(Savan in Hindi) is a series divided into three segments. Each segment covers
a phase of the Monsoon, on whose whim more than half the world survives. The
individual segments are: Longing, Release, and Retreat.
To know India is to know the monsoon. Life is defined by the monsoon. If it
appears on schedule, dams and irrigation canals fill and there will be a good
harvest. If it fails, hard times lie ahead. Waiting for the monsoon in May and
early June is exhausting. Shade shrinks and all but disappears; gentle breezes
become merely a memory; the sun never seems to go down. The sun comes up earlier
than before and licks up the few drops of dew before the fevered earth can moisten
its lips. It blazes away all day long in a cloudless grey sky, drying up wells,
streams and lakes...the sun goes on, day after day, from east to west, scorching
Then, the wind fills the black sails of the clouds and they billow out across
the sun. A profound shadow falls on the earth. There is another clap of thunder.
First it falls in fat drops; the earth rises to meet them. She laps them up
thirstily and is filled with fragrance. Another flash of lightening and another
crack of thunder like the roar of a hungry tiger. Then it comes in torrents.
Sheets of water, wave and wave. The monsoon is not like ordinary rain which
comes and goes. Once it is on, it stays for two months or more. Its advent is
greeted with joy. But it's an illusion that quickly vanishes. The earth becomes
a big stretch of swamp and mud. In towns, gutters get clogged and streets become
turbid streams. In villages, mud walls of huts melt in the water and thatched
roofs sag and descend on the inmates. Rivers keep rising steadily and burst
their banks as the monsoon spends itself on the mountains. And, after the clouds
have shed their last drop of moisture in the Himalayas, the monsoon retreats
back the way it has come, like some vast tidal wave, hope and wreckage in its
wake."This is not really a documentary. I hope! I call it a program because
it borrows elements of many genres. But maybe it's just a poem to the Rains,
and to women."