A Monsoon Diary

by Julian Crandall Hollick
page 12

Well, it probably won't rain. In which case your magic powers will not have been tested" Prophetic words? I ask him whether monsoons have changed over the decades:

"Oh! There is a lot of difference. It's like day and night. And there really isn't any rain these days. There would be a little bit of shower here and there, a little bit of drizzling. But you just can't compare the two. That rain was absolutely different. The rains are much weaker now. The intensity has decreased. The quantity has decreased and the rains just don't stay. All the forests have been cut down, in all the places nearby. And the rains just come and they go away. They just don't stay. And it just can't be compared. Earlier on, the rains were much more intense and more voluminous."
"Do you think this is because there's been deforestation?"
"Yes, it is because of deforestation. Earlier on, there were lush green forests. And the monsoons would stay and the earth would absorb more water and retain it. And the crop would be wonderful. But now things have changed"

And then, we all hear raindrops on the skylights. Not much. But definitely raindrops. Doesn't last more than a minute. And by the time I get outside, there isn't a trace of a cloud in the sky! Krishna Chandra Shukla is still sitting cross-legged on the carpet as if he has been expecting those raindrops. I ask: "So? A miracle?". He laughs: "It is indeed a miracle. All these miracles are because of the Ragas. Each Raag is based on a miracle. And this is the season for Raag Malhar. So it has rained!

July 17th: The imagery of the monsoon in Indian culture is blatant, erotic and fun. Just look at any Indian miniature. Subashni Ali agrees: "You will see very voluptuous paintings associated with the monsoon, in which these ladies are sort of lying about with their legs apart, kind of, to put it in a very crude fashion, sensual, inviting positions. I think this is a very ingrained thing after all, rain has got to be the greatest symbol of fertility because it's the whole thing of re-fertilizing the soil and bringing in the new harvest, bringing forth new life, and all that."

Even the reserved Santosh Mahrendrajit Singh, who is still a beautiful woman at over seventy, admits my obsession has some basis in fact. "When it's hot people are cooped up in their huts or their homes. But when the monsoon breaks, then everybody is free to go out into the fields. And with that freedom comes a freedom in which men and women are mingling. I think the poets know best about that." Khushwant Singh used to say that: "all literature, music, everything is the monsoon. All the folk songs are monsoon. All the lovemaking is monsoon."


Diary Pages:

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