Now she understands why people here do not enjoy the rains.During her first few days here,she had thought that the people here are so mechanized in their lives that their concept of enjoyment has become mechanized too.She was wrong.Soon enough,she had to realize that very practical reasons make people dislike monsoons here.Rains tinkling on tin roof is romantic,one can find music in that;but rains that drench you on your way to work,break your umbrellas and dirty your washed dresses are truly hateful.These rains make the roads so sloppy that with every step you take,droplets of mud stain your clothes.And the worse part is that the clothes do not dry these days.
Just today she had worn a washed suit and the rain dripping from the bus-stand shed,rusty and sticky due to the dirt that it accumulates on its way down had already rendered it unusable.Had there been an option,she wouldn’t have gone out today.The sky was dark with clouds and there was an incessant rain since morning.But today,an important courier was to arrive for her.She had left her passport back in her home.She had asked her parents to courier it to her and she had to bring it today.So she went!
The rain had clogged the traffic and she was standing there for a long time.The shed was full of commuters,waiting for their bus.
Let me talk to ma,she thought,i am already late than my usual time and she must be getting worried.She always enjoyed these timed chats with ma over phone..a chance to speak in her native dialect.She could feel as if she is home during these exchanges of daily mundane matters.Their conversation always revolved around the same topics:food,work,health and a li’l chit-chat about this uncle buying a house or that lady next door going to visit her son.These were her ventilators to breathe.
She had just kept the phone after narrating her plight to her family when she felt a tap on her shoulder.An elderly woman stood there,a smile dangling on her eyes.Her eyes automatically went to her hands;she wore the white shankha ,the tell-tale signs of a married Bengali lady.
-“Bangali??”,came the expected question!
-“Haan” she tried to pour in enthusiasm in her tired voice.
-West Bengal definitely?
-Oh!settled in Assam!Originally from where?
-Na!We are originally from Assam.
She was growing irritated!She had to face this often here.So many people where surprised that there are Bengalis in Assam!
-Your accent tells that you are Bangal.Are you people from Bangladesh?we hear that there is a lot of infiltration going on in Assam!
She was taken aback!She opened her mouth,her mind working furiously to shape a proper retort but a bus had come and the lady was swallowed by the swarming crowd trying to get into it.
She stood there,shocked!The Republic of India Passport lay silently in her bag,wrapped in a plastic bag.Be careful that it doesn’t get damaged in rain,Baba had cautioned her.She thought about her identity,their identity.She remembered a remark made by Sukanya,her friend,You know,this part is a perfect example of a geographical accident!