It was raining incessantly outside, almost drowning the conversation, when a sleepy Molina tried to pick up the words being uttered in the other room. She seemed anxious. Why won't she be? Her future depends on it.
Molina is in her early thirties. She is still a spinster. Although several attempts have been made from all quarters to see her married off, somehow it didn't transpire. Her dark complexion and her ordinary looks have contributed to her present status.
Of late, Molina is unhappy. Every one she meets these days gives her a sympathetic look, as if some great tragedy has befallen upon her. She hated this look from others. She was otherwise satisfied with life. She worked as a school teacher in a primary school.
Molina wasn't exactly against marriage, but felt in case it doesn't happen she wouldn't be unhappy. "What's this big deal about marriage? I'm sure I can lead my life perfectly even if I don't get married. Many working women are remaining single these days," she used to console herself.
Molina is a film addict. She hardly misses any film that comes to her town. She prefers mostly an escapist fare. She personally believes that films are meant for entertainment only. She loves melodramatic films where siblings get separated and then reunited later at some stage in their lives, and filled with romantic sequences - running around trees by the hero and heroine while mouthing a lilting song. She particularly likes those sequences where the hero and heroine would get drenched, and romance swinging their hips out in the rain. These sequences are almost always depicted in films as an expression of outmost ecstasy.
One of her secret craving, which Molina had long kept hidden within her, was to enact such a sequence in her own life someday. She waited for an opportune moment, a joyous moment when she would dance in gay abandon in a rain shower. She felt that today would be a befitting day to carry out her long desired wish if she hears an affirmative reply to her marriage proposal being
discussed in the other room.
"You've seen our daughter. Would you like to accept her as your daughter-in-law?" Molina heard her dad speak these words.
"Okay, Mr. Guha. We like your daughter Molina. I think she would make a good daughter-in-law. We've already agreed upon the other issues of the marriage. We're ready."
The rains still continued unabated. When the downpour ebbed, her would be in-law's departed.
The rains resumed soon after. Molina was hardly able to conceal her joy. She felt that the occasion needed celebration. She was contemplating what she should do when the thought of dancing in the rain came to her head. She slipped out surreptitiously by the back door, and headed for the beach. The beach would be deserted at this hour, she thought. "I can really do whatever I feel like doing once I reach there, away from the questioning and sickening gaze of onlookers" she said to herself.
As she had anticipated, the beach was totally vacant. Not a single soul seemed anywhere in the vicinity. Who would be insane enough to venture in this driving rain to come to a beach? Molina felt happy to have the whole beach to herself.
She tucked the front dangling portion of her sari inside the fold on her hips. And then she gently began taking a few dancing steps. She started humming a popular tune from a Hindi film
"Sawaan ko aane do ....." (Let the rains come ...)
There were more songs to follow. Molina enacted several of her favorite rain sequences from all the films that she had seen. It gave her a peculiar satisfaction. And then suddenly,
"Hello baby, having a nice time?"
Molina looked back frightened. She turned pale at the sight of four youths eyeing her mischievously. She could easily make out that all of them were drunk. A couple of them were even holding a bottle in their hand and began shamelessly taking a sip.
The foursome inched towards Molina. One of them caught hold of Molina's hand. Another snatched at her sari and tried unwrapping ‘em
and then .....
The news spread like wildfire. However, Molina's father refused to lodge a complaint at the police station. He feared that the reputation of his daughter would be tarnished. He knew that in Indian society, a raped girl is treated contemptuously.
Molina kept cursing herself. Why have I acted so foolishly? After all, I knew I didn't had a hero (like in films) to protect me from goons. Why did I go to the beach all alone?
Molina awoke from her slumber. She thanked her tired body for knocking her off and restraining her secret cravings. The promise of a marriage ahead seem so uplifting to her now. She dreaded the danger fraught with her magic realism…