The Costly Rain

I have heard you several times, I have stayed up to catch a glimpse. Saw you, one winter morning; And named you 'Shuri' since.

All that an eleven year old girl has to do, is - study, listen to her elders, go to school, enjoy her holidays and play. My final term exams had just got over, 'was promoted to a new class and now, I was enjoying my summer vacations. My hometown is in a place where the difference between summer and winter is frustratingly extreme. You have to experience both in order to realize, how bad or good it can get. The house in which we stayed had a total of fourteen rooms. Behind the house there was a huge well, used for our daily washing, drinking and cooking requirements and further beyond was our garden, some 4500 sq ft in area. It had several seasonal plants and trees, including mango, pineapple, guava, sweet potato, lady's finger and many others, whose English names I do not know.
I used to spend half my holidays exploring various things and places all over the big house. I was at the attic, doing what I was not supposed to do, exploring my uncle's secret drawer. There I had found the previous afternoon, a real pair of binoculars. I went up to the terrace last night and watched the moon with it for a very long time. It looked beautiful. I had a toy binocular, which my mama had given me, but this one was real.
"Mouri !!", called my mom from the kitchen. Mouri is my pet name. It was time for shower, then lunch and then a well-deserving afternoon siesta.
I dashed downstairs.
After having finished with the shower and lunch, I went back to the attic, took out the binoculars and gazed through it, at my latest interest, out in the garden. Well, to tell you about that, let's take you to last winter.

I was getting ready for school and was already running late, when I heard it for the first time. I paused, and then I heard it again. “Mouri, hurry up, or you’ll miss your school bus”, interrupted my mother. I had forgotten about it completely when everything repeated itself the following morning. It was coming from the garden and I promised to investigate the next day.
Next day was Saturday, a weekly holiday for me. I woke up early, perched myself on a stool out at the small terrace leading to the well from the first floor, which looked out at the garden. Yes, I heard it again, and this time I saw it. It was tiny, beautiful and was blue in colour. It was a bird, which had the most tuneful voice I had ever heard. I kept staring at it and named it Shuri.
Spring followed the rough, cold winter and Shuri was joined by her male countepart. He was a very handsome looking bird as well, having a brighter and a more attractive plumage. I named him Shur. In unison they were called Shur-Shuri. My eldest cousin gave me a big Milk chocolate because he said he really liked my christening abilities.
After a few more days, I could no longer find Shur. Shuri was all by herself and she was preparing to build her nest.
“Has Shur died?” I asked the elders at home one day. To which, my grandma said “Spring is the season, when one has all the choicest of friends around, it is only when the tough summer draws nearer, you get to realize who is worthy enough to be even called a friend”.
Needless to say, I did not understand what she wanted to convey.

I went to the garden one evening last week and to my utter joy, found a tiny nest made out of twigs, in between a v-shaped branch on the guava tree. It was built on a low stem, so I could clearly see two small off-white coloured eggs kept at the centre of the nest.
I ran back home and told my grandma what I saw and she asked me “ So, what will you call the two tiny birds once they’ve hatched?” I thought for a while and said “Katu and Kutu”. This time I got two milk chocolates, one from my cousin and the other from my uncle whose binoculars are coming very handy for the last two days. Now that the summer had set in, I was not being allowed to go to the garden every now and then in order to inspect the nest. Since yesterday, the binoculars have solved my problem.
I felt sorry for Shuri because I thought it was wrong for Shur to have left her all alone.
The heat was getting unbearable, the loo during the early afternoons was suffocating and one person died of heat stroke two days ago, I read in the papers. Obviously everybody was thirsty for the monsoons, I’m sure, so was Shuri.
While I was still gazing at the nest through the binoculars, I heard a loud banging noise right next to me. The door to the terrace that stood ajar shut hard because of a gush of wind. I heard someone scream from downstairs, “ Someone go to the terrace and see if the doors and windows are shut properly, it is the Kalboishakhi (norwesters)”. I had just turned around, when I saw my uncle staring at me. He had come up to check whether the shutters were closed, I was still holding his binoculars. I knew I would never again find the binoculars there at the attic. Little did I know that I would not be needing it anymore.
I kept the binoculars in place and ran downstairs to welcome the moisture-laden clouds.

“Aye brishti jhepe…dhaan debo mepe
Aye rimjjhim borosharo gogone re e e
Katfata rodey agune , aye brishti jhepe aye re.
Haye bidhi boroi daarun…
Pora mati kende bole,
“Phoshol phole na,
Ki debo tomare, nai dhaan mor khamare , mor kopal guni”.

It rained for an entire hour, giving water to the dried up land and to its beings.
Ma said from the small terrace that a few flowerpots were overturned during the storm. I jumped at the thought of what could have happened to the fragile nest. I rushed to the garden bare footed, the humid air feeling wonderful as it touched my skin, the grass under my foot was wet and cool. As I reached the guava tree, I spotted Shuri, perched on a Shiuli plant on the opposite side of the garden, all wet and untidy. She gave out a cry, this was not as sweet as her usual tone, it was abrupt and short.
She was no longer thirsty… but it came to her for a price – a few meters away from my feet, lay her nest and the broken, off-white coloured shells of the two eggs, of Katu and Kutu.


    Amazing story very nicely put down...Speechless...


    Not a perfect lesson to be learnt when one is 11, but then, that's life :).
    Nicely done.


    This was my second attempt at story-writing. The first one wasn't good enough to be published and I'm real glad you guys liked this one. Thank you Raj and Prashant...


    Nice story..the best part is that it comes with little lessons as well :)


    Thanks Tina for your first comment on Speechless :)