Rain That Never Was .. Dreams That Never Were
blue skies with a searing sun had become a regularity in Kumarappan’s
life. As he squatted on his paddy field thinking about the recent
jolts he had experienced, the pain of failure was slowly setting
Kumarappan was a farmer, he was never meant to be anything else.
With dutiful diligence, he had followed his ancestors’ footsteps
in taking up the family profession. The love that he cultivated
in his heart for his land, the soil it contained and the crop it
heralded was unsurpassed. He had a vision when he was young…it became
his mission as he grew. The vision was to own a piece of land. And
own he did. He became the first person in his family to harvest
rice on his own land. But all that seemed decades ago. ‘What is
the use of being a good farmer if you are a failure at becoming
a good father?’ he thought. Frustration was the only feeling he
had, when he thought about Kannappan, his only son.
At the age of 6, the
age when he had started to farm, his son had shown not even the
slightest inclination towards it. Tinkering with the tools, tweaking
the plough and repairing the cycle seemed to interest him more.
Not taking this aspect seriously was a big mistake on the part of
Kumarappan. When, at the age of 16, Kannappan announced that he
was going to pursue diploma in mechanical engineering, it was the
first dent to his fatherhood.
Self pride withheld
him from stopping his son’s career plans, which flummoxed
him in whichever respect he tried to see it. How could he
have not fallen in love with Mother Nature after having lived
with it for so long? What more values were there which these
beautiful greeneries couldn’t teach? The earth beneath you
taught you patience; the soil it held taught you the virtues
of filtering, the good from the bad, be it impurities or even
people. The harvest on the whole taught you the value of hard
Even with all
these lessons staring right at his face, Kannappan had failed
to grasp them. Kumarappan was abashed at the idea of his son
venturing off to some city leaving their family tradition
hanging in the balance. But he remained stoic and continued
his passion-farming- with silent vigour.
It was about
a decade later that he received a bigger jolt, in the form
of his son’s Marriage. Marriage was something which Kumarappan
once again related to the maturity of a crop. When the seedlings
are first planted in the nursery, they grow into small shrubs
which have no value as such. It is when these shrubs are plucked
and replanted in the harvest field that they mature into a
crop giving sizeable yield of paddy. Similarly, when a girl
grows up in her own house, the significant title of womanhood
is not attached to her. It is only when she marries and enters
her husband’s home that she blossoms into a woman, bearing
the burden of the family synonymous with the way mother earth
bears the burden of its children. But when his son made a
lettered account of his supposed ‘love’ in the city and his
plans of marrying the girl and settling there itself, Kumarappan
knew that he had made some serious mistakes as a father. He
also knew that it was too late to correct them.
Not only was
his son breaking the family tradition of marrying inside the
clan, but he was also putting a barricade to his father’s
wishes of being a family again. Ever since his wife’s death,
Kumarappan had longed for the day when his son would marry
a girl inside the clan and get settled in their village itself,
aiding him in the fields and raising a healthy family. That
day would remain a dream, he thought sadly.
all these jolts, this season’s monsoon or, to be specific,
the lack of it landed him the biggest jolt. Rain had never
been his friend all these years, but it had never been a fiend
either. He had managed to reap a decent harvest every year
so far, at least a yield that would cover his loan interests
and mortgages. But, this year was different from any of the
previous ones. The scorching intensity of the sun combined
with the staunch indifference of the rain was proving to be
a disaster. It was October and there were no signs of rain.
The water table was just a table, with no water to spare.
Hence the bore pump he had installed in his field failed to
produce any water for irrigation. The pride he placed on his
land and his abilities as a farmer abstained him from offering
himself to work on other peoples’ fields for money.
’30 days…’ thought
Kumarappan pensively. Only 30 days were left for harvest. His crop
was already bearing a yellowish tinge. The miniscule supply of water
he got from the government was of no use. The field, which should
have been flooded with water at this point of time, was almost dry.
He would have no other option but to sell his land if his harvest
failed this season. He would rather die, for his life was in the
land. He would be a soul-less wanderer without it. His eyes swept
over his beloved field. He longed to see the silent gushing of water
through nooks and crevices in the field, energizing the soil, filling
the crop with life and fuelling his heart with hope. But all he
could see was an arid piece of terrain with almost lifeless crop.
The pain of failure seemed to expand in his chest. His son’s negligence
towards farming coupled with his negligence towards his father…the
fact that he would never be able to play with his grand children
on his own field…the incessant absence of rain…the eventuality of
selling his land. All these demons filled his heart with excruciating
It happened like an explosion…all the built up infliction seemed
to tear his chest spraying its fragments to the surroundings. As
he lay on the field clutching his chest, his eyes looked up into
the vast expanse of sky. It had become a murky grey. The last vision
his eyes saw was that of a pearl like drop making its way towards
As the final vapour of breath left his body, the first drops of
rain hit the scorched field sending up vapours of repressed heat…repressed
Jagannath, a Mechanical Engineering graduate. I developed an interest
in short story writing after reading Satyajit Ray's and Saki's works,
both being my inspirations.