The Rain | Sunday Observer

The Rain

Rain, rain, go away;

Come again another day...’

Vipuli heard her little daughter singing outside. She peeped through the front door, and watched the child performing a cute dance among the flower beds. She wanted to tell her not to sing that particular rhyme, but decided otherwise considering that the small one might be deprived of her harmless entertainment. Instead, her attention was drawn to the flower plants. They looked somewhat withered due to the lack of rain for a few days.

‘I need to water them in the evening,’ Vipuli thought to herself. Without a deliberate purpose she got up leaving behind her needlework on the chair and went up to the front door. She stood leaning against the door frame, and looked around. It was so fiery a late afternoon that she was unable to keep her eyes fully open. Then her glance caught sight of her husband doing the rounds in their paddy field, close to their house.

She could see Upul looking up and searching the vast blue sky for any sign of rain, shielding his eyes with his right hand from the blazing sun. Even though she was not close enough to exactly say what sort of features were drawn on his face at that moment, she knew they were not very pleasing but extremely hopeful.

Vipuli felt sorry for her husband. He was a very considerate hubby and daddy, and a hardworking farmer with dedication and perseverance. So she pleaded with God to send some rain without further delay. Otherwise, she thought for herself, they would have to undergo severe hardships in the coming months.

Vipuli remembered how gleefully the farmers in their village cultivated their paddy fields that season. There was sufficient rain at the right time in right proportions. Upul was able to get his work done punctually, and the paddy grew nicely with timely application of pesticides and manure.

The plants are now nearly two and a half months old, growing to about two feet tall. Vipuli herself had observed a couple of days back that the plants were now showing their pods out in a greenish white colour.

‘Oh, my God, please don’t let them be destroyed at this stage!’ She let out a long sigh. It was the most inappropriate time for the crop to be dried up without adequate water. Even though the reality was going to be something like that, Vipuli wanted to draw herself away from such rueful feelings.

She turned her attention to the little girl. Beads of perspiration were shining on her forehead.

‘Come, Baba, you have played enough now. It’s time for a bath. I have other work to do, as well.’ Vipuli didn’t wait to see the child’s response and walked inside.

Towards the lean hours of that night Vipuli was awakened by the sound of rain drops falling on the roof, and her mind suggested that she should open the window and see the heartening sight. Opening the window she was unable to behold anything other than complete darkness, but she could feel the chill of some rain drops touching her hand. She wanted to welcome that chill warmly and let some more of them embrace her extended arm.

Vipuli was unable to get any more sleep thereafter. Diving in pleasant thoughts for some time, she found a lovable idea conceiving in her mind. She wanted to share her happy feelings with her husband and daughter. Then she went into the kitchen and started to prepare some milk rice.

With the first calling of dawn she had completed the cooking. By then, Upul too had got up and was already walking outside with an umbrella to witness the marvels of the night.

That morning the three of them together enjoyed a fabulous treat of milk rice, and engaged themselves in a hearty chat.

‘I always knew that the two of you were not that unfortunate!’ Upul said kissing the child on her forehead. The girl clung to her father’s neck and enjoyed his cuddling. Vipuli was more than happy to see Upul talking with high hopes of a post harvest solace for their cosy nest of a small family. It was a Sunday. There was a belief among farmers that the first rains that come on Sundays last for many days, and it did. Day one passed with intermittent showers. The farmers were walking around their fields restoring the loosened water outlets and mending damaged parapets. They kept talking among themselves in high pitched happy voices Their utterances conveyed the message of a bountiful harvest that season. They did not even mind the pouring rain that drenched them from head to foot.

Some were heard thanking God for coming to their rescue at the correct time. It continued to rain the second day, too, incessantly, and went on for yet another day. Now the farmers were becoming unhappy and restless.

They woefully watched the tiny flowers of paddy pods being washed down by the rain and drifting with the gushing brownish water. There were some patches in their paddies where the plants had fallen due to occasional winds or ruthless flooding of unruly water.

The fourth day dawned. The rain had but a little abated. Vipuli saw her husband standing on the boundary of their paddy field and looking up at the still overcast sky. Light drizzling prevailed and he covered his eyes with his hand. Vipuli could not bear the sad feeling that was trying to pierce her heart. She felt her whole body going weak.

She went into their bedroom to see if their little daughter had woken up. Yes, she had. She had got off the bed and was clinging with both arms to the iron bars of the window looking outside. A low murmur was heard coming out through her lips:

‘Rain, rain, go away;

Come again another day!’

Vipuli went up to her and took the small child in her arms. Then she lovingly stroked her head cooing some soothing words:

‘You want to go out and play, Baba? Don’t worry, my dear, everything will be alright soon. Rain is like that! But it will not destroy our crop altogether!’

- Bandara Samarakoon

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