The Umbrella Man

I choose to call him that because rain or sunshine, he is always there for me with his umbrella.

One would think that I am going to talk about a man who lent me his umbrella when I needed it. True though it might be, he/she cannot be more mistaken if the thought process stops there.

Yes. I am going to tell you the story of the umbrella man.

The man who I see only on days when it is raining so heavily that my small backpack or handbag cannot shield me from the rain even if were to wrap it around my face like a scarf.

The man who is there at the bus stop at Redhill and takes the same bus as me, Bus No. 32 to get off at the next stop. With me.

The man who wears a white tee shirt with grey shorts, blue cotton shirt with white trousers, cream coloured shirt that says “I am different” in brown stitched fabric with khakhis or a Venetian green shirt with denim trousers. And I can say safely that you will find him in one of these combinations. I cannot tell you the happiness I experience when I predict his outfit accurately. Most of the times. I can almost see a pattern now.

The man who never forgets his umbrella.

The man who looks at me from the corner of his eyes as I cross the road and as I pretend to be angry for forgetting my umbrella every other day. But somewhere deep inside, I am thankful to experience the rain. I have been sleeping in the train and need that refreshing downpour even if it means going to the office drenched. But there he stands, seeming to understand every little thing going on inside my head. Able to see through my false expression.

The man who loves to tease me. Let me admit it. The man whom I like to be teased by. For why else would he come to the end of the crossing and hold out his umbrella for me to walk to the bus stop that is 2 steps away, just as I was beginning to enjoy the rain?

The man who squints and looks at me with an exasperation that I can hear miles away. And as if it were not enough, he mumbles under his breath and expects me to say not just a thank you but also an excuse as to why I forget my umbrella every single day. And it is for this reason I cross the road slowly so that my little brain can conjure an appropriate excuse. Not that I can fool anyone though.

The man who just stands there in silence, amidst the blaring traffic, the beeping signals, the ringing cell phones that seem to take cue from each other and ring deliriously, the indifference and business-as usual stares and the heavy downpour. He does not as much look at me after I give him the excuse.

The man who spots the bus at the faraway crossroad, and hmmphs at me indicating that it is time for me to take my ticket out of my bag.

The man who lets me get into the bus first ( Charming chivalry!), all the while holding the umbrella over my head even though the whole process takes not more than 5 seconds.

The man who then goes and sits in a far off seat, not even appearing to show any acknowledgment that he knows me.

The man who gets off the bus first and then holds the umbrella above my head as I get down, his eyes looking somewhere above my head and below the umbrella. But never at me.

The man who engages in simple formalities about the weather all of a sudden and about himself in barely clear speech but more than adequate expression. As we talk and walk towards my work place, he slows his pace. I go on and on about little nothings and he nods and goes on about his own little somethings.

The man who accompanies me with the umbrella till the doorstep, inspite of a roof above my head. He watches me go in and punch and then traces his steps back a little faster towards the employment centre meant for persons with intellectual disability.

The man whose age I don’t care about.

The man whose name I cannot spell. Or pronounce correctly.

The man who has not asked me for my name. Not once.

The man who smiles only when I try to protect myself from a big splash as a heavy vehicle passes by.

The man who was wearing that cream coloured shirt that says “I am different” in brown stitched fabric with khaki trousers today.

The man who never forgets to bring an umbrella.

The man whom I look for everytime I sense grey clouds or a slight drizzle. Wherever I am.

The man whose presence I am learning to sense even before I see him.

The umbrella man, whose story I could tell you forever and ever.


Feature photo


  1. Dew · September 21, 2012

    Lovely read Kismitoffee

    • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012

      Thanks so much Dew 🙂 I meet this amazing man every rainy day atleast 🙂

  2. My Era · September 21, 2012

    What a beauty 🙂
    If only you and I Lived in the same city and shared our route to work I could have been your umbrella woman (for I never forget to carry an umbrella in the rainy season 😉 )
    A very delightful read, may you get to meet him for a very long time 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012

      Thank you ME 🙂
      Oh, I’d love to walk with you 🙂 I ALWAYS forget my umbrella. And the days I bring it along, there is not a drop of rain and the sun is just warm and a wee bit shiny.
      I really wish so too ME. Thankee 🙂

  3. Destination Infinity · September 21, 2012

    Poetic prose 🙂 So, what more do you know about him?

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012

      🙂 so many little things DI. Like for example he ties his lace really immaculately. He does get agitated when the bus doesn’t come on time….. I can go on and on 🙂

  4. Nithvin · September 21, 2012

    How sweet! Do people like him really exist? Touchwood! Totally loved reading about your ‘umbrella’ man Kismi..

    But tell me, haven’t you ever got scared? at least the first time he offered you his umbrella?

    • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012

      Nithvin – such lovely people do very much exist 🙂
      No I haven’t got scared. He just seems so genuine and all he offered was an umbrella. He works next door (as I realized later) and is in fact an alumnus from one of the schools for persons with intellectual disability in that area. ah but these are the minor details that don’t make a lot of difference.
      I used to wish that he smiled more often but I am so content with who he is, now.

      • Nithvin · September 21, 2012

        May God bless him are lucky to have come across such a kindred soul 🙂

      • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012

        Truly Nithvin 🙂 I hope he is always happy. and I continue to be lucky! Thank you so much 🙂 I wish you meet someone like that soon. It does make your day!

  5. Privy Trifles · September 21, 2012

    It is so wonderful to read about such amazing people who exist in this world. It re affirms that niceness is still around 🙂

    Such a refreshing change from all the selfish people we otherwise bump into!

    • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012


      You are so right! 🙂 Such wonderful people make life beautiful!
      And to think that I start a rainy day on a sunny note! 🙂

  6. Lifesong · September 21, 2012

    Such a nice read. Beautifully written Kismi 🙂
    Is this man for real? 🙂
    And like Nithvin even I am curious…. Weren’t you ever scared?

    • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012

      Thank you Lifesong. Yes, I meet him and I’d like to hope he is real 🙂 I know he sounds like this amazing character right off books and movies, but then I realize that’s how books and movies are made. People like him….
      No LS I wasn’t scared 🙂 Like I said, all he offered was an umbrella and it was raining. So, I was just grateful that someone stopped and offered.

  7. Bikramjit Singh Mann · September 21, 2012

    beautiful , loved reading it .. went to the reference and that sketch and red umbrella lovely tooo ..
    and god bless that man too .. who put a smile on your face .. Keep smiling

    • kismitoffeebar · September 21, 2012

      Thanks so much Bikram 🙂 yes, that sketch is good, no?
      He is a lovely man. Thanks so much again 🙂

  8. Titaxy · September 21, 2012

    such a beautiful read, kismi. poetic! may the umbrella man always be around when there’s rain 🙂

  9. Jas · September 21, 2012

    A really lovely read Toffee. I would love to meet your Umbrella man someday.

    • kismitoffeebar · September 24, 2012

      Thank you so much Jas 🙂 I’d love it if you can meet him someday too!

  10. Scribby · September 21, 2012

    wow sounds a little filmy, loving and cute KT !

    • kismitoffeebar · September 24, 2012

      Yeah Scribby, I wrote it and then posted and read – and I was like, this one sounds like in those happy movies. But well, movies are made out of life, so! 🙂 Thankee!

  11. anisnest · September 21, 2012

    thats a lovely post.. God bless the umbrella man who will stay in my memory forever and ever from now on.. people like him are the hopes for the world..

  12. The Girl Next Door · September 23, 2012

    God bless him! He sounds like such a selfless, caring person. 🙂

    Beautifully written post, Kismi. Loved reading it.

    Some strangers touch our lives in more than little ways. Without even doing anything . Your umbrella man seems to be one of those.

    • kismitoffeebar · September 24, 2012


      So happy to see you back 🙂
      Thanks TGND. “Some strangers touch our lives in more than little ways. Without even doing anything . Your umbrella man seems to be one of those.” – Couldn’t agree more 🙂

  13. Deeps · September 23, 2012

    Wow, that was such an intriguing post, Kismi! I was gripped till the end hoping to know if you’d divulge the identity of the umbrella man or no..alas!

    Beautifully written 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · September 24, 2012

      Yay, awesome to have you back 🙂 Thanks you so much Deeps. If you coem here on a rainy day, you’d meet him 🙂

  14. Ritika · September 23, 2012

    The sketch is uber cute ! I want a bright red umbrella too 😀 😀

    I always forget umbrella too, and it ALWAYS rains that day 😥

    • kismitoffeebar · September 24, 2012

      hehe, when I saw the sketch (reference) I was like ” that looks so much like the man” 🙂
      Oh whee! Welcome to the umbrella forgetters club. We never learn, do we?

  15. Mom of A and a · September 23, 2012

    what a simple, sweet story! It’s people like that that give hope about the world!! 🙂

  16. greenboochi · September 24, 2012

    How beautifully written post Kismi!!! I am totally touched by the umbrella man.. You are lucky to have met him – a wonderful person. Our world needs people like him! There is so much I wish to say.. but my mind is going back to how the umbrella man is protecting every single time.

    • kismitoffeebar · September 25, 2012

      I am indeed lucky Gb 🙂 Yay, so awesome to have you back! 🙂
      I understand what you mean when you say you wish to say a lot Geebeeee 🙂

  17. Amit · September 24, 2012

    Well, it is because of such people that the Earth is still rotating on its axis.
    Beautifully written.

  18. Visha · September 24, 2012

    You are blessed to have the umbrella man around you.

    Stay loved and blessed 🙂

    P.S Not coming online these days, exams again?

    • kismitoffeebar · September 25, 2012

      I am indeed blessed Visha 🙂
      Thanks so much dear. I wish the same for you lovely people too! 🙂

      Not exams Visha but had my nose buried in other little things. I will meet you soon and dole out my excuse list 😛

  19. rubberpal · September 24, 2012

    The title reminded me about “The Umbrella Man” by Roald Dahl ….. 🙂 But, this umbrella man is entirely different and Kismi – Wonderful Write…….. Loved reading it……..

    • kismitoffeebar · September 25, 2012

      A very big welcome here Rubberpal! 🙂
      I never knew of Umbrella Man by Roald Dahl. I must must must must check it out!
      Thank you so much 🙂 Hope to see you around as often as you wish to! 🙂

      • rubberpal · September 26, 2012

        Sure Kismi 🙂

        And do check the Umbrella Man Story 🙂

  20. allythebell · September 24, 2012

    What a great story!

  21. ashreyamom · September 25, 2012

    like my mother always says, ” only b’cas of such good people we get rains”.. u meet this good person when ever it rains.. nice na..

    • kismitoffeebar · September 25, 2012

      Your mother is so sweet! 🙂 Yes, I find him super sweet !

  22. Jay · September 29, 2012

    Lovely story & beautifully written. (popped over from Big A little a)

    • kismitoffeebar · September 30, 2012

      Hi Jay!

      A very warm welcome here 🙂 Thanks so very much!
      Hope to see you more 🙂

  23. Roshni · December 24, 2012

    Hi Kismi, just wanted to let you know that I featured this post in the best of my weekly reading series for 2012:

  24. Pingback: What I've been reading.....nah!!! - Indian American Mom

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