A monsoon fantasy

Posted in fantasy, music by jrahman on June 30, 2008

I live in the outskirts of a semi-desert.  It usually doesn’t rain much here.  And when it does, it’s seldom anything bigger than a few drizzles.  In fact, it didn’t shower at all for a few years in the earlier part of this decade.  When it finally rained one day, I couldn’t remember whether I had an umbrella!

This year though it has been different.  Pleasantly, it has rained quite regularly.  And not just drizzles.  Some days, you can actually call it a pour.  No, it’s not quite the monsoon.  How can it be when the temparature outside is in the single digits?  It is, of course, monsoon in Desh.  As I look outside my window and see a barren, red earth getting soaked, I imagine clouds gathering over a bustling city.

Dear reader, let’s forget our troubled politics today, and fantasise about a monsoon day in the city.

Let’s focus on some of the citizens of this megalopolis.  We see a housewife rushing back from the market.  We see schoolkids buying star-fruit and jhalmuri from a street vendor.  We see an office worker on his boss’s errand looking apprehensively at the sky.  We see some street kids looking expectantly at the sky.

And while we see them, we hear Borisho dhora majhe shantiro bari.

Then we zoom into a particular citizen.  A young man.  Maybe a university student.  No, perhaps a bit older.  He probably works in a bank or a multinational.  Perhaps he is an aspiring writer or an artist.  Whatever he does, on this monsoon day, he is alone.  He thinks Ei meghla dine ekla ghore thake na je mon.

We now turn to a girl who lives in one of those high rise buildings.  She is at home.  She hasn’t seen him for a while.  Maybe her parents don’t approve.  Maybe they had a fight.  But on this rainy day she cannot wait any longer.  Maybe she sends an sms.  Maybe she sends a message through gchat.  While she contacts him, we hear Rimjhim ei srabone.

It is about to rain in the city.  We see a mother picking up her kids from the school – getting a rickshaw is going to be very hard today.  The office worker is definitely late for his errand – an irate boss awaits him back at the office.  Schoolgirls don’t want to be late and face angry mothers, but schoolboys are looking forward to playing in the rain. As the city awaits the imminent rain, we hear Sraboner meghguli.

Our hero has received the message.  They are going to meet somewhere.  Maybe an icecream parlour?  Maybe a coffee shop?  Maybe a bookshop?

Wherever it is, she imagines how the date would be.  Maybe she could have been on the roof.  Or maybe in the garden.  Dear reader, just in case you are not familiar with the Bollywood style of storytelling, we are about to enter a dream sequence (or, depending on how raunchy you want to get, an item number): Tip tip barsa pani.

Our couple meet, and, well, let’s see what they could be doing:

After an afternoon in the rain, it’s evening.  It is time to say good bye.  Or is it?  She doesn’t want to let him go.  Or maybe we could have some maan-obhimaan in this love story.  Maybe there is some misunderstanding.  Maybe an old boyfriend has showed up.  Whatever it is, she is begging him, Ei brishti bheja raate chole jeo na.

Yes, yes, I’m aware that this is not very flattering to the girl. But hey, in my defence, firstly, it is a male fantasy, and secondly, it is in firm Desi (Bollywood-Dhallywood) tradition.

Back to the fantasy then. How can one refuse that kind of seduction? So there is happy ending. Well, you have to imagine the happy ending, because, fantasy or not, classic Desi films would have lots of symbolic shots, and absolutely no hanky panky – after all, you could watch it with your parents! So, let’s imagine a happy ending while listening to Eto kachhe dujone.

And finally, a monsoon night falls over the city – Brishti nemecche.

(Thanks to my best friend with whom another rickshaw ride from TSC to New Market during a monsoon afternoon is long over due).

10 Responses

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  1. Fariha said, on July 2, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Jyoti bhai…

    There is nothing more beautiful than rain in Dhaka…My best friend, fellow toto-company, for rainy afternoon drives and rickshaw rides, cries everytime I tell him it’s raining in Dhaka. He’s in NYC now. The last line of your post is making me miss my best friend who I haven’t seen in over a year!

    Srabon er o gogon er o gaye….
    Jemon o borosha dharai..auronno apna harai…
    emoni tomar sriti…

  2. sujin said, on July 2, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Right before opening this blog, I was helping my 10 month old falling asleep humming “bristy nemeche rim jhim rim shurer lohori”. Aha, to me this is the bestest bangla song composed about bristy. I miss my walk in the pouring rain from dhaka university field to my joshimuddin rd. home.

