CREATIVE FICTION : Colours of Water by Sushma Kolluri

 There I was, in regal robes on my mighty horse ready to get down  and preside over the frenzied people of my kingdom when water started dripping drop by drop on my face waking me up from my deep slumber. With my eyes half closed I could see the long path these droplets took from the roof to the beams on to my face to rain on my parade, it must be raining heavy if the water starts dripping in my room.Cursing the rain for this uncalled early hour wake up on an already tiring day ahead , I dragged myself out of the bed to join my bustling family outside my room. There they are, puddles of water everywhere heckling at my uncouth self . I see my frazzled mom shouting at everyone in sight for something they did not cause , this sudden outpour of  rain. Today  is the naming ceremony of my sister’s newborn girl. We are expecting our sister’s husband, in-laws and a few of our kin. My mother is agitated because my brother- in-law and his family are stuck in the rain with overflowing drains blocking the roads everywhere. She sure is scared for the inundated water brings up  the bad memories she keeps locked in the deeper layers of her mind.

Mother grew up in a village on the banks of river Godavari, the river was her friend in her childhood. It was the source of her prized possession of rocks and shells , it was on those banks she spent endless hours building sand castles with her friends. The river seemed so calm and harmless ,it even seemed to be enjoying her quirks when a ripple left behind white lather that looked liked a smile on those sands.It all changed when one of her cousins , a few years older than her who promised her that he would teach her how to ride a cycle vanished in the water without a trace just like the drawings they drew on the sand wiped clear by the wave. When her grandmother was sick and on her deathbed in a nearby village ,If only the river was not flooding and too dangerous to cross she could have gone on to say final good bye to her favorite grandmother  . Suddenly water seemed vile and vindictive to her.Countless vanishings of friends , neighbours  and leaving her childhood home for a safer abode , her reverence for water changed to skepticism. Water is now a Pandora's box ,a source of unexpected troubles . Deluge now brings a sense of foreboding and her thoughts take on darker tints. 

"Call them" mother  is shouting frantically , which is received by a  hilarious non sequitur  from my grandfather.Everyone started laughing at his witty response even my mother gave a smirk coming back to normalcy for a second.You can count on my grandfather to bring laughter and warmth to the room.

Grandfather is the wisest man I ever knew.He is like those  wise oracles you find in folklore who can teach you all there is to life with out any education because they had such   rich and varied life . Grandfather was a fisherman. He loved the ocean and was born to be on it.No one can describe the charms and whims of these waters better than my grandfather.Oh the stories he would tell! of mermaids and whirlpools.They call him "Water Whisperer" for  he knows the waters best. He knows how to listen to water and treat it right with respect.He says water is like an innocent child taking everything that comes in its way and yet a proud lady who can put everyone in their place when it is time. After a particularly destructive flood , an innocent child (me) asked grandfather why his friend was this violent . "Water purifies us by taking our dirt , our sins , it is the reason floods are this violent cause it is  giving us back the filth we gave .More the filth , more the destruction" he answered . Even though he experienced the destructive power of  water first hand he always thought water as forgiving  and caring.   
"They should have been home by now, go out and do something," mom shouted at  my father sending him hurriedly to the door.
My father is a mellow and pensive man.He is fascinated by the intertwining of water and mankind. He finds it ridiculous to see water and humans  as separate elements as most of the human body is water. For him reckless treatment  of water is equivalent to deliberately severing a part of your own body. "Water is life and life is water " is all he lives by.
Mother thinks water is vile and vindictive and not to be meddled with. Grandfather romanticizes water for the whimsical mistress she is . Father says water is life . The Phantom of water takes on the shape of our experiences, just like it takes on the color of the surface it flows on. It accepts every adjective bestowed upon it gracefully and goes on with it's course like the stoic hermit she is
I was brought back from my thoughts to the hullabaloo by a large thud on the door. My brother-in-law and his family , sopping wet , looking like they could grow something on their bodies barged into the foyer. Mother let out a sigh of relief. Now everyone is running pell- mell to gather things to dry my in laws and go on with the ceremony ahead.Amidst so many agreements and disagreements , thunders and bolts  we named our niece "Yamuna".

About the Writer:
Sushma is a former techie , now running behind her baby.She loves reading and kind of a book snob. Apart from reading she also enjoys walking , music and DIYs although she is clumsy.


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