It was a rainy day in April.
Noonie stepped out of her school bus and looked across the lake. The naked bulbs on a line of houseboats stared back at her. “Now what?” they seemed to ask.
The clouds swathed the mountains. The wind punched, pushed, bent the trees across the road.
She had to row half a kilometre to reach her home: a houseboat. Hers was at the farther edge of the lake near the marshy land. Every day she rowed the small shikara to and fro across the lake. Sometimes, Gul kak, a neighbour, rowed her in case it rained. But that day, no one was in sight.