The windows of the car were steaming up. The girl shivered. It was getting cold now. She switched the A.C. one step lower. Through the fogged windows, the world was a magical place. She could only see the brightest areas of the market place, which made the effect stunning. She could see the headlamps of a car speeding away, a motorbike trying to over-take it. She could see the street lamp across the road, spreading light across the market place. She could see the illuminated sign boards, with broad letters and perfectly square corners. All she had to do was roll down the window, and this magical enchantment would transform into a hot August night, bustling with life and noise, a busy market place where everyone was hurrying. She reached to roll it down, but then changed her mind. She had witnessed those scenes far too many times. The fogged window provided her with a scene from an enchanted land. A land that could be hers entirely… where she could decide what was to be and what not. She let her imagination run wild for a moment. Just a moment. Because the next second she was roused by the magnificent roar of thunder. Now she rolled down the window, at last.
A tired sleepy girl in a red velvet nightie just settled into her bed covers. It must have been about 11’o’clock and she was exhausted. The day’s events had been hectic. She knew also that the rest of her family were already fast asleep. It was a hot night. The windows were open and the fan was making queer sounds. She decided to call the electrician the following day. There was just so much to be done in the house before the guests would arrive.The guests would have to sleep in her room, of course. Then maybe she could sleep in her sister’s room? Yes, she would have to.
A majestic roar of thunder broke the chain of thoughts in her weary mind. She raised her head for a minute and scanned the outside through her window. A flash of lightning illuminated the sky for a split second. The girl sighed. A thunderstorm, she thought. Then she closed her eyes and muttered a prayer of protection.
The old man straightened his bent back with some difficulty. He made his way to his bicycle. He stopped, and with one hand took out a few hundred rupee notes from his pocket. He smiled. He had had a day full of hard work, and he had put in over time. This would get his daughter the clothes she needed. She was getting married. Most of the preparations were complete already. Though he did need to pay the electrician. And the tailor. He frowned. He mounted the bicycle with some difficulty because his arms ached. In the morning he worked as a gardener, then he would come to the market place and do the welding. Today, however, he had also been chopping wood. But quite simply, he was tired. It was 11’o’clock. He hoped his wife had his dinner ready. He was starving. He scanned the marketplace with weary eyes, searching for his son. There was a car parked under a tree, some distance away. The engine was on, and the windows were steamed up! How odd! He wondered why the windows were steamed up. A roar of thunder made him jump. A thunderstorm? He needed to get home quickly. He saw the window rolling down. A man was running towards the car. The window now revealed the delicate face of a beautiful lady wrapped in a green scarf. She must know the man, because she was smiling at him. And then a flash of lightning…
The window allowed the hot air inside the air conditioned car. It felt nice. The car was too cold. She looked outside searching for her brother. She didn’t have much difficulty. He was running towards the car. She smiled. She was actually getting anxious. It was getting late. It was 11’o’clock! But now she smiled in relief as she saw he had her art supplies with him. For a moment her gaze wandered to an old man with some hundred rupee notes in his hands. Then she saw his face light up first with lightning and then with horror. She traced his gaze. Her imaginings from a while ago were no longer imaginings. Without thinking her hands opened the door that creaked on its hinges, and ran to the now lifeless body of her brother, struck down by that bolt of lightning. The condensation on the window of the car found it to be too much, and the tears which should have been on her tears now traced the edges of the window.