Downpour and petrichor: Singing in the rain - Sabira Fernandes

Downpour and petrichor: Singing in the rain - Sabira Fernandes

‘Petrichor’ is the name given to the fragrance of the first rains as it hits the parched earth after a long spell of a hot summer (derived from Greek petra, meaning stone, and ichor, meaning the blood that flows in the veins of Greek gods; certainly not derived from Indian languages, wherein it would suggest ‘theft’). Just thinking of the word brings a sense of relief; a warm embrace of Mother Nature, speaking to our souls. This scent, that perfumes the air after the first downpour, brings life back to the earth, and to our hearts.

So is petrichor  the only reason why the rains are special? Western India, and especially Maharashtra, is consumed by a severe drought that has had long-standing river beds running dry. But come June and all eyes are to the skies, like now, waiting to see the rain-laden clouds, uplifting our spirits and radiating in our lives the suffused  joy of the rains.

So what are the ‘must dos’ in the rains? Trekking? Singing, ‘I am singing in the rain’ or ‘Barsaat men, tak dhina dhin’? ? Wading in the waters? Just getting wet, with no umbrella and no awning around place?

The rains bring out the child in us. Many  of us, at least once in the season, want to stand in the rain, and just enjoy the raindrops that trickle across  our skin. Why do the rains bring out the nostalgic and romantic side in us? Well, man is ultimately an animal. Nothing soothes like water. It washes out grief, actually and symbolically. It lifts our spirits, and brings in unbridled joy.

Joy in the waters, and joy in food. Across India, every region has specific foods for each season. Eat pulses, lentils and beans, and not leafy vegetables; have more liquids, and not foods that will stress the tummy; fishermen have difficulties in going out to sea during a downpour, so fish is lower down on  the food scale for these rainy days. Also, let the earth and seas rejuvenate and procreate, let the earth cultivate the fresh crop, ready for harvesting in the next season, as the fish spawn and grow. Warm foods, and soul foods.

On the other hand,  if you are couch-potato-ing at home, catch up on poetry, or read those thrillers that you collected. Watch the skies unleash their glory, from the safe confines of your homes, celebrating in the downpour of happiness. Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, or, if you feel active, just run up a mountain.

Trekking is a big hit in the Sahyadri Mountain Range in Maharashtra. Off Mumbai, a day or a weekend monsoon trek enables you to marvel at  the beauty of nature, feel the sting of the raindrops as you scale heights above cloud levels , and wallow in the pleasure of the mist. Just the feeling of having climbed high above sea level  is a joy to the soul. Try it. As Adele, (28 year-old British singer who broke down during her concert on Sunday, 12 June, in Belgium, at a show dedicated to the victims in the Orlando killings) has vocalised,  Set Fire to the Rain.

Other soul-felt activities include  enjoying with your group of loved-ones have a rain-dance; get kids involved in a muffin-baking session, indoor games, story time, laze back and watch those movies, or just a garam chai-pakoda-bhajiya for one, or two, or three… just call friends over, and fry it out! Food is more enjoyable when it is sinful, and with friends and laughter to wash it down. Don’t worry about the clothes that refuse to dry!

Bollywood has made the rains memorable. From the black and white days of Pyaar hua iqraar hua (Shree 420), to Zeenat Aman prancing in Hai hai yeh majbooree (Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, making a case before Manoj Kumar, that compared to the priceless monsoon, the job that was taking him away from her was worth tuppence, to Ghanan ghanan ghan ghir aaye badraa (Lagaan).

Out there, on Hollywood,  Gene Kelly had the all-time hit, Singing in the rain, Bob Dylan gave us A hard rain’s a gonna fall, Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCW) asked you, Have you ever seen the rain? And of course, the late Prince (died April this year), gave it a colour, with Purple Rain.

Hindustani classical music has Raags, like Megh, Malhaar, Megh-Malhaar and Mian Kee Malhaar as the most famous ones; and international composers like Vivaldi, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Strauss, among others, all glorified the seasons, and brought out, not only the tempests, but also the brilliance of the softly falling water, through just instruments. Rains, after all, have a voice of their own!

It’s raining men (Geri Halliwell, The Weather Girls), and as Rihanna sang,  ‘You can stand under my  umbrella’.


Sabira Fernandes A Branding and Communications Consultant, Sabira holds a Masters Degree in History, and a Diploma in Marketing Management. A veteran web content writer, she relaxes by reading, and pumps up her adrenaline by running the Mumbai 21 kms half-marathon every year.

Views expressed and claims made in the articles on this site are the contributors' own, and nrizone does not necessarily agree with them, or endorse them, in any way.
Contributions are published in good faith, with due diligence, and liabilities for authenticity or copyright lie with the authors.

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