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I have a sneaking suspicion that the neighbors resent me. Not on all days or on a full time basis, only on those days they see me on the terrace putting out the sheets to dry. ‘Why, woman, why?’ they probably ask themselves, ‘Did you have to put those sheets out to dry today?’ Now you are mystified. What objection could my neighbors have to my drying my sheets, that too on my own terrace, you wonder. Ahh, I will tell you.

Something strange happens on days I wash the sheets. As soon as they are hanging on the lines on the terrace, it rains buckets. Out of the blue. One minute the sky would be a makes-one-cry-with-joy blue dotted with wee little fluffy clouds scattered hither and thither, the next minute, as if by magic, it is all gray with thick dark clouds gathering together and closing ranks, preventing sunlight from reaching Earth, or rather that spot on Earth where I live. And before you can say ‘Eh?’ it starts raining. Good enough reason for the good people of the neighborhood to resent me.

This is what happens up in the sky. Of course, I haven’t been privy to the actual conversations between the characters myself, but then I have got imagination. Haven’t I? And what good is imagination if you don’t put it to good use? So, here it is:

Mr. Sun: (happily shining in the blue sky sees dark clouds in the distance making straight for him at great speed) Hey! Stop right there, Missy! What do you think you are doing? Haven’t you checked this month’s schedule? Not your day! It is mine, to brightly shine. (Chuckles to himself pleased at having used rhyming words)
Cloud Spokesperson: (winks at Mr. Sun) Relax bro. Let me take the day off your hands.
Mr. Sun: (annoyed and not hiding it) Protocols are in place for a reason, you know Cloudy. Get lost or I will vaporize you.
Cloud Spokesperson: Take a chill pill bro. Don’t get all hot and bothered! (Laughs at her own joke of telling Mr. Sun not to be hot)
Mr. Sun: (offended to the quick, turns up the shine and heat factor) You think it is funny? Let me show you what’s funny!
Cloud Spokesperson: Hey, Cool it bro! Listen! (moves closer and whispers something into Mr. Sun’s ears)
Mr. Sun: (immediately relaxes and laughs out loud) Ahhh, sso? Why didn’t you say so in the first place?!
Cloud Spokesperson: Fat chance I had with you threatening to vaporize me! You must do something about your quick temper Sunny Boy! Now move aside and let me be queen for the day.
Mr. Sun: (graciously steps aside and walks away doubled up with laughter)

You are wondering what the Cloud Spokesperson could have told Mr. Sun that made him voluntarily retreat and be cheerful about it. Or you have already guessed. It is no secret. The magic words were, ‘Shail washed sheets today!‘ With the likes of them ruling the sky, is it any wonder the neighbor’s look at me with jaundiced eyes?

Jokes apart, today it was a different tale. Cyclone Burevi was moving from east to west, many kilometers down south from us. Though not in its direct path, rain and winds had been predicted for us today. But the weak sun shining from a relatively blue sky emboldened me to disregard warnings and put the washed sheets out to dry. I looked up at the sky when I was done. There was no dark cloud anywhere in sight. Ha, I might just get away with it this time, I thought. It took exactly two minutes for me to be proved wrong. Hardly had I walked back inside and seated myself in front of the laptop, I noticed through the open window that the sky had turned terribly dark. Within seconds of my noticing that, rain pelted down on us making a huge racket. It is the sheets. Cyclone Burevi heard about it through the cloud grapevine and from afar, lightly flicked a fingertip in my direction. I am sure of it. 😉

© Shail Mohan 2020

Two years back, my imagination took a slightly different route, check it out if you will: Sun vs Cloud