgamation of multiple stories, colourful threads, and threads of pain, pleasure, hope, and hopelessness. We just need to pick those hues and arrange them, knitting them with our own emotions and perception. So let’s celebrate the stories of life.