Many moods of monsoon

Make the most of the season that warms your soul

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are two kinds of people in this world — those who love rains and those who don’t. And the battle lines seem to be clearly drawn. “I don’t like the rains and I absolutely detest getting wet when it is pouring. Rains are messy. They make me feel sad, locked up and constrained,” declares Ramya Shashibhushan, a homemaker-entrepreneur.

This sunshine soul has a strong suspicion (and not without reason) that she may be in the minority; after all, it is not quite the done thing to decry rains. So she adds that when it rains, she would like to snuggle with someone and watch it from the comfort of her home, without getting wet. “Not even a drop,” she emphasises.

Love vs hate

On the other end of the rainbow is Chaya Dwarkanath, a ‘Bengaluru hudugi’ who has now settled in California. She says the very thought of rain makes her delirious. With happiness that is. “My daughter knows how happy rains make me. So, when I am watching rains, she ensures I say yes to things I normally wouldn’t. Later when I ask her, she coolly tells me I gave her permission the other day when it was raining!” laughs Chaya. “I love everything about it — the soaking-playing-drenching, the rainy day songs, the coffee and bhajjis — no umbrella needed!” she says.

Sheela Vasanth, an educator, says rains brings out all her ice-cream cravings! “When it rains I am more like a child than my children — I rush out to eat ice-cream and get drenched,” she says.

Evidently, there are not many centrists when it comes to rain. Though there must exist people like Mrityunjay Sawant, a digital content specialist, who says it is only rains that completely calm him down. “When I watch rains, I am still; neither excited nor unhappy. Just serene,” he says.

Rain as a character

For most of us, rain is a recurring, living, breathing character in our lives. Of all the seasons, it is monsoon that evokes a range of emotions within us. (You will not, for instance, see many go gaga over how sunny or wintry it is).

This was true of Kalidasa as well who arguably wrote the most hyperbolic tribute to those carriers of rain in his epic work Meghadootam where a lovelorn couple enlists the help of a wayward cloud to communicate their feelings. In more modern times, this love of rain was what prompted British author Alexander Frater to pen his iconic book Chasing the Monsoon where he literally did that — he witnessed firsthand the monsoon bursting upon Kerala and slowly journeying up to Delhi, Kolkata, Cherrapunji and finally on to Bangladesh and wrote about it like a true romantic adventurer. His travelogue tells us with wry humour why monsoons are such an integral part of our collective consciousness.

Nandini Rao, artistic director of Yours Truly, a Bengaluru-based playback theatre company, agrees. “Roomani is the word that comes to the mind…for us Indians, rains are akin to a sense of fulfilment… as if we all together have been yearning for something and the wait is finally over.”

Rain as an adventure

For long-time buddies and homemakers Sharmila and Chitra, rain is an adventure. Both recall monsoon holidays where the constant downpour did not stop them from having fun. “Once we had been to a beach in Mangaluru during the monsoons and it started raining heavily. Initially, all of us looked for shelter but the kids went out and we joined in — makes for great memories,” says Chitra. Sharmila narrates her family’s visit to Kerala bang in the middle of the monsoons. “We went boating in the heavy rain, kids and all…it was dreamy.”

Rain is nostalgic; rain is melancholic; rain is first love; rain is lost love; rain is madness, rain is magic; rain is wisdom, rain is freedom, and sometimes, benediction. Perhaps deep within all of us is the knowledge that rain is life itself and all our emotions towards it are just us being grateful that it pours.

 

Rain in popular culture
Movies have long used rains for metaphoric and symbolic effect — and sometimes just for effect. And it has rarely let the moviemakers down.

Here are some iconic rain scenes that we love:

1. Singin’ in the Rain: If there is anything called grace under pouring rain, it is Gene Kelly charming the world off its umbrella and jumping with such poise in the puddles, only to be stopped by a strict constable. There will never be another rain song like this one though Aamir Khan did not do too bad an imitation in the long-forgotten Afsana Pyar Ka. 

2. Pather Panchali: Clouds gather, the camera focusses on the eager lotuses in the pond, Apu and Durga run outside in anticipation and the first raindrop falls on the bald pate of a man sitting by the pond. The umbrella unfurls and the children play. An unforgettable portrayal of the impending monsoon.

3. Shawshank Redemption: Once you see this movie, you will perhaps always associate rain with being free. The hero emerges from the sewer and lifts his face up to the heavens. Rain, blessed rain, washes over him, cleansing him of dirt, sins and everything else in between. 

4. Mungaru Male: Rarely has there been a movie where the rain plays a greater role than its chief actors. The movie is soaked in rain and revels in it — enough for the audience to be certain that without its rains, Mungaru Male wouldn’t have been half as heart-wrenching as it eventually turned out to be.

Rain is food and food is love.
At least that’s what our dipstick survey tells us. When it rains, everyone and their aunt want to, no prizes for guessing, eat. The slightly health-conscious ones want to drink. Mention food with rain and nearly everyone we asked said ‘bisi khara thindi’ (hot-n-spicy snacks) or a variation of it. Some wanted chai or coffee to go with it; a few mentioned hot chocolate. But pakodas, bhajjis, samosas and kachoris were the ones that won hands down. Some wanted to sit by the window with a plate full of the stuff and hog while watching it pour. Now that sounds as right as rain, doesn’t it!

Four words for a rain lover
If you are a lover of rains and you don’t know these fancy, millennial words, the Internet won’t forgive you. These are words that are bandied about online with great fanfare whenever the topic of rain comes up.
Petrichor: The pleasant smell of muddy earth after the first rains.
Pluviophile: A lover of rain — someone who finds joy in rainy days.
Cumulonimbus: Dense clouds, often referred to as ‘thunderheads’ seen during rainstorms.
Mizzle: Like drizzle. A fine, light rain.

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Many moods of monsoon

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