Shiva Ratri is a Hundu festival.  At the Great Night, the Lord Shiva performed a dance of the creation, maintenance, and destruction.  Shiva Hindus mark this night as overcoming darkness and ignorance in life and the world.  According to legend, it might rain on the day before the Great Night.

I am staying nearby my office and awaiting my colleague.  In order to speed the waiting time, I am observing an old lady selling sweets and cigarettes.  She conducts her business at the stairs of a bridge over the road.  Coming to the office, I usually cross this bridge and last week noticed new inhabitants there: 5 puppies not more than 3 weeks old.

The old lady owns a small wooden case, which she places on the stairs against the iron rails. The case is open and is equipped with three tiny shelves.  On the lowest shelf there is a row of plastic colourful boxes with sweets, the middle shelf is full of cookie packs, and cigarettes are on the upper shelf.  Here is a girl who comes for a lollipop.  Right afterwards, the security officer from the neighbouring office passes by to buy some cigarettes.  The life of the street is taking place.

It has started raining, and I go under a shed.  The old lady takes two huge plastic sheets and a black umbrella out from a box behind her.  She wraps carefully her magic case with goods with one of the plastic sheets.  Then she goes a couple of stairs up to fix an umbrella on the rail.  She has quickly placed herself under the umbrella and starts to cover a sack placed close to her right side, which I hadn’t notice before.  While she is busy with protecting it from the rain, all the sudden a small doggy has jumped out.  Yes, it is one of those five puppies!   This big-eared and pitch black doggy has made a circle around the selling spot, has understood that in such a rain it is more comfortable in the sack protected with the plastic sheet, and slips into the sack close to the old lady.

Here my colleague has come.  Upon closing her umbrella, she first says: “Yes, the rainy Shiva Ratri is a usual business.”

Text  and photo: V.Tyumeneva

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