Monday Musings 288: The season of Gods is.. Rains!
Just before the monsoons hit us here in Mumbai, in one of the conversations during a car journey, we got to asking each other what was our favourite seasons. The popular choice in the car was winter – I was surprised no one chose. Here is my heart on this. Needless to say that all seasons have their charms and necessity and sometimes choosing a favourite is as futile as asking a young kid as to whom does she love more – Ma or Pa – and yet we do ask her and derive great joy in the banter that it generates.
Summer is oppressive overall. The heat burns the skin and the eyes and if you are in plains of India then even after sun down you feel the earth throwing back the heat in anger for its torment during the day – the air has been sucked dry of its life and vitality. Trees maintain a brave face, tendrils have their back broken, stray animals become introverts – and humans search for islands of shade, cool and air-conditioning, depending upon what they can afford.
The winter is dull and depressing overall. The fog and the overcast skies hang over us like a pale of gloom does like right before a catastrophe or right after it. The lack of sun and brightness in not only the state of the world but in a strange way also the state of the soul – as if someone has robbed us of the shine from us, as if we have watched a infinitely depressing movie. The sartorially experimental enjoy winters for what they could flash and show off but in many ways that is actually an attempt to compensate for the lack of brightness within and around.
At a very aggregate level, both summers and winters are takers not givers. Rains are like grandparents – infinitely large hearted and net givers.
As the skies open up their benevolence upon us, the first reaction is of relief. The first rains are a balm for the earth and its inhabitants, comforting the blisters that they had acquired through the many months of summer. The first rains are therapeutic for it teaches us to hang on just a few more weeks through the torment and oppression that the summer causes. The symbolism and similarity to life is uncanny.
As the clouds change colour and flirt with the sun, we pick up playfulness from the weather. Rains are not like the constant hammering of the furnace of summer or the constant bite of the chill, but a child like game – sometimes the tease of a drizzle, sometimes the unimaginative cadence of a snore and sometimes the aggression of a heavy downpour. There is no predictability of the rains, a refreshing contrast with the utter constancy of its character in the summers and winters. Rains are playful and flirty like an adolescent romance. It hurts sometimes but mostly it is warm and mushy – and for no reason at all it adds a spring to the steps and some songs to the lips.
Rains provide not only succour but also enables life to exist and flourish. There would be practically no food and life without rains. We owe life and its myriad manifestations to rains.
The essential nature of rains is being moderate. Regions that are lucky to have the bounty of rains aplenty usually pass on those characteristics to the life forms that live there. Deserts and frozen snowy peaks are extreme and pass on that ruggedness to the life forms that inhabit them.
Rains are a metaphor for abundance. Scarcity is the nature of the arid – both of the extreme hot and extreme cold type. The tropics are givers. The arid are hoarders.
Rains make you feel like going out and dance like no summer or winter will ever be able to make you feel. It is not a coincidence that it will be difficult to recollect even a single song that has been written on summers or winters in Indian cinema, but we hum at least a dozen or so that have been written on rains. We don’t go out to sing and dance in summers and winters – but we intuitively feel like dancing and singing in the rains, with the rains and for the rains - and I rest my case.