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Mansi knocked loudly two or three times from behind the drops falling on the window of Raindrops Cafe. The boy standing outside the window might not have heard. Mansi patted her loudly this time, so the boy turned and looked in the window. A curly-haired girl was pointing out the glass window to come in. The boy did not understand anything. He came closer to the glass and started peeping inside. Mansi stepped back a little. The cafe inside was very beautiful, but his gaze stopped on Mansi. Why was this cool girl with curly hair calling him in? Picking up his bag and guitar, he walked from the street to the cafe and came towards the main gate. There was a blue door in the middle of the white wall. There was a board above ‘Raindrops Cafe’, as soon as he went inside he realized why it was named? Some parts inside the cafe were kept open naturally, from where raindrops would fall into the beds below. The sound of those falling drops and the feeling of seeing them was amazing.
His eyes were looking for a girl with curly hair. In the meantime, a voice came from the counter in the last corner of the cafe,
He saw a girl wearing a white tank top and black yoga pants was calling him. He started walking towards it. The girl was wearing a stylish cloth headband on her head. He recognized. It was the same girl who invited him in through the window.
“Hi, I’m Mansi,” the girl extended her hand holding the rudraksh garland.
“Hello, I’m Tony,” the boy wanted to shake hands, but he didn’t know where to put the guitar and the bag.
“Never mind, you can put them over there.” Mansi pointed to the empty space near the counter and said, “You can sit here at any table.”
“But why did you invite me in?”
“Oho! You were getting wet in the rain outside. When I saw it, I thought I should call inside. Well, if you want to go back, you can go,” Mansi said with a smile.
“Oh please, it’s not like that. I was waiting for the rain to stop, but it kept increasing.”
“The rains in Mumbai are like this. Looks like you’re not from Mumbai?”
“I am from Goa, just came to Mumbai today. Was going to meet a friend for work when it started raining.
“Oh, so you’re from Goa? I have gone many times. It’s a beautiful place.”
“Yes, yes, but this cafe of yours is no less beautiful. As soon as I entered, I felt as if I had entered another world. How green is inside.”
“Thank you! I have always loved rain, food and gardening, so thought of making passion a profession.
“It’s nice to hear that. Hopefully! Everyone would have been lucky enough to be able to follow their passion.” There was a slight sadness in Tony’s voice.
“Come on, let’s sit there and talk,” Mansi pointed to a table near the rack of books. The bougainvillea vine was going up from near the table, where there was a thin net, from which drops of water were still drizzling.
“What will you drink?” Mansi extended the menu further.
“Just get a hot coffee.”
“She will get it, tell me what will you eat with coffee?”
“Anything that’s good.”
“Good? This is Raindrops Cafe, everything is fine here,” Mansi laughed loudly. He laughed and said, “I like garlic bread by the way, will you eat it?”
Tony smiled and nodded his head yes. Mansi got up from the chair and went towards the kitchen. Tony looked at the cafe once again. Blue and white chairs. Bouquets of colorful flowers placed on the table, paintings of clouds on the walls. Everything was so mesmerizing. He remembered his own house in Goa, which was so colorful, but the colors were not blooming like that.
When Mansi came back, she had a wooden tray in her hands. Smoke was rising from the coffee mug.
Mansi asked as soon as she sat down, “You were saying something about passion. Looking at the guitar, it looks like you are a singer. Have you come to Mumbai to follow passion?
Tony looked at the raindrops falling in the middle of the garden. Mansi felt that her question bothered Tony.
He tried to correct the matter, “If you don’t want to tell, then it’s okay.”
“No, nothing like that, wondering where to start! Actually five of us friends in Goa formed a band. When I got a chance to sing in a club on Friday parties, we started singing. Then one day when Papa came to know, he got angry. He doesn’t like playing my guitar. They feel that money cannot be earned from music, which is very important to lead a better life.”
“Hmm!” Mansi took a sip of coffee.
“Dad doesn’t tell, but I know how much he loves music. When I was little, I used to have a trumpet in the house. Don’t know why later he was not found anywhere. Nobody in the house even talks about it. Well, now here I have come to Mumbai. In search of a job, if I get a good job, my father will be happy too.
“You know Tony, your father is absolutely right. Money is necessary for life. I think so too.”
“You saying so? Who has reached here by following his passion.
“Not everything is as we see it, Tony. The Mansi you are meeting today is different. If I had met five years ago today, I would have met you while working in a bank. My father was also very happy when I got the job. After working for a year, I realized that this is not what I wanted. Talking to friends, everyone said that there is security in this. It would be foolish to leave it. But I think it is wiser to be stupid at times in life. I quit the job!”
“seriously? You got a job and left? Didn’t your father say anything?”
“Say no, Papa was very angry. Didn’t talk for a few days. He was also right in his place, I had no option. I myself did not know what to do, how to do it. I just knew that since childhood I used to think that I should have a cafe by the sea. Talked to dad, but he didn’t listen. Then I took a job in a cafe. Learned to cook a variety of dishes there, how the cafe operates, learned everything and met Papa with a complete project plan.
Tony was listening to Mansi in surprise. He found all this very interesting.
Mansi continued to say, “I spoke with full confidence in front of Papa, so he could not refuse. They sold our house and gave me money. We stayed in a rented house for a few days. Now this cafe is not only mine, but there is also a house which this cafe has given back.” There was a gleam in Mansi’s eyes saying this.
“You know, when I came to see this place, it was raining very heavily that day also. My umbrella flew away and went to the seashore. Whenever it rains, something good happens to me.”
Tony had a smile on his face. He was lost in Mansi’s words. He found Mansi very settled and confident. He stood up from his seat and said, “Can I hug you?”
“Ummmm! OK,” Mansi said with a pause.
Tony went ahead and hugged Mansi and said, “Sometimes in life some things happen because they are very important to us. My coming to Mumbai, staying here in this rain, your calling me. I can’t tell how important all this was to me. Thank you so much Mansi!”
“Thanks, not me, say this rain, because of which we were able to meet.”
Tony saw the light droplets falling in the little pond in the middle of the cafe and closed his eyes and said, “Thank you rain!”
He turned to Mansi and said, “Okay, now I go, the rain has stopped. You have to go for interview also. I will always remember today.”
“And I will always remember you,” said Mansi with a smile.
Both got up and went outside. As soon as he left the cafe, Tony shook hands with Mansi and started leaving by saying bye. Just then he heard Mansi’s voice coming from behind, “If you want, you can play the guitar in my cafe every evening.”
Tony looked back and saw Mansi smiling. Tears rolled down Tony’s eyes. The guitar started playing in his heart. Even though the rain had stopped outside, it was still raining inside.
– Kush Vaishnava
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