I think it happened at about nine-ish when I was doing the dishes – the last of a string of chores on a cluttered day. The sky, till then seething in silence, exploded without any prior notice, giving vent to an ire, earthlings would have thought it not capable of.
Winter skies are generally deeply mournful and meditative like those ageless hermits scouring the formidable terrains of the Himalayas in an endless search for absolution.However, that day it was in no mood to be the dumb witness to a degenerative civilization of barbaric mammals. A fiery crack split it in two halves with a thunderous roar for the entire cosmos to see how agonizing it is to hold in its bosom leaping blazes and licking flames.
And then as suddenly as it had growled it poured like a ruptured hose pipe dousing the Earth with torrents of water clattering and clamouring in chaotic release. It rained throughout the night and days together. The sky remained sullen, brooding and inapproachable, a sentinel of clouds disallowing trespass by the sun which sheepishly hung its head low and acknowledged defeat – an unconditional surrender.
06.00 AM the next morning my maid announced that it had snowed the previous night which in actuality turned out to be big, fat hail. We could have humoured her presumptive boasts except that encouraged by a snowing Agra (-10) and a freezing Lucknow (-20) every hopeless heart had at least once prayed that they would be able to enjoy the Capital’s first ever snowfall without incurring out-of-budget travel expenditure.
A frozen city may be a luxury for the ones who can afford to brace winter in all its pristine whiteness but not for those lakhs of homeless who spend the nights inadequately clad under the shelter of the naked sky on frosted beds by the roadside.
But that did not happen. I mean the snowfall (which was a meager relief as the cold wave continued unabated). And what did happen was so inevitable that it escaped mention.
The vantage of stranded pools is that they effectively cover up the pot holes and dents if you are lucky enough not to splash into them. If you do, chances are your SUVs and MAVs may need a change of wheels pretty sooner than required and a dash to the Workshop. If you are on foot then a visit to your fav Ortho is very much due. But as we head towards a hurried spring and a soon-to-follow-sweaty-summer, these dirty puddles, a wistful remembrance of the sudden-not-so-long-ago rains, furnish fertile grounds for extensive mosquito farming and the invariable epidemics.
One of the Authorities told me that my fears were far-fetched because a super-hot sun in all its machismo would soon help evaporate the puddles dry.
“What about the longer diversions back home,” I asked
“Why?” asked he.
“Coz the shorter ones are in urgent need of draw-bridges?”
The ideal answer would have been, “The moats are in the making”.
But instead I got a brush-aside, “kuchh hi samay ki to baat hai” which obviously shut me up and at the same time irked me to no end.
Down the service lane bordering the block there is a bend where a nameless tree stoops low to kiss the pavement. Shaded by its leafy branches the ground underneath is soft and sunken facilitating the post-rain bowl of water to accumulate and stagnate longer. The water mirrors the tree. The thick foliage of the tree opens like an umbrella over the make-shift pond (if I may call it that) – a picturesque frame that I clicked at random passing by to and fro Office.
However, a city geared up for its 14th General Election, these for-once-unwanted-gifts-of-Nature are ugly reminders of the heavy scanner that the salaried section of the workforce is subjected to by the IT Department. Could these eye-sores be remedied, it wouldn’t have pinched so hard to have generous slices of cuts from one’s khoon paseenay ki kamai at the end of each month. Which doesn’t mean that a more proactive MCD and/or other Public Service Departments would induce euphoria while glancing through Form16 at the end of each Financial Year but at least it would, to some extent, justify the stout deductions and provide wee bit solace that our hard earned money was not going down the drain in funding the (erstwhile) Tutorial Head’s expensive foreign tours or making its way to the bulging pockets of dubious Government Officials or for that matter squandered in erecting stone-carved statuettes of humble predecessors of the self-proclaimed-now-dethroned Queen of the Downtrodden.And this post may be labeled as an unostentatious pleading of an unambitious plebeian to Government, God and all such unreachable sources of Supreme Power who have made this beautiful world unlivable at regular intervals of time. Well, on second thought, God be left out of this keechaang after all, preoccupied that He is taking care of an ever-expanding Universe!!!