Tome & Plume: Romancing With Rhymes Of Raindrop

Tome & Plume: Romancing With Rhymes Of Raindrop

Across the rain-sky clouds heave t0 and fro, on the bare river-bank, I remain alone – What had has gone; the golden boat took all. – Rabindranath Thakur (Sonar Tori, translated from Bengali by William Radice)  

Staff ReporterUpdated: Monday, July 08, 2024, 03:46 PM IST
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Tome & Plume: Romancing With Rhymes Of Raindrops |

Bhopal (Madhya Pradseh): The dreamy days of endless showers have arrived. Each sunless day of dense clouds is mysterious and magical. A strange monsoonal sleepiness has taken all of us into its wet grip. Both humans and animals are down with this torpor. The sun is playing wag with the residents of Bhopal. It will continue to do so till the last vestige of cloud drifts away.

The office-goers, the school children and the elderly fidget before leaving their bed – especially in the morning. But if you wish to romance with rain, Bhopal is a heaven on the earth. This is the reason why Bhopal has always fascinated poets and authors, including Khushwant Singh who, after leaving foreign services, came with his family to Bhopal.

He was living in a Bungalow called Kashiyana Alvi near the Upper Lake. This was the place where he wrote his best-selling novel, A Train to Pakistan, in 1951. The city still charms many authors for its green settings, the mossy hillocks, the Upper Lake and the historical places. One of the historical buildings is Gohar Mahal or Gauhar Mahal built by Begum Qudisiya in 1820.

This edifice needs special mention for its romantic bonding with the monsoon and the Upper Lake. There are several corridors and doorways in the palace. If you are not seized by the monsoonal lassitude, you can go there, stand on one of the corridors and look at the Upper Lake under the cloudy sky. Your eyes will never be weary.

You will be out of the torpor. You would feel as if time had stopped, and the lines between birth and death were faint. The gorgeous lake mingled with the endless cloudy horizon. It is a perfect ambiance to remember a few lines of Gurudev Rabindranath Thakur: “Rain streams softly on me, like dewdrops falling, they cool my brow.”

For sure, rain stirs our heart which is lonely, but deep within we all keep waiting for the one who always exists beyond our reach. Yet the pining continues. Pitter-patter raindrops engender that ache for the unknown, eternal beauty. The bard writes: “You did not come in spring where I had been waiting confidently but please come, come, in the monsoon…” It is the season when the ever-sought soulmate treads on an endless path and travels through deep woods, windy nights, darkness, heavy rains.

Though it rains and rains, he keeps on walking – the purpose is to see the unseen, know the unknown, to love the forlorn. As the rhyme of rain rings into your ears, Sarah Perry’s seven characters in After Me Comes the Flood appear in your mind’s eye. You remember the drought against the backdrop of which the book was written.

Seven characters gather near Norfolk house where lies a reservoir filled with dark water in a badly maintained dam, but the question is when will flood come to suit the title. As you are at the end of your tether waiting for the rain to flood your thought, it arrives – but in an indistinctly allegorical sense. King Lear on the heath in a rainstorm appears on the canvas of your imagination. Every English teacher loves this scene in the play, The King Lear, by William Shakespeare.

As the weather rages around him, King Lear rages at his treatment by his daughters. This is another aspect of life that rain reminds you. The charm of the monsoon is that you marvel at it and you look inward. The rattling rain takes you back to the night in Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy whose Bathsheba marries the dastardly Sergeant Troy. Gabriel, the farmer, warns the drunken groom about the oncoming downpour.

But it comes to naught. As the downpour comes, Gabriel spends the night trying to save Bathsheba’s wheat and barley. The flight of the Hawk in the Rain by Ted Hughes appears before you.

‘The drumming ploughland’ under the cloudy sky comes in your view. Across the rain-fed sky, the clouds wander hither and yon. Slowly twilight descends. You keep wondering what woods are whispering. You are so oblivious to your surroundings that you get back to yourself just when the ticking clock of your mind tells you – it is the time to return home. The rain outside the Gohar Mahal rattles on – pitter-patter, pitter-patter… .

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