The Other Birthday!


By: Indrajit Chattopadhyay (LTHE)

I checked my watch as I scrambled out of my cabin. I am late, the kids are back at home, hungry. Given the option I would have loved to stay back at home. But to raise two kids, the second income is a necessity. And obviously, I don’t want to go back into the vortex of self-pity driven depression, by sitting idle at home.

Rushing towards the exit, I noticed the rain outside. Cursing my luck, I rummaged my tote bag for the umbrella, as I stepped out in the rain. I knew it’s not there. The morning never gave any hint of rain. I ran across the road to the other side, hoping to catch an auto quickly. But as usual they all vanished the moment the raindrops hit the ground. I stood at the entrance of the café, the rain splattered eyeglasses making it even more difficult to spot any vacant incoming auto.

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Looking at the dark clouds overhead, I cursed them, I hate rain – I hate dark clouds. Or do I? They used to be my closest ally – when did I start hating them? In a flash, I went back eight years and saw a female in a hospital bed. It was me, trying to get back to life after the futile suicide attempt. And I remembered him, the rain-maker! He came into my life, just to show me the life I had.

All I saw in him was a desperate guy, head over heels in love with a middle aged married lady; surely it was hunger. But I also felt the desperation, was slipping out of marriage. So I did what was best for both. And just like he came, he was gone; in a flash! It was me who drove him out.

My trail of thought was abruptly broken as the raindrops ceased to fall on me. Someone has opened an umbrella for me. Startled, I looked back to find his eagle eyes looking back; still the same, piercing look that sees through your soul.

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“You? Here? When did you come to town?”

“I came here to wish you ‘Happy Birthday’!”

“My birthday is 3 months later.”

“No, the second birthday you had. I come every year, sitting here, in this café to wish you on this day.”

Before I could reply, he signaled a vacant auto, and led me to it. I scampered in and told the driver the destination. While I settled down in the seat, alone, the enormity of what just happened hit me. It was today, eight years back, I was in the hospital bed, fighting for a new life. Did he really come to the city on this day for all these years?

I poke my head out to find him. He was walking down the footpath, hands in pocket, umbrella tucked in his backpack, soaking in the rain, looking at my receding auto, a hint of smile hanging at the corner of his lips. That’s when I knew for sure, he, my rain-maker really loved me.

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