The motorcycle was keeping pace with the increasing intensity of the downpour; the small drops of the drizzle tingling the face till now, have suddenly turned aggressive, beginning to slap the cheeks harder, even preventing the eyes from keeping open.
The hands, however, continued pushing the accelerator hoping to outrun the rainstorm, but without much success. There was no let-up in the effort though, which continued unabated as he hoped to reach home before the water wets the new attire he was bringing in for the special day.
The loud thunderous noise followed the lightning; the eyes witnessed sudden illumination even as the mind would freeze, every time this would occur, he would feel as if he no longer exists at that moment. The black thunderous clouds completely enveloped the morning sky, creating an evening-like atmosphere at the start of a new day.
“I got only 15 minutes now,” he murmured, as the intensifying rain delayed him further with water now accumulated in the otherwise visible potholes of the road; one such bump, almost dislodged him from the seat, before his tight grip on the bike’s handle prevented the mishap, forcing and warning him to tread more carefully now.
The memory of the experience lasted only a few moments as the hands began operating on their own, accelerating further as the motorcycle, traversed even faster than before.
The head, t-shirt, and trousers, all felt one, as water began seeping inside, at first tingling his skin but soon making him used to that feeling.
“Why does it always happen when something important is to be done,” he complained to himself, before letting out a long sigh and trying to look ahead.
The squinting eyes were still struggling to save themselves from what felt like tiny bullets hitting the eyes with every push on the handle and making it even more difficult for them to negotiate the way ahead with the ever-increasing intensity of the tiny rain drops.
He was about to reach home now; a left turn, 100 metres more, and he could sit comfortably inside the house, enjoy the tea, and watch the rain from the window, when suddenly an old shaking hand leaped in front of him, pleading for a hitchhike.
“I am just taking a right,” he shouted, informing the man why he couldn’t stop for him.
The hands, however, remained stretched, as if the ears couldn’t listen to the message and the eyes declined to inform the mind about the gestures they just witnessed.
The bike which sped past him, however, came to a sudden halt, as he dragged himself back to the old man.
“My house is right there, I am not going ahead,” he informed, trying to rid himself of the guilt of not helping an old man during heavy rains.
The old man, however, continued staring at him; his head nodding like a toy as he slowly spurted out what he needed his help for.
“Kataria clinic, he whispered, ignoring his pleas for not being able to help, and forcing him to get his ears closer to hear what he was trying to say.
“Take me to Kataria clinic, please,” he pleaded again; the tiny umbrella was unable to keep him dry, letting in enough water to completely dampen both his shirt as well as the trouser.
He looked at the packet he was holding, the plastic had till now been able to save the contents inside but little more exposure could breach the opening and let in the water, spoiling whatever it held inside.
About to deny his request, he turned his head ahead, and just at that moment noticed the shaking old legs; the man could barely stand on his own.
“Ok, please sit quickly,” he announced with a sigh, as the old man, struggled, eating away at least 5 more minutes as he helped him, climb the back seat.
He knew how bad this road will be which he was now taking and drove with extra caution and care and was completely drenched by the time, he stopped in front of the clinic.
“Aa gaya aapka clinic chacha (here’s your clinic uncle),” he announced, forcing the old man, into a fresh new struggle now, that of unseating himself.
The old frail legs were finding it difficult to do it all alone prompting him to get off and help the old man, and then even escort him to the reception.
“Pushpavati,” the feeble voice, pleaded as the lady at the reception asked him to repeat, unable to hear what the old man was talking about.
Unable to leave him on his own now, the biker, looked at the time on the clock but then decided to walk towards the reception and take control of the situation again.
He is asking for ‘Pushpavati,’ his firm voice announced; he after all was now quite familiar with the tone the old man used.
“Room No. 205,” the receptionist replied; her eyes still staring at the screen in front of her.
The biker, now found himself, holding the thin feeble hands and guiding them as he walked the long corridor to enter one of the rooms.
“This was her last wish and I think we won’t be able to fulfil even this one,” the choked voice on the bed spoke, with the cheeks turning wet.
She was still trying to breathe after completing that sentence when she suddenly saw the old man walking inside.
“It’s a miracle,” she sighed as everyone stood up, looking at the old man with surprise and disbelief.
The boy’s eyes scanned the room as he discovered a limping body and a pair of blinking eyes from the bed glancing at him before settling themselves on the wrinkling pouty face with only a few dentures inside.
The eyes sparkled as he began walking; the fragility of the old man’s movement abruptly vanished as he suddenly took quick long strides toward her.
The gaped mouth and the shining eyes had waited for too long; the relentless yearning for this sight probably kept her breathing till now; an abrupt long sigh, and suddenly she turned limp.
His eyes unable to restrain now, began to flow unremittingly all over his face, and as he lifted her palms together, and felt her face, the smell of the old woman, instead of dampening, gladdened her heart.
“At least you helped fulfill her last wish,” a hand patted the man’s shoulder as he stood frozen at his place watching the two of them say their last goodbyes to each other.