There is nothing quite like the Indian Monsoons.. It’s been a relentless downpour since the past two days and the rain came down quite unexpected.. Complete with thunder showers, lightening flashes, sudden breeze, over cast sky.. the works! I feel like those who love the sun too much have never really danced in the rain. It’s the same for folks who run for shelter spontaneously. They haven’t been “out there” long enough to brave the change of seasons or ways of nature. Indians monsoons come with an unparalleled charm and romance. Remember those train rides just sticking your nose against the glass window to catch a glimpse of the rain on the fields? Or the time you were in school and threw all caution to the wind and played outside with your friends while it rained?
Rain does occupy center stage in the Indian drama. The most celebrated season, the sign of prosperity, the power of destruction, the marking of a new year, Like other mythologies the personification of an element of nature, the subject of songs, the stimulant for artists, the plot for screen writers, dope for environmentalists, fuel to light the lovers fire.. Rain is that fulcrum which underscores Indian culture..
India has a legacy of Monsoon Ragas given to us by the greats such as Tansen to celebrate the monsoons to quench parched forests and farms…Their music has been a source of inspiration to artisits, dancers and writers for decades. Their ragas have my name as the most commonly used word as do other songs about monsoons in India, getting my attention and patronage automatically. What I find ironical about the battles between the Hindus and Muslims and their staunch stand on supposed diametrically opposite ideologies, There was a time Hindu-Muslim (Sufi) cultures graciously merged to create a culture of celebration and romance with rain and the monsoons and this common theme united them.. i.e. rain and music brought them together. Translation of
of Kahlil Gibran’s poetry:
“I am dotted silver threads dropped from heaven
By the gods, Nature then takes me, to adorn
Her fields and valleys.
I am beautiful pearls, plucked from the
Crown of Ishtar by the daughter of Dawn
To embellish the gardens…
The voice of Thunder declares my arrival
The rainbow announces my departure
I am like earthly life, which begins at
The feet of the mad elements and ends
Under the upraised wings of death”
Or Rumi’s writing:
“Of a thousand lifetimes could not explain
If all the forest trees were pens
And all the oceans, ink?”
I think rain is nature’s way of demanding attention. Its her tantrum to get you to snap out of everything and check her out. For distracting one from the hustle and bustle of their lives and taking a moment to bask in nature’s glory. I’ve noticed while driving in the rain, even though people seem to be really inconvenienced and hassled and delayed by the rain they can’t wipe off a half smile which threatens to break into a smile.. Even when they complain their grudges are more a result of conditioning and now a reflex action..
Rain undoubtedly has the ability to stir your feelings.. good or bad.. depending on your frame of mind and the time of the day.. For those happy souls say in love rain is the single greatest catalyst after music. The spring in the step, the hum of the song, the grin on the face, the sunshine in the heart. Nothing beats sharing the rain with someone you love. It’s happiness multiplies exponentially.. or the adverse effect if its otherwise is just as true.. It is at a summit of emotional submergence the sensitivity to connect with an element/force of nature develops..
Growing up in India we all have our fond memories of the rain.. The carelessly walking in the rain skipping school and indulging in the street side delicacies, The water logging of the streets of Calcutta and the paper boats floating on them, the getting drenched on the Marine drive in Bombay staring into the vastness of the sea and the infinite city lights, the driving around Vidya Sagar Setu in the heart of Calcutta yet so away and distinct from it, The suburbs of Bombay and the stand still life forcing time together, The warm cup of coffee and your fave song as you stare out of the window, the cursing in office for feeling the overwhelming need to break out and break free, the endless shots of tea in Pune getting soaked, The callousness of a young student and the brilliance of the Western Ghats, the bike rides and the stubborn mud on the denims and souvenirs of ruined shoes, The feeling dangerous and adventurous and venturing out to places I wouldn’t advise anyone go to, the stillness of the hills in the most torrential showers and the company of warm friends, watching out for the sibling playing football in the mud with the seasoned street players struggling to keep track of his identity under the cloak of mud, the rain dance that worked and the celebration by friends in your honor, all the other rain dances that did not, A rain maker passing by your town, the running to the terrace and claiming each time this is the best rain of the season, the dancing like no one’s watching alone or the embarrassed to be seen with you lover/friend, that thunderstorm in Goa which had an evil soul that lead to a fatal attraction.. it’s an endless list really.. Everyone has this list weather or not they remember it..
Rain melts you into everything.. Rain melts you into nothing.. hmm it’s just depends on what time of the day.. and what you’re thinking then..
P.S. I love my namesake!