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Rubaan danced in the rain and then she never danced again. She had danced that night, despite warnings of a nearby bombing. Didn't she know that little girls in Syria had lost all rights to feel rain pouring through their golden hairs, The Summer rain wasn't theirs to treasure anymore but Rubaan didn't take heed.
Stupid Rubaan, Hurt Rubaan, Dead Rubaan!
The coffin wasn't as heavy as her Papa Yehya’s heart that day. He walked with slow, shuffling, deliberate steps. He wished that the distance to the grave increased. Somehow it made him feel she was still near him but holding her in a coffin was different than holding her in his arms...and when they lowered her into the tiny grave designed for a 5-year-old, it rained heavily. Rubaan loved the rain and the rain loved her in return.
"There's a God who lives somewhere in the skies as the old scriptures say, the God of the skies!’ Couldn't he have stopped the bomb splinters from hitting her.? He was right there in the skies…!" No one could console him. Yehya’s grief was beyond repair and then how could anyone overcome such an immense loss. She was the girl who grew up in his arms, on his shoulders, skipping and jumping in the very garden where he gathered pieces of her. There were so many of them that they had to stitch them up to form a recognizable human shape..!
The cold winter wind blew in hushed tones through the barricaded train window near which the 35 year old woman sat huddled in a brown shawl. Small wisps of snow had settled on her black hair which appeared a bit frizzy in this strong weather.
This was a nearly empty compartment given the time of the year when not many opted for a visit to a hill station and as this late November train sped past quaint Indian villages in the extreme north of the country well past dusk.. Tania drifted off to a dreamless sleep.
She had been deciding upon this trip for a few months now and something or the other had kept delaying it. A trip that had been planned for early September when the apple orchards were laden with fruit had stretched into gloomy November when most of the valley began preparations for a harsh winter ahead.
The train screeched to a halt at a lesser known station and a tall heavily built man clad in a thick overcoat entered her compartment. He brought a gush of very cold air with him that Tania felt harshly despite the half open window. His face was partially covered by a muffler but she could see his eyes. Thick tufts of dripping blackish hair fell over his forehead. He was carrying a small dark brown handbag that he placed overhead before taking a seat exactly opposite to her.