Magix 'n' Curses
..the argument continues

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Rainmaker

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with the John Grisham novel. It is, infact, about the annual competition held in the sky.

Every year, clouds of different sizes and shapes and colours congregated for the "Annual Cloud of the Year Challenge". Mr. Varun, the official judge for the competition, selected the best rainmaker from amongst the clouds.

Mr. Stormson, the dark heavyweight who marked his territory in Cherappunji won almost every year. There were occasional surprise winners like Ms. Konkan Dunken, who visited Mumbai and rewrote the world record set by Mr. Stormson.

But not all clouds were champions like these strong dark ones. There was li'l Fluffy, who couldn't squeeze out a drop of rain even if he wrung himself thin. Ms. Cumulo Nimbette was a moody creature who could happily pour if she wished to, but chose to tease the parched earth by moving tantalisingly over it and then withdrawing as quickly as she arrived. However, she began to be plagued by bad luck ever since the villagers of Champaner cursed her. She had sadistically blown them a raspberry and hurried away as soon as they finished singing Ghanan Ghanan.

In the midst of these wide variety of clouds was Mr. Almost Grey. He was a very sad cloud, who hadn't made the grade even a single year. He howled, he huffed and he puffed, but never managed more than a slight drizzle. It was not enough for Mr. Varun, who had certain parameters for judging, and more often than not, gave him a fail grade.

"If I fail one more time, I'm committing suicide!", he confided to his friend, Cirrus Black. Cirrus was shocked. " 'tchoo blabberin' maann? yo freakin me out.. dun eva say such things again maann!". After he calmed down, he reasoned with Grey. "Lookit here maann, dun lose 'ope.. give eet yo bes' shot. This ain't everythin'.. yo big, yo very big, maann.. Peepol bless ya when ya block out da sun 'n' give 'em a break from da heat.."

Grey nodded, but he had made up his mind. This was do or die. He was even thinking of ways to commit suicide. He was broken out of his reverie by a booming thunder that signalled the beginning of the competition.

And so it started as all the clouds huddled around a television screen watching their peers happily pour over their selected territory. Stormson got a massive 93% for his strong steady downpour. He was furious when Varun told him the score. "That was a perfect rain! Where did those 7 percentage points go? I demand a reval!", Stormson roared. Varun looked up at him calmly and said, "I'm the judge for a reason. I know my job. I have some criteria. So please shut up and watch ur friends perform."

Almost Grey was almost in tears. "Sigh.. Why can't I perform like that?", he thought to himself. He watched as one after the other, his counterparts did their thing. Cirrus Black got only 72% inspite of a good performance. That was when Grey understood Varun's logic. He was taking into account the people's appreciation of the rain too.

Black had chosen St. Lucia in the West Indies and succeeded in washing out the 4th day's play between India and West Indies. The spectators weren't too impressed. Grey realised that this was the reason points were docked off.
Grey began to formulate a plan. Where he lacked in talent, he'd make up for it with timing and strategy.

He noticed Fluffy coming back, looking extremely dejected. "I got a 0. Would you believe it? A zero! I think I'm the world's biggest failure. I couldn't muster a single drop!", Fluffy whimpered. "There there... Don't be so glum, buddy. This ain't everything", Grey said in a soothing tone. Fluffy broke down, and started to shed loads of tears. Grey couldn't resist saying, "You should have done this in the competition, pal!", as his name was called and he made his way out.

Grey picked his spot. "Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.", he thought to himself as another bolt of thunder signalled his start. He whooshed down at full speed. "Target locked. Change course to go through the Bay of Bengal. That might help me refuel.", he muttered to himself as he gained speed. Whizzing over the Bay of Bengal, he made his way to Chennai. He noticed all the sweat and grime and the DermiCool Powder hoardings and smiled to himself that he'd made the right choice.

As he swooped over the city enveloping it in a welcome shade, the Chennaiites looked up in relief and smiled. Grey hung around for a few more minutes and gave it his all. The slight drizzle slowly built up a steady cadence, and Grey was beginning to gain confidence. He let out a whoop of joy and tried a little harder. His smile slowly turned into a frown as he realised he was losing steam. And before he knew it, he'd lost it. He'd cleared up into a benign mass of water vapour that refused to undergo condensation.

He returned to the arena, extremely disappointed. He'd messed up a good start. And he knew the drizzle wouldn't fetch him even 20 points. Cirrus came upto him and consoled him. "Tha' wazza bloody brilliant start maann.. Too bad ya couldn' keep eet goin'..", he rambled, trying to distract Grey from getting wrong thoughts in his head. Grey remained silent, fixing his gaze at Varun, waiting for his score.

Varun cleared his throat. "And here's the score of the final contestant, Almost Grey. His performance wasn't upto the mark. I'd give him a 15 for that." Grey's eyes started to well up. He was about to get up to do something drastic when he heard Varun's booming voice continue, ".. But did you see the look on the people's face. They blessed him with all their heart. He gave them a much needed respite from the heat, and also made sure he left soon so as to not trouble them too much. And that thoughtfulness deserves 30 points. You all know that the cut off is 40. So there you go folks, Almost Grey makes the grade for the first time with 45 points!"

All the clouds broke into an applause. Almost Grey wanted to scream "Aatha, naan pass aaiten", but held back realising not everyone understood Tamil. He had finally made the grade. He was not a failure, afterall!

He was surprised to know that the Chennaiites knew about his result too. Or that was what he thought, because even the newspapers had mentioned "Passing shower"!