Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 25, Tuesday, June 21, 2011

 

COVER STORY

There will come soft rains

Monsoon called in early this season and as the Bengali month of Ashar dawns upon us, all those who find zest in life and in nature hail the coming of monsoon.

Flip to the Centrefold as Star Lifestyle romances rain, love and life.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

When clouds open up their vaults
And animals run to their caves and holes
There will come soft rains and the
smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their
shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white.

-- Sarah Teasdale


The Rhythm of rain; the rhythm of life

Last evening it rained - it was a sonata.
The drizzle bounced against the tin roof of the terrace and the pitter-patter caught me by surprise. I was smitten for the umpteenth time by the rain song -- a tune that I learned and longed to love. Before the splash grew heavy, quenching the thirst of all that lived under the heavens. I, however, was thirsty for more.

As I sat beside the widow opposite the comfortable bed, like a man mesmerised by a seductress, I stared enchanted. The raindrops rebounded on the dense foliage placed on pots across the patio, the green leaves finding new life danced like heavenly nymphs.

For a moment, life came to a standstill. Through the window, as I gazed over the street there were no honking horns, just a long queue at the traffic stoplight, the yellow lights of the cars brightly lit as if to salute a marching band in the Independence Day parade.

Children played merrily on the puddle of water, young boys and men in panjabis, fatuas, shirts, tees and ties, failing to haggle the right fare of an auto-rickshaw, resorted to walking. Some fervently while others as hapless victim of Nature's unforgiving treachery. The neighbourhood dog roamed merrily around the street, pleased with the sudden change of climate unbearably hot to pleasantly cool.

Last night it rained it was sweet and sour
The southern winds brought rain to my room and I stood still to embrace with open arms. The salt on my lips moistened by the water sent strong signals to the glossal senses. I placed a pot on the stove and improvised on a concoction of lentils and plain rice. As the mixture heated up, I delved into the freezer for the bhuna beef, set aside for a day I was going to pamper myself.

Out came the ghee from the pantry although they come with a statutory warning -- not to be devoured alone. Sometimes, just sometimes, khichuri and beef are best savoured in solitude.

The gooey consistency of the mixture was, if I may add, perfect. So was the beef dried to the point where the masala gravy gave a kick of the spices and the red chilli, all put in precise proportions. The ghee was a cheap over-the-counter brand but in all gastronomical measures, satisfactory.

My stomach now sated, I returned to the symphony of the rain. Sliding the window I isolated myself from the world around me. The muffled sounds of the shower penetrated the walls, and the glass around me. As I crawled under the blanket, the lights switched off, I was set to dream of us walking in the rain.

Last morning it rained it reminded me of you
Waking up to see the dawning of dawn, I remained transfixed at my chair looking out the window as the world outside responded to the promise of a new day. There were no shops to open at that hour, no municipality cleaner to clean the roads yet. Nature had washed away the sins of man.

We were never together to watch the sun come up on a rainy morning. Never saw the day close in in the evening while raining. We were mere witness to rain on hot summer afternoons when we showered as did earth.

This evening it rained I longed for you
After a pleasant break the showers resumed in the evening. The sky remained overcast for the day and nature slipped into a different look, only visible to those who care to see, oblivious to the concrete hearts.

In the evening as I sat in the chairs drawn out in the patio, with a cup of piping hot tea, Graham's Crackers on the side, I took a walk down memory lane and opened up the treasures of Saki -- his concise words on pensive thoughts.

Finding it difficult to concentrate I picked up the phone to call you knowing well that there shall be no response. Will you return? Ever. The answer is better unsaid.

If tomorrow it rains I shall wait for you
The television weatherman gave his indifferent opinion -- rain with gusty and squally wind one that made my heart leap abound. The roads remained water-logged, taking me back to times when boats manoeuvred on Dhaka streets every monsoon.

If tomorrow it rains, I want to be with you, want to walk down the water-logged streets, want to drench in the downpour giving the black umbrella a well-deserved rest.

We will pat the neighbourhood dog and give him a bone. As we walk along the canopy of grey we will come closer to emotions, subtle yet profound in the bigger picture of life.

If tomorrow it rains, know this I am always there for you.

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif

 
 
 

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