Its raining since last evening. Finally the wait for monsoons is over and India is going to have another beautiful rainy season. Well, despite all the troubles it brings in terms of road blockades, overflowing drains and leaking roofs , rains are always welcomed by us Indians from the days of Sanskrit poet Kalidas. Kalidas in 100 BC wrote the most romantic poem “Meghdootam”( cloud messenger) where a love-lorn person is sending a message to his beloved taking the first cloud of rainy season as his messenger . I find this imagination so romantic that even when I am writing these words I am getting goose pimples. The same poet in another work wrote
“The sky on every side is shrouded by rain-clouds
Which wear the beauty of deep blue lotus petals
And here look like heaps of made up eye salve,
and there,Possess the charm of breasts of women with child.”
-- Kalidasa in ‘RituSamhara’
And I agree. Rains are the most romantic, most thought provoking season in Indian subcontinent. Getting drenched in rains is one of the most fondly cherished memory of my childhood. And who can forget the joy of finding the school closed due to “rainy day” and finding our way back home by jumping in the puddles with absolute delight.
The monsoon brings with it a feeling of love, longing and romance. It sends pulses racing. This feeling of joyous abandon is depicted in many Bollywood films. Some of the best songs like Rimjhim ke tarane leke ayi barsaat( Kala bazaar) , Jhir jhir barse savani akhiyan (Aashirwad), O ghata savari( Abhinetri), Sawan ka mahina pawan kare shor(Milan) and of course Rimjhim gire sawan are inspired by this season of love and longing. Why only movies, look at the raga-centred Indian classical music where you find the fullest expression of this emotion. Many ragas, such as Megh Malhar in Hindustani and Amritavarshini in Carnatic, are fabled to move the Gods, especially Indra, who is charged with dispensing or withholding rain. Malhaars and Kajris are the flavour of the season. Here are two of my fav clips …first one is a composition of salil choudhary(I heard it in a TV serial) and the second is raag Shankara based composition by Farida khanum . (Wish I could upload all the divine Malhaars sung by Kishori Amonkar also. )
1 Megh Ghane Gehraye
2. Jhulana jhulane aayi ritu sawan ki
The Megha raga series of the famous Ragamala paintings depicts Lord Krishna dancing in joyous abandon along with women musicians. Clouds in such paintings represent either the rains or the turbulent minds of anxious lovers. Peacocks could represent beseeching male lovers.
Once during my tarining in a Film Institute, we were asked to shoot a small piece of vox-populi for TV on “What comes to your mind when it rains? ” …and the replies were many. While a friend from Rajasthan remember how precious are these rains for her desert land and how they inspire festivities of Teej and Green lahariya dresses …another friend from south recalled the fragrant air coming from the paddy fields and the special snacks prepared o welcome rains. For many it was a moment to be lived with a book in your lap and ginger tea in hand …sitting near the window. For others like me, it is a time when I want to listen Malhaars all day long and allow the rains to work their magic on the melody . Well Monsoon brings out the best colours of the country, be it at the desert festivals of Rajasthan or the backwaters of Kerala….so once again its time for singing in the rain ……