I am her neighbor since couple of months now. She is alone. Alone since long. But a strong lady. She does all her chores by herself. I do occasionally ask her whether she would require something from the market as I am heading there with my list of things to buy. Answer had always been “No thanks, but thanks so much for asking”.
I do remember the only time she did ask me to get her something from the near by medical shop. Some medicines. I remember looking at the old prescription sheet she gave me, trying to figure out the names of medicines but then I left it to the chemist to figure out. When I was back with her medicines, she gave me a hot cup of tea. It was nice. She is a pleasant neighbor.
I have been really busy with my errands and office-ing. Other than the occasional “hi” or “byes” at the front gate, there hasn’t been much of catching up with my lovely neighbor.
It started as a regular Friday today. I slept last night (if it can still be called as night) at around 5 am. Had a meeting to attend at 8 today morning, which of course I didn’t, as my alarm felt pity of me and gave me an uninterrupted sleep. It was a friend’s phone call which made me open my eyes and realize that it’s already an hour past the meeting. Dropped in a line to my manager saying “I over slept” hoping he would understand.
Then went back to sleep again. Woke up around 2 o Clock. Called up for Chinese food to be home delivered. The day seemed damped. It has been raining all day long. Even last night there been showers. I had already made up my mind to work from home this evening.
After lunch, gave my TV some usual attention. When it was time for tea, I realized that there aint milk in the fridge. At gate, Gopal the gate keeper said “Sir, why you want to go out? Its raining, cant you see?”
I told Gopal “ its not that raining, just a drizzle, will quickly go get the milk before the rain comes down heavy”.
He smiled and opened the gate. Then did a quick shunting to the milk shop and back to home. The rain had picked up its pace. It looked like a passing shower. But was really relieved to be back home with out too drenched up. Made a cup of tea and with the cup of tea, I stepped out to balcony to have it. Rain did subside. Clouds did pass. It’s brighter now. Sat down on the chair and just gazed out to the horizon. Clouds were shining.
What am I seeing? What is that color-y thing on the horizon?
Oh god ! Yes, it’s a rainbow! Woohoow! It’s a rainbow! It’s been ages since I saw one. I really didn’t remember when was the last time I saw one!
Ah so beautiful. More so to see it at full glory standing so tall. Its as if it grew with the trees but just went on growing. I could just see an arc of the bow. Not the entire bow. But it still was so beautiful to look at.
It did woke the kid in me. Made me so joyous. And it did make my tea taste so yumm.. so perfect…
I called up friends and asked them to look out and see the rainbow. I did ask them whether they remember the last time they saw one. None remembered.
I called up my mother. She said it’s not been raining there. So no rainbow! But she too didn’t remember when was the last time she saw one.
I was still admiring the glory of the arc, of all that color in front of me. Painted indeed by the hands of god and he didn’t have to leave a signature behind to prove it was his job.
That’s when I remembered about my neighbor. I left my tea cup and ran down to her apartment. Banged her door as a possessed soul. As soon as she opened the door, I held her hand shouting “Rainbow, rainbow” and took her to the window to have her see it.
The windows have been shut since long. She has been uncomfortable with too much light.
I could feel her hands tremble. May be I am hurting them by holding it so hard. It’s all coz of my excitement. I left her hand telling her not to go anywhere and forced opened the window shouting “see Rainbow ...look there Rainbow.. It’s a Rainbow... Can you see the rainbow?”
The sudden brightness through the window did make her feel little uncomfortable but it was evident that I did successfully pass some of my enthusiasm with the rainbow to her. She too seemed eager. She capped her eyes with her hand and looked at the direction I was pointing.
She said “Ya.. Rainbow. Big it is.. Nice”
She kept staring at it. I too stood there with her to admire it.
Then she said .. “I don’t remember when was the last time I saw one”...
I was surprised to hear her say that without me asking the question.
Hiding my surprise, I said “Yea, me too”
We stood there silently admiring the beauty till it disappeared. Like all good things, the arc in front of us vanished soon.
She held my hand again. I could again feel it trembling.
She said “Thank you. It was really beautiful”. Her face was glowing. It looked so excited. I thought, I or rather the Rainbow did really paint the colors back on her otherwise whiteboard mind. She looked so contented and happy.
I couldn’t say a thing. I just stood there looking at her face which has turned so bright. More or like the rainbow.
I helped her sit down on the sofa. She did offer me a tea. But I refused saying “I just drank my tea”
I really didn’t want to give her the trouble of making one for me.
She thanked me again. Again she told that she really don’t remember when was the last time she saw one.
I felt nice. Felt contended and happy about helping her see the rainbow.
I told her bye and came up stairs to my apartment. The tea had gone cold. But it didn’t matter. I had my cup of tea already. It wasn’t the half cup of tea I drank by my balcony. I think it was the moment when her trembling hands held me and with the joyful face she said ‘thank you’. That was indeed my cup of tea.
I haven’t put much effort to bring the smile on her 70 something year old face. But it was just too amazing to see the tiny arc of rainbow bringing all that color back on her pale face.
It was really overwhelming to thank the painter who put up such a good show with the rainbow. I am sure the old lady would have done it on my behalf too.
It was indeed a brilliant Rainbow!!!!!