various colorful threads hanging on rail in workshop

The Thread shop

The muddy smell, Rushy road, and stinky drains, it is the rainy season already! Dad and I opened the shutter of our thread shop. Nagaraj uncle didn’t come yet to open his butcher shop. Seems like it will take time for him. As soon as we open the shutter, the smell of thread touches our nose and we love it. Dad put all his bags of threads in place, some outside and some in. We have a tiny area to sit, but we still love it.

Dad takes his towel and waving it, shouts in the market, “Daaralandi, Daaralu, Anni rangula daaralu!” Whenever he sings that loudly, I giggle a lot. I put my tiny hands around his neck from behind and swing on his back. My dad gets his first customer, and I got to say he is an excellent salesman. The customer was pretty happy with my dad’s sensibility and humbleness while speaking. He gave us an order of 500 rupees which is big for us for one day. From the money he earned, he gave me some money to go and buy flowers. My dad loves it when I put flowers in my braid. He says the smell of jasmine makes him happy when I am playing around him.

“Arey Lalitha, where are you running to?” said a voice from behind. I turned to see Nagaraj uncle. “Uncle, you came! I want to eat mutton today. Can you make small pieces for me?” “Ofcourse, my darling! Go and get what you were going for and I will make you the mutton when you return,” Nagaraj uncle said.

I always love running into the flower market. The smell of different flowers in the wind and freshness of flowers reminds me of my mom. My mom was a flower seller too before she died in the floods a few years back. Wow, the view! The beautiful orange Chrysanthemum flowers with the touch of yellow in them mesmerize me. The pink and red roses, just like my mom’s charming smile. There, they are, my lilies and jasmines! Wonderfully weaved with thread. I think thread and flowers have an intense connection, they hold each other to make a pretty ornament to wear in our hair, just like my mom and dad.

“Rangamma aunty, give me flowers please!” I asked, and Rangamma aunty put some jasmine flowers into my hair. I ran back to my dad. “Na bangaru thalli! My dad kissed me on my cheek.” “Ok, bye, nanna! I am going to school,” I said. “Ok, bye!” My dad said. I started walking towards the school. My friend Sundar joined me on the way. He and I are best friends. Suddenly, it started raining. The smell of mud hits us. I love it. We both love rain a lot and started playing in the rain. Rainwater drenched our bags and dresses.

“Let’s run, we are late to school already,” Sundar said. We reached school and see that all children were sitting and we joined them. It’s been 2 hours since we came but it still raining outside. The water has already reached our rooms. Teachers were discussing among each other on if they should send us home. The rain is just increasing minute by minute. We see all school filled with water. The teachers have asked us all to fold our legs onto our benches as they see no way to go out for now. Rain won’t stop. We have no classes today, and we are happily playing on our benches. We wish it rains every day so that we don’t have any classes daily.

After massive rain for an hour, we are hungry, and the rainwater is all over the place. We wanted to go home now. We waited for another hour for the rain to stop. Thankfully, it is decreasing now. But we can’t go out that easily. We will have to wait until something can be done to let the water go out. The school is in up-town so the water was sent to downtowns so that the area can be cleared. After two more hours, the water was almost removed, and we were asked to go back home.

Sundar and I started running back home. The water level started increasing as we moved to downtown. We didn’t know what to do. We were already half-drowned in water. Then some people were going on the boat, and they took us into their boat. When we asked to take us to the Market yard where his father Nagaraj and my father had their shops, they told us that the area is completely drowned. It is highly risky in this rain to go out there. We started panicking and crying. One woman in the boat tried to console us and asked if she can take us with her. We couldn’t help but to go with her. The boat fled to somewhere safe away from my village.

For three days, the rain kept toggling and now finally ended. We stayed in a small hut where the water reach was less. The people with whom we fled took care of us. Now, Sundar and I are missing our families hugely and want to meet them. We asked others to help us reach home, and they asked us to stay calm until the water flow decreases. After two days yet again, the water flow reduced to half. So, we were taken in the boat to the village.

We see nothing but destroyed homes, fallen vehicles, dead bodies, fallen trees right from entering the village. Slowly, we moved towards the market yard. My heart is pounding fast, and I am very terrified. Reaching the market yard, the whole area was stinking, and all I could see was mayhem. Everything was utterly drowned, and water was stuck with nowhere to go. People around were saying that no one actually who worked there is alive anymore. Tears started rolling out my eyes.

 I see a board hanging at the top of a wall, “Lalitha Thread Shop” it read. I couldn’t stop myself from crying. Our shop was unidentifiable. The complete market yard was gone. Sundar and I didn’t see this coming. Soon then, another boat came flowing. A woman shouted from that boat, “Lalitha, Sundar, you guys are safe? Thank god!” It was Rangamma aunty. She said that our fathers and others of the market yard in trail to save their shops, lost their lives and she got lucky, someone saved her.

After 50 years today, it is raining again, and my thread shop is at threat of drowning. My child is at school. Sundar went to pick him up from school. But this rain won’t stop at all. I will try to live and save our shop from drowning for my child. “Yes, we all shall try to save our shops,” a neighbour shop owner said.

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