Updated: Sep 16
We all meet many people during our lifetime, but most are like passing clouds. As lovely as their company might be, in time, we bid them goodbye but rarely do we bond with someone we would never wish to leave.
“Nature’s Tale” by Priyanka Udatha tells the story of Nirmala meeting a foreigner and guiding him to various architectural sites. During these travels, an unbreakable bond forms until, one day, things change.
I live above everyone and when my time comes, I fall to save all the living races. They call me Rain and I watch over the tale of the sky and earth every day. Though they might seem mingled, they are not just like many relations in the living world. Sometimes, I become the reason for the birth of these relationships and other times, I hide their tears and sorrows.
Irrespective of their interpretation, I mostly cherish them choosing to be a spectator and sometimes a narrator too.
“Tara! Tara... wake up dear, it’s time for your dance class!” said Nirmala, switching off the alarm set by Tara.
It has been a routine for Nirmala waking her daughter ever since her husband passed away. Tara woke up and got ready for her class. Observing the time, she packed breakfast in a hurry and dropped it into her bag. She took her bicycle keys and drove down the lane and stopped near a tree to give breakfast to an old man who lived there in a small hut. Just like every other day, when given food, the old man smiled and blessed her.
Finishing her school and helping her mother for dinner, Tara concluded another day following her usual routine. The next day, however, she noticed a foreigner singing and dancing while playing his guitar in a funny outfit near the old man’s hut.
Realizing that he was trying to make the old man happy, Tara giggled. Though the man didn’t bother, Tara handed her breakfast and took his blessing before she rode away thinking about her father to whom she thought she was offering food. As she rode, she tried to divert herself rather than recalling him by passing carefully on the muddy road and grassy lanes in the cloudy climate.
Trying to help her, I poured a little and panicked if I would become intensive, Tara rode fast to escape me.
The next day, while she rode her bike, she found someone following her. As she turned back, to her surprise, she found the foreigner whom she saw the day before. He smiled looking at her and this time, I remained calm observing them.
She asked, “Can I help you?”
He replied, “Yes madam if you don’t mind.”
She answered, “Yeah, tell me.”
He questioned, “Are you familiar with the places around here?”
She replied, “Yes, so…”
He requested her before she finished, “Can you please be my guide and show me the best places around here?”
She smiled and replied, “You can join me.”
He thanked and followed her.
As they walked, she quizzed, “Where do you come from?”
He replied, “Sorry, I should have introduced myself earlier. My name is Chris and I’m an architect from France.”
Greeting him with a smile, Tara replied, “Nice to meet you, Chris. I’m Tara.”
Noticing her, Chris questioned, “Are you a classical dancer?”
Nodding in agreement, Tara took him to a pool and Chris exclaimed, “I’ve been here Tara.”
However, as they walked, Chris started breathing wildly and his thin body seemed to burst out while Tara stared at him weirdly for a few moments before asking, “So why have you decided to come this far?”
Staring into her black eyes, Chris explained, “I have come here for my thesis on the Indian architecture. Your village is one of my many destinations.”
After she heard a couple of his destinations, Tara was surprised to realise, “It seems I’m aware of many of your destinations. I could help a lot.”
Stoked, Chris exclaimed, “Oh! That would be great. I would be grateful.”
Intending to make them come a little closer, I shouted, but my thunder didn’t help.
Instead, it made Tara gazed at me before remarking, “Let’s meet tomorrow to visit places, Chris. I’ll need to get home before it starts raining and take leave to my dance classes too.”
As she concluded, both of them shook hands and she left on her bike bidding him goodbye. The next day, she met without her bike and for a while before they started their journey, Chris entertained her with his guitar before they shared ideas.
Together, they visited many temples and Chris explained the architectural significance, Tara told about the myths she knew. As they spoke, Chris often captured the domes and arches alongside capturing Tara’s dance postures too.
Within days, they became good friends and while Chris used to draw details of the architecture in his notes, Tara used to spend time practising dance in temples. As days passed by, Chris reminded Tara of her father. He took care of her exactly like her father used to do who used to be Tara’s real happiness.
Often, Tara used to glance over Chris’s map to realize that there were many more temples that they were yet to visit. One day, they discussed their plan and Tara mentioned that she wouldn’t advise travelling during the rainy season but instead advised that they started a couple of weeks later.
As agreed, both of them meet a couple of weeks later to visit a fort. That morning, Tara rushed to Chris’ room located at the end of her street. Though Chris suggested using his moped, Tara suggested they could travel by bicycles.
They passed through verdant bushes, small paths and rainy marshes and getting excited, I started to pour. As I intensified, they rode quickly through the bushy thick paths and fields to escape me. In the end, they were not aware of the distance they travelled because of me alongside having lots of fun.
When they reached the hilltop, the sun was almost setting and both of them adored the crimson sky under which the fort looked even more beautiful. Walking towards the castle as the sunset was like a blushing rose, I couldn’t help but feel bad that my absence did add a lot of beauty.
Chris was astonished to see that beautiful sight and fell in love with this view. He cried looking at the sky, “Maria! Love you forever! Soon I’ll come to you...” and Tara stared at him curiously.
However, not wanting to ask him now, they observed the swarm of birds across and Chris caught the scenery on camera as they loved to. They camped there overnight and visited the fort in the morning and returned to the village in the evening.
The following day, Chris mentioned that he would be leaving soon. Feeling a sense of isolation but understanding his work is done, Tara hesitantly asked, “I might not have filled the void Maria left but you have definitely filled the void my father left for me. Could you visit me once in a while?”
Noticing tears in her eyes, Chris replied, “Maria is the love of my life, Tara. She was my soulmate whom God took away quite early. You need not fill that void to be my daughter.”
Filled with happiness, Tara hugged him and he embraced her back. Some bonds are beautiful and eternal. For this child has in a way found her father while he has met the daughter he has never had. The end was just a beginning for them and now it’s my turn to rain in happiness.
This short story is available in a paperback & ebook.