When it rained – A short story


Tanya was cooped up in office the whole day. She was a new entrant to the corporate world, and in her enthusiasm to learn, she usually ended up leaving work late.

Today, as she came down to the foyer, the sound of heavy rain hit her ears. The lobby was deserted, and she wondered what to do.

Calling a cab was futile, as the phone lines were usually jammed. Her studio apartment was a 3 km walk from her office. She usually walked it down, but with no umbrella, she was at a loss.

The rain showed no sign of abating; and left with no choice, she decided to make a dash for it.

As she ran-walked her way out, huge drops fell on her, causing her to shiver. She walked briskly. When she was a few hundred metres into her walk, she walked past another young lady, who was walking with an umbrella. As she crossed the lady, she called out to Tanya.

“Hello, why don’t you join me, seeing as we are headed in the same direction”, said the lady.

Tanya smiled and joined the lady, Veena, as they walked, making small talk. The lady told her that she worked in a private bank. Tanya told the lady that she visited the bank frequently, as she had an account there.

A little conversation, punctuated by sloshing shoes and heavy rain, as the two ladies walked on.

The wind played truant as it kept flipping the umbrella inside out. And that’s when Tanya saw it.

When Veena’s hand moved from the umbrella’s handle to flip the umbrella back down, Tanya saw the umbrella, HER umbrella, with the red and blue striped nail polish on its handle, for easy identification.

She must have left it in the bank on one of her trips there, but the nerve of this lady to use it.

The dynamics under the umbrella changed. Tanya’s conversation petered out with anger and disappointment. She was not sure what she felt.

Veena noticed this sudden cooling and lapsed into silence, wondering what had happened.

Soon, they reached Veena’s apartment complex.

Veena said, “So, Tanya. I will be off. Why don’t you take this umbrella with you. This is not mine anyway. The security guard at the office gave it to me saying that it had been lying in the office for over a month, and that no one had claimed it.”

Tanya looked surprised as she took the umbrella. Veena waved bye and walked away.

Tanya walked home with a heavy heart.

Spooky Midnight Visitor


It was the Monsoon season in India and the rain lashed mercilessly, accompanied by heavy winds that howled through door cracks and key holes, sometimes carrying thin sheets of water into the house through the cracks at the bottom of the door.

The season was characterized by days of continuous and heavy rain, that rendered umbrellas useless, as the rain changed direction with the wind. Fallen trees and power cuts were very common, as we huddled together, and played family games.

On one such night, as the rain fell in heavy sheets and the wind actually caused the windows to rattle, we went to bed early. Soon, we were fast asleep.

It must have been around 1 a.m. in the night, when the calling bell rang. We had just bought an electronic calling bell that played one of twelve tunes, in a sequence, each time someone pressed it.

Needless to say, we were startled, when it rang at this unearthly hour, playing ‘Bach’. We hugged our mom, as our Dad went to check. When he looked out of the window to see the porch, there was no one there.

My Dad called out sharply, “Who is it?” There was no reply.

The calling bell rang again. Now it played ‘Mozart’. My younger sister started crying.

We were worried if an intruder had chosen this rainy night to steal, or attack us.

My Dad secured the back door with a chair and did the same for the main door of the house. After checking all the windows, all of us went back to bed.
The incident had us worried for a few days; then, as with everything else, the worry faded, though it came back now and then to haunt us.

At the tail-end of that year’s monsoon season, we finally solved the mystery of the midnight caller.

It was yet another rainy day, with very heavy winds. The door bell rang just as we all sat down to have lunch. When we opened the door there was nobody there. While the door was still open, a heavy gust of wind blew through the house, and it was so strong that the doorbell played ‘Mozart’ again.

Phew! Our midnight visitor was the monsoon wind.