The Joy Of Monsoon.


By Syed Ibrahim Rizvi

Indeed, our earth is unique! Despite intensive explorations and scientific scrutiny, there is no evidence of any celestial body in this vast universe where life is present in the form that we perceive.

The earth’s uniqueness is not only limited to its capacity to sustain life,the rotation and revolution of earth creates a system which makes possible the circadian day/night and the changing of the seasons. The tilting of the axis of rotation and the revolution around the sun following an orbit which is slightly oval creates a situation which leads to changes in seasons during one complete yearly cycle of 365 days.

The change of seasons is a major contributor to a large number of life events in all living species. Seasonal variations lead to changes in availability of  food, natural resources, reproductive events, health parameters and a host of alterations which make an impact on the quality of life. While seasons change in all parts of the earth, the importance of the change in season is distinct in different parts of the planet providing a unique cultural identity to that part of the world. Western countries with predominantly cold climate rejoice with the advent of spring. It signifies happiness, energy and excitement. The phrase ‘spring in the step’ derives its origin to the qualities associated with season of spring.

While autumn is celebrated in Indian sub-continent, its meaning changes drastically in western habitats. Autumn being a prelude to the prolonged harsh winters is looked upon in a gloomy scenario. No wonder the English expression ‘autumn of life’ refers to the later part of life.

While world remains obsessed with winter, summer, spring and autumn, curious is the case of monsoon in Indian sub-continent. The advent of rains after months of scorching summer is a delight which few would hazard to ignore.The first rains on the parched mud not only soothe the temperature but also creates an ‘earthy’ smell which is unique and so pleasant. Within a couple of days tiny grass sprout from the once lifeless land as if the first rains were enriched with some magical properties.

The first rains also elicit emotional exuberance in humans. From the dry and dull summer, the advent of rains is a big omen for romance. Poets and writers have profusely used ‘sawan’ the first month of the monsoon asa time when love is in the air. Innumerable songs in bollywood have been created where rains have added glamour to romantic relationships.

It is not only the rains which provide romantic joy to forlorn hearts, even the drops of rains have been used by poets to accentuate emotional relationships. The sound of rain drops has been frequently used in poetry as a synonym of romance evoking stimulus.

The evergreen song “rimjhim gire sawan…..” playing in the background while a lanky Amitabh  Bachchan and a bubbly Maushmi Chatterjee drench themselves in rain at Marine drive in the bollywood movie ‘Manzil’ is a beautiful example how rains and romance are so closely associated.

It is also difficult to forget the sight of a svelte Smita Patil swooning in the Mumbai rain on the peppy Bollywood number ‘aaj rapat jayen….’  The melody of this iconic song is basically the effect of the heavy drizzle of the Mumbai monsoon.

Not only the  rains, even the clouds in the sky present some interesting thoughts during the monsoon. The dark looming clouds, which otherwise would signify something negative, present a new meaning during the early monsoon. The dark clouds flowing in the sky along with moisture laden winds bring hope and expectation to the farmers. On the other hand, the floating and wafting pre monsoon clouds, joyous harbinger of rain,  are also an omen for a lonely damsel to dream about her prince charming. The month of ‘sawan’ and the cloudy sky has a collateral effect on many unrelated things; this is indeed a time when green bangles signify a plethora of emotions in young ladies.

The joy of rains is perhaps inherent to our genesis. It is the presence of water which is responsible for life to flourish on earth. However, to understand how cupid strikes during monsoon one has to experience the feeling of love.

(The author is Professor of Biochemistry at University of Allahabad)

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