Undaunted by the rains

Today we drove along the highway for a visit to the outskirts of the city. Bengal is abuzz with anticipation. People are thronging the streets to complete their last minute Puja shopping. Any visitor to the city can't help but be caught up in the atmosphere of celebration.

Couldn't help but observe that women seem to be in the forefront in the villages, unlike in Hyderabad where they are modest, to say the least. Here it's the women who are dragging husbands by their hands across the streets to the shops, women in cycles racing over the narrow lanes, and even packed into an auto rickshaw without any reservation.

What I felt I witnessed today was a lack of guile and simplicity. Shyness too. And lanes too crowded for cars to get into. We honked the cyclists off their cycles, something which I couldn't approve of, and drove the lazy jaywalkers off the middle of the roads. It was chaotic and noisy. Loud chatter, loads of bargaining, cycle bells, people screeching, etc. Despite it all, it was a peaceful atmosphere. No one seemed worried about anything in particular.

Then of course the rain came. It splashed into the paddy fields, the ponds, the puddles and all my plans of taking a walk across the farmland were thwarted. The delicious lunch did make up for it though.

There is a little girl I will remember. The kind of enthusiasm she showed could remind us how it was to be children. There is a part of us that would want to encourage such enthusiasm, for there is no surer way to happiness. And another part that would ask us to caution her too. This is not a perfect world.

I'll have a tinge of remorse for the way the day ended. The open door, the dab of yellow, and silence. But I had already passed.

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