Sunday, April 15, 2007

What Makes a Man

“It’s okay. I love walking in the rain.”

A sixteen-year-old boy

Tonight, I had dinner by myself at Thai Lin, a house-cum-eatery which stood near the edge of the town of Manipal. An old Chinese lady (who has the tendency to cackle maniacally) owns the place. I never yet have the occasion to ask; what is an old Chinese lady doing in backwater India? And even if I did, I suppose that my comprehension of Mandarin would prove insufficient to understand her – and her fluency in English would be equally inadequate to tell the tale.

At about half past seven, it started to rain with a full display of meteorological armament – thunder, lightning and gale-grade wind; the whole shebang. The power was cut and I was forced to finish my dinner in semi-darkness. At about this point, Li Lian and her boyfriend entered Thai Lin and sat right across from my table with their backs to me. I so absolutely loathe to be reminded that I am alone, and yet at the same time, I am compulsively addicted to solitude. Why, oh why am I constantly at odds with myself?

I drained my cup of Chinese tea in one gulp, scalded the roof of my mouth at the go, and paid the cackling1 old Chinese auntie. Then, I left for the darkness of a rain-drenched Manipal outside. I noted privately that rain is pretty unnatural this time of the year.

By an odd and oft-unfortunate permutation of chance, the auto2 stand which stood outside Thai Lin did not even have a single auto standing that I could hire to take me home, so I was compelled to walk under the pelting downpour to the next nearest one which was situated a proverbial stone’s throw away.

Oh hell, I never minded a little rain anyway - at least, I never did since I was sixteen.

Outside my home-away-from-home, right after the rain.

Have I ever tell you the story of a sixteen-year-old boy who walked to a girl’s house in the rain – a girl he was madly and obsessively in love with? The girl, of course, told the boy that he shouldn’t because he could catch his death in pneumonia gallivanting about in such horrid weathers. The boy, if I remember correctly, said this to her;

“It’s okay. I love walking in the rain.”

It was a little known fact that that sixteen-year-old boy had never once walked in the rain in his entire life at that time, and did not care much at all for getting soaked to the skin. But what he told the girl was not a lie; that evening he walked to her house, he indeed and sincerely loved every raindrop that fell on the top of his head and shoulders, and enjoyed the sensation of them trickling down his neck. That evening, the arrhythmic pitter-pattering of rain was music, its scent was intoxicating – and the crisp, wintry air was a reminder of the joy of being alive.

In the couple of minutes since I started out from Thai Lin, I reached the other auto stand. I hesitated for a short second in front of it, thinking about that lovesick sixteen-year-old boy, and the years that stand between him and me,

And decided that I wanted to walk the rest of the way home in the rain after all.

k0k s3n w4i

1 No, she's obviously not cackling right at that moment. Don't be silly.
2 A three wheeled gas-powered vehicle (also known as a rickshaw), that occupies the niche of cheap, hired transportation on the Indian roads. It also occupies the niche of theme park thrill rides in provinces not cool enough to have theme parks (you'll get what I mean once you've sat in one of them).


Rabbit said...

Awww~ Romantic nyer walking in the rain!

michelleg said...

i would love to do dat but no guts. im so afraid of falling sick.

fuolornis said...

awww... a potray of a love story under the rain. how sweet.

but i js want to mention one point: Walking under the rain is super fun! i seriously enjoyed those times back in primary school, getting drenched fr head to toe and at the same time not getting fever the nxt day. Woohoo!!

innshan said...

sweet. you have written this post in a very nice way. i'm touched.
i can feel the if i understand ur feelings.
like you would cross mountains, swim across the ocean just for her.
love can make wonders.

michellesy said...

will the man look back upon the boy and his heartbreak with compassion borne of experience or jadedness borne of exhaustion?

it hurts.

is there something you can do to make you feel better?

k0k s3n w4i said...

Not really, la, haha. And you better get well soon, k?

Sometimes, it's worth falling sick for. Someday, you might find that "sometimes".

Oh, I'm a pretty strange kid then. I used to sit on the porch and watch the rain fall - from start till end.

Love begets love - and your world is all the lovelier for it. Love, for all its faults, is still - well - Love... :)

Neither. More like an inward smile borne of reminiscence.
Time is the only antidote ;)

Jen said...

hello there. thanks for dropping by my blog. and dare i say, yours is a pretty interesting read.

ah, the things one does for love. that was a rather romantic paragraph ;)