  3. Rumi said, on July 6, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Nice post. Naache gaane vorpur.

    The best place to enjoy monsoon rain is a ‘tin shade home’. The added sound of rain drops on tin shade is the best ever symphony I’ve listened to to. Unfortunately this sort of homes are getting extinct from Dhaka.

    A typical Dhaka house hold of 60s and 70s was a boundary walled-gated, tin shade brick walled/hatch-walled home with a small piece of “Uthan” in front.

    Tagore is the only man who can bring all those memory back to life. All his monsson songs! Ah!

    But how many of these generation can relate to his songs anymore?

    “oi Maloti lota dole, Pial o toru ro kole….” Who has ever seen a Maloti lota or a Pial tree?

    Rainy day reminded me of Ilish Machh vaja and Khichuri… rainy day remined me of Class bang, all day in dorm room with music and adda plus khichuri…Rainy day reminds me of the rarest opportunity of some proximity and privacy in conservative Bangladesh… rainy day reminds me of all those bright Krishnochura on Begum Rokeya Sawronee and Crescent lake road…

    Thanks for the post. Sorry for this untidy exuberance.

  4. jrahman said, on July 7, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Rumi bhai, don’t be sorry for the exuberance. For me, rain is actually a very mon kharap korano jinish, and I was just trying to cheer myself up. As they say, every Bengali is a wannabe poet – I was just making short cut, like the rest of my generation. 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a maloti lota or pial tree – or maybe I have, but don’t know what they look like!

    Sujin, I hope your little one grows up liking Bangla tune.

    Fariha, hope you see your friend soon. Meanwhile, try some Tagore – he has something for every mood.

  5. Fariha said, on July 8, 2008 at 5:13 am

    Rumi bhai, amio maloti lota ar pial gach dekhi nai. Kemon dekhte? Oh and apnar tin er chaad er shathe you should also add watching raindrop trickle down from banana trees and golpata gach. Another lovely sight is watching rain fall on pukur and listening to frogs croak. Some may dislike it, but amar khub bhalo lage.

    Jyoti bhai, amar brishti-induced emotions are the exact opposite! Ekhon brishti hole I miss old friends and old times (and i’m not even that old yet!). But it still somehow manages to cheer me up. Btw, apnar post pore I went and booked a photograph, an advance birthday present for my best friend. It’s a picture of rain in dhaka with rickshaws and trees and mud and everything! I wish it also had krishnochuras in the background and kids running around with kodom and dolon chapas. Amra pial/maloti lota dekhi ni to ki hoyeche..borsha is also the season of krishnochura, kodom and dolon chapa..ei ki enough na to appreciate monsoon in BD? Thanks for a wonderful post!

  6. Luna Purification said, on September 23, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Jyoti – shundor lekha.
    A rainy day in Dhaka can be as charming as it can be notoriously messy and smelly! 😦 But – I can’t help but recall the good ole school days when looking outside the class room window on a rainy afternoon just dying to go out and have a play; or cuddle up with a good book in bed and fall asleep listening to the non-stop sound of rain come night or day. 🙂 Or get Ma to cook her best gorur mangsho bhuna and khichuri and eat till we drop! Or even Eelish maacher jhol with puishaak and daal… And then nap away until it’s afternoon tea time… where the feast resumes with jhaalmurri and gorom gorom purri and shingara and gorom cha…
    It’s truly sad how the generations to come will not value Rabindranath the way our folks did or even to some extent we do… Robi-thakurer borshar upor kichu chomotkaar gaan ache! And speaking of Borsha – I doubt if there’s any other culture aside from us Bangalees who make it into such a romantic and poetic grandeur that even overflows in our food, songs, clothes and colours! Ar kono deshe to dekhi na bristhi niye eto matamati… ??

  7. School of rock « Mukti said, on October 23, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    […] was about Srabon – the fourth month in Bengali calendar.  Falling in July-August, it is when the monsoon rain sweeps the delta.  With the rain comes the seasonal floods that shut down the countryside.  Rain […]

  8. BizCore-i Accounting Software SMEs Pakistan said, on September 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    A rainy day in Dhaka can be as charming as it can be notoriously messy and smelly!

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