1.31.2012

Umbrella is home

Once upon a time, I ended up in Germany during the rainy season...without an umbrella. It was during one downpour that I went to a super market in Waldorf and bought one. There was as many choices as can be possible with black umbrellas. I picked one which could fit into my rucksack. For a number of years after that whether I had money in my wallet or not this umbrella was a definite occupant of my office bag. And then one fine day last year I lost it. I searched far and wide in the reaches of my memory but could not find any instant in which I had used it in the past few months. (There had been one occasion of blinding rain in which I got drenched holding the unopened umbrella in my hand only because the rest of the people waiting at the bus stop were also getting wet.) Thus, I had to switch to an uncle-type umbrella that T had with him. This umbrella grew on me and became a mainstay of my office bag. While coming to the US, T met with a peculiar stubbornness in me with regards to packing this umbrella. I definitely had to bring it even if it meant leaving behind some things instead. Now this umbrella occupied the pride of place in our NJ home, hung on the bannister at the entry way. Handy and easily available on the way out. Then came my brother. He visited us for the best 3 days of our NJ stay. I should mention here that my brother and me are trained clean-uppers as soon as the word "visitor" is dropped near our ears. As long as he was visiting us, I did not have to worry about straightening up the house. Consequently a few things turned up in odd places. He left for India and we noticed the umbrella was no longer swinging from the railing. I completely suspected my brother of chucking it in some crevice but had not found it despite two thorough searches. As luck would have it my brother did not even remember seeing it and our dear chatri was lost in oblivion. It was during this time that we had to move to KS. We were warned by a few friends of huge thunderstorms that can erupt in the mid-west and a brand new umbrella showed up in our luggage once again. The thing with umbrellas is that when you carry them it never rains...ever! So it was that this umbrella paid dearly for (I mean, comeon, I get a good one for Rs.100 in Bangalore and here it costs $20) lay in our cupboard, discarded unused. Today a couple of our friends arrived from NJ and dropped in for dinner. They brought the customary chocolates (poor guy had brought a champagne-bottle-type of bottle of apple cider on an earlier occasion and we ignored the bottle and evaded opening it thinking it to be alcohol, he learnt his lesson fast) and then handed us a second cover. It was something we had "forgotten" in NJ he said. T opened the cover and his jaw fell when he saw that it was our dear old umbrella! It was all he could do to stop the emotions from flowing out and propelling him to jump in the air. We were so excited about this reunion that we waxed eloquent for the next 15 minutes atleast about the adventures of "umby and we". I am sure the friends thought us to be a chatri lot. Once again it finds a pride of place on a nail inside the cupboard, easily available on the way out.
This story would seem as disjointed as a leg in an arm socket if I do not mention here the background of this umbrella. It has a very strong connection with the US this rain shield. It was procured by T on one of the earlier visa stamp visits to Chennai when a sudden downpour threatened to wipe out all the identification and important documents he was carrying while awaiting his turn in the queue outside the Consulate. So you see, now the dots are all connected and the dear umbrella is home. 
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