A Monsoon Diary
July 12th: Sarvodya Nagar: two young men - Christopher and Dabu - are flying kites. Christopher says work was canceled for the day. That's why he's flying kites. Dabu is a bit more forthcoming:
also are off work today?"
"I assemble bus bodies. I went to work today, and I was told that it's been raining quite heavily so you won't be required. So I am free and I'm helping my friend fly kites
"When the bus factory, construction factory doesn't ask you to come to work, presumably you don't get paid? Right?"
"Yes, when I am not able to work in the factory I am not paid. And I have lost out on today's wages."
"How many days, on the average, do you think you lose?"
"About two, to two and a half months we are not able to work.
You mean the factory just shuts down?"
"Yes, the factory is shut down!" It gets waterlogged. There's water all over the shop floor. The factories are not able to function anymore."
"So the rains that the poets think are the best of times, for you are the worst of times."
"Yes, definitely it's the worst of all the seasons. Causes us a lot of trouble."
July 16th: It hasn't rained now for ten days. Back to how it was in mid-June. As humid as it's hot: the sky an unhealthy milk-white. Everybody needs some rain to brighten the mood. This morning, I met a very old music teacher called Krishna Chandra Shukla. Everybody calls him Guruji. I asked Guruji about Ra'ag Megh Malhar, For many, Megh Malhar is synonymous with the Monsoon.
Shukla really is old, very old. He has a rich crackled voice and laughs often. A nice man to tell me about the past. Shukla says Raag Megh Malhar has magic properties: "It is a miraculous Raag and it can even cause rain and thunder." I didn't really believe this. "It can even cause rain and thunder? Raag Malhar?"
"Have you ever managed to cause it to rain?"
"Well, there have been instances when I've been doing a program sitting in a room and singing. And it started to pour after some time."
"Is there a particular word that you should sing that will create that magic?"
"It's the notes and the music that have the power to sort of make it rain."
On cue he starts singing for a minute or two. Stops, turns to me with a grin: "You'll start thinking that I sang and it started to rain. You'll think it's my miracle. But, no, I'll think it's God miracle, and I attribute it to God."