Zainab Shafiq

Satyajit was sipping his coffee as the initial rays of sunlight tiptoed through the meadows, gradually wrapping the sky in blue. The westward breeze whispered through the dry grass, infusing a spirit of vitality in everything as it flew past. Satyajit started pacing back and forth – his eyebrows furrowed and lips pressed together. For some totally inexplicit reasons, mornings had always taken a toll on him. Throughout his life, he’d never felt as much loneliness in any other part of the day as he did in the first hours. Life was such a fairy tale until that dark rainy night of February, 1992.




It was pouring. The entire place was gripped by darkness and the black clouds began to roar. Even the sun seemed too scared to wait for the moon to appear and hid itself before its time was due. Satyajit hated rains. Every drop of rain that fell on the earth pounded Satyajit’s conscience, thereby wounding it with countless gashes. He saw someone in the rain and rushed outside, only to find nothing. It was an illusion, a mirage. Satyajit was struggling to pave his way through the series of old memories whizzing past his mind.


“Come in, Aastha. It’s raining heavily, and you’re dancing out there!” shouted Satyajit.

“You are such a spoilsport, brother. Extend your hands and feel the rhythm, the beat of these rain drops. Allow them to reach your soul, to cleanse it from all the filth. Don’t you ponder over the miracles of God? How He revives a dead, barren piece of land with a shower! All of us need a rain of hope, expectations and goodwill to purify our hearts of malice.”

“No one can beat you in a debate.”


She was the one who’d lit up his life with her bright smile – encouraging him to see the brighter side of life, to appreciate the beauty of nature, to unearth happiness everywhere, and most importantly, to keep hoping, even in the most despairing situations. He couldn’t afford to lose her, and yet fate had intersected in strange ways to rend them apart. An unfortunate turn of events had snatched her from him.

The drought in his heart was devastating and no spell of rain could put an end to it. Only her sight, her existence and that one word had the power to turn his heart back into a lush green garden, but it was impossible.


“Thankfully, she died,” thought Satyajit.




“Sir, a lady has been waiting outside to meet you, for the past couple of hours. I’ve tried to ward her off countless times, but she keeps coming back,” said the watchman.


“Useless dumbass,” retorted Satyajit. He got up and ran with quick light steps towards the main entrance. As he unlocked the heavily bolted metal gate, he saw a lady draped in black, sitting on the bench adjacent to the entrance gate.


“I am extremely sorry to have bothered you at such an odd hour, but I’ve a very important message for you,” she said and handed an envelope to Satyajit. He reluctantly opened the envelope. Strangely enough, the handwriting seemed exceedingly familiar to him.

“Dear Jit,”

Satyajit froze.




“You must be turning this letter over and over, with a look of skepticism. Over the past four years I’ve made umpteen attempts to get in touch with you, but each time destiny intervened in bizarre ways to strangulate my sheer will and determination.

If you are reading this letter one thing’s for sure, I’ve made the ultimate journey into a totally different realm.

Life is cruel. Seldom does it care about our aspirations and desires, except that the revelations and reconciliations we are granted at the end begrudgingly turn out as per our expectations. The worst memories stick with us, while the good ones always seem to slip through our fingers, fading away in the mist, towards obscurity.

There are some stains which are engraved on your destiny till eternity, and no matter how hard you try, all attempts at cleansing those blemishes are futile.

But all the angst and revulsion that was simmering inside me melted away the moment I saw her innocent face, and I made a decision. No matter what, I would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the shadows of my past life do not hover over the future of my daughter.

Jit, I am leaving this world, completely unperturbed about the future of my daughter, because I know that you’ll love her even more than I ever could.”


Satyajit’s eyes were wet with tears. He walked over to the little girl and asked, “What’s your name?”

“Asha,” she replied.




“Come back, Asha!” shouted Satyajit.

The clouds were roaring, signalling the advent of rain. Satyajit rushed out of his room. He saw Asha laughing and running around in the garden with her arms spread wide. The contours of her face, her little nose and hazel eyes, were breaking his heart into pieces. She was a replica of her mother and Satyajit couldn’t help but look towards the sky, and smile.

Asha loved rains, just like her mother did. Life wasn’t perfect for Satyajit, but saying so, life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.

People are raised to believe that happiness is the land to which they are destined to travel. But that belief, which one so easily accepts as true, might just as well be a mirage.

Satyajit was happy. Now he had a valid reason to laugh, to smile and most importantly, to hope. He ventured out into the garden to join Asha.

Her liveliness, in tandem with her innocence, was hovering over his conscience like dark clouds, putting an end to the drought which had engulfed his heart since the past five years.

And it started to rain again.