Monsoons are one of the most awaited phenomena bestowed upon us by the benevolent almighty. Rains do a lot of good to the mankind. It is a boon to farming, replenishes water table and water bodies. It provides much awaited respite from the soaring mercury. The entire flora and fauna (natural and manmade) gives out a very fresh, washed and vibrant vibes. Raindrops falling on the parched earth to quench its eternal thirst is quiet an emotional and spectacular sight to watch. Intermingling of thirsty earth and restless rain drops is like two passionate lovers reuniting after a long agonizing separation forced upon themselves by the destiny, with a hope of never separating again and ignorant of the fact that every meeting culminates into a separation.
Love prevails all around riding high on the mood and sentiments marked by marriage of thirsty mother earth and rain drops with purity at heart. Feeling of togetherness and reunion becomes the mood of the season. But this feeling of togetherness suffers every time it rains in my office.

Large and beautiful umbrellas have been provided by my office management to facilitate the journey of their employees from their respective buildings to the main exit without getting wet. But we mortal souls, so engrossed in the utilitarian aspect of life, fail miserably to understand the real purpose of such facility (I guess even the office management is ignorant about the same). These benevolent umbrellas are actually cupids, selflessly trying to maintain the natural order of things – “The state of oneness, the state where both the genders mingle freely and there is not room for distrust”. But unfortunately this natural order of the society has served a great deal due to the insurmountable wall of distrust and inequality that exists between men and women.

A usual evening scene outside my office building on rainy days is quiet agonizing for someone like me who is a great advocate of oneness between the two sexes. Few lucky men and women can be seen dragging their tired body, arranging their bags and lunch boxes towards the main exit under the umbrella, ALL ALONE. Majority of men and women wait desperately for a UN proclaimed umbrella to commence their journey ALL ALONE. Now the point I am trying to make here is why this aloofness. Few of those who share their umbrella are entirely based on the similarity of gender one has with the one carrying the umbrella. The adherence to this strange principle which thwarts any intermingling of souls of opposite gender (known or unknown) is unfathomable. But unfortunately, this behavior displayed by people in my office actually reflects the sentiments that exist in our society today. This deep divide between men and women is heart wrenching. Such feeling can be attributed (to a small extent) to the suspicion with which the society always sees a man and woman together. Even the tones of virtues (that’s what parents proudly addresses these otherwise crappy things), regarding how to deal with people of opposite gender that is implanted into us forcefully during the course of our upbringing plays a major role in deepening this divide. Time and again we are reminded by our parents to have a cautious approach while dealing people of with opposite sex. People might contradict me sighting examples of harassment that few belonging to one gender has to undergo due to few belonging to the opposite gender. I completely agree to them but most of these harassments are manifestation of the restrictions that the society has created which hinders the free intermingling of the two sexes. Ops almost got carried away from where I started; lets come back to the umbrella story.
The favorable atmosphere provided by the rains is wasted due to our inhibitions about intermingling with people of opposite sex. We can sing praises and drool over the song sequence glorified by the great Raj Kapoor and Nargis Dutt in which they walk together under an umbrella completely drenched in rain and love. But still when it comes to actually imbibing and implementing those learning, we just love to refrain ourselves. If we actually look at the construct of umbrella, we can observe it is perfectly cut out to instigate and spread the feeling of togetherness. The umbrellas that we have here in office are too big for single use and a little small for shared use. And that is where the fun lies. For many restless souls, wandering in search of love, this walk could be their “KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI MOMENT”. The accidental rubbing of shoulders because of the falling rain and quest to fit into the umbrella, the unintentional touch of the fingers in order to hold the umbrella upright resulting in those blush full glances exchanged combined with the dampness around and the intermingling warm breath are potent circumstances for the love to bloom. Unfortunately we deprive us of such situation due to our reluctance. It is not necessary that love will bloom ever time you share the umbrella with some one of opposite gender. Even if does not happen, sharing of umbrella can make your rather solitary journey to the exit a little more interesting and you will get to meet new people.
Due to environment concerns, car pooling has gained significance. I guess to bridge the divide between mankind; umbrella pooling should be the next FAD.