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Of All the Seasons – Why Do We Romance the Monsoon?

We, especially in India, are truly blessed to have five seasons – summer, spring, monsoon, autumn, winter – each making its impressionable presence felt in the way we lead our lives.

Each season comes with its own set of peculiarities and distinctive character, its peonies-in-my-garden feeling and prickly situations. Yet, it is the monsoon that we romance with the most, over and above our brief flirtations with “Dilli ki Sardi” or “It’s snowing in Shimla” or the summer sunsets in Kausani. It is an intrinsically strong love affair we have with the rainy season. We love it, despite water-logging of our streets, partial flooding of our homes, the unwelcome presence of smut and spores, the mustiness that sets in and is difficult to shake off, the leeches and ants, the soaked-to-the-bone mishaps as we struggle with pretty umbrellas turning turtle on us.

Monsoon returns our affection by inspiring us like little else does. From creative writing to penning of songs, from painting to lateral thinking, it seems to rain ideas and inspiration and stirs something soulful within us. It is like the moment of truth. Everybody has one or maybe several. So it is with times of inspiration. Everybody has that reference of sight, smell, sound, touch, feeling or piece of imagination that inspires.

For me, one of the strongest times of inspiration is when the sky opens to pour its heart out in a manner unrestrained and unabashed. The good thing is I am not the only one raising a toast to the rains.

From Bollywood’s ‘Tip Tip Tip Tip Baarish’ to Hollywood’s a la Gene Kelly Tap dancing to the beats of the peltering rain; from Pop music’s ‘Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain’ and ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’ to our very own Raag Megh Malhar; from art to fiction to poetry; monsoon has always inspired the positive and bright side of things all over the world and from time immemorial. So, who am I to remain stoic towards such a divine sensuous intervention! But the charm of monsoon has everything to do with the place where you are. Imagine the traffic jamming, gutter flowing, drain clogging, humid rains of Delhi and you will instantly know what I mean.

My association with monsoon spans different continents and saddles varied time zones. There have been the good times and the not so good. Walking on an old street in quaint little Alexandria in Virginia to the tune of talented buskers playing to the gallery, with dogs of various shapes and sizes and their owners – so much the same – for company. Cruising over River Seine in the heart of Paris with soft rain, caressing my face like a paramour would. Raindrops falling on my head in picturesque Engelberg at the foothills of Mt. Titlis in Switzerland, falling in step with the jingling of cowbells. The other lovely brush with rains that will remain etched forever in my mental scrapbook is around being driven in the black BMW convertible by an old friend in the wavy range of the Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. Like a stubborn lover, I refused to get the hood over, just as it began to rain down feather fine drops, each as pleasant as a gentle kiss.

But not quite the torrential rains in Amsterdam ruining our otherwise pleasant canal cruise – said to be the best way to see the beatific city. Or the angry downpour in Volderdam that drowned all our plans to seek vicarious pleasure in the country’s famed and legal nightlife! Not even the angry, unabated lashing that kept us under house arrest once in Bangkok, another time in Lansdowne, yet another in Goa!

The best and the strongest memories are those that belong to the hazy realms of childhood and are either exhilaratingly or excruciatingly sensory. The whiff of a freshly baked apple pie from a loving mother’s kitchen on a rain-kissed Sunday or the set-in-stone fragrance of aftershave used by Dad as he stepped under the stretched out umbrella to be walked to the waiting Staff car come flooding back to me every monsoon. Even the blotches from jumped in puddles on spic and span white uniforms – a mandate at super-strict convents – have been hard to wash away from the memory bank. Such has been the dalliance with the monsoon.

Rain has also been a sort of personal hideaway place lending a sense of secrecy and privacy even when in public. Whether it was pining for my unrequited love in my infatuation years as I call them, or remembering a loving father who went away too soon or now losing my furry children when it’s time to shed copious tears crying in the rain bears such a special significance. It lets you be, yet it guards you from the harsh, judging glares from others.

The smell of earth after the first fall of rain has always been romanticized, with volumes of poetry and film lyrics wasted on it. It continued to stay inspiring for me too until that telling moment when a desensitized science-type friend opened my eyes to it. She matter-of-factly stated that it was actually earthworms that smelt thus and not the heavenly marriage of waters from the sky and mother earth that led to it. Sadly, ‘petrichor’ will never have the same sensorial influence it once did. Even the name sounds so prosaic and earthy.

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L. Aruna Dhir
L. Aruna Dhirhttp://www.larunadhir.blogspot.com
L. Aruna Dhir is a Hospitality & Feature Writer and Columnist for some of the world’s highest-ranked Hospitality publications. Her industry writings are syndicated to the finest global hospitality bodies and used as references in case studies and hotel schools. Aruna runs an exclusive channel on the award-winning media digest, BizCatalyst 360° called “Hospitality Matters” based on her hospitality industry insight and commentary. Aruna is a recognized and national-poll winning Corporate Communications Specialist, PR Strategist, and Writer. A seasoned hotelier, Aruna loves to present hospitality industry watch, insights, case studies, and analysis to her ever-increasing base of global readership. Aruna has over two decades of experience in Hospitality Communications and Brand Management and has worked with some of the best global hotel companies. In her last corporate role, Aruna was the Director – Public Relations at The Imperial New Delhi, where she was part of the core group and was responsible for re-launching The Imperial as one of the finest hotels in India and Asia. Aruna’s hotel experience includes leading the Marketing Communications and Public Relations portfolio for flagship properties at The Oberoi Group and Hyatt International. She also helped launch the Vilases as the uber-luxury experiences from the Oberoi stable. As an industry expert, Aruna has launched brands, developed training modules, created standardization dockets on business communication, written manuals, conducted Image Study & Positioning Analysis, and led media campaigns of Australian Ministers in India. Aruna Dhir’s successful work tenure with Australia’s Diplomatic Mission in India in the capacity of Media Relations Officer, saw her working on a host of never-done-before exciting projects including the hugely rewarding organisation of Australia-India New Horizons – Australia’s largest ever Country Promotion. Aruna Dhir is the first-ever Creative Writer for the Indian greeting cards giant – ARCHIES Greetings and Gifts Ltd. The milestone puts her in the league of Helen Steiner Rice and Amanda Bradley. While with the company she came out with several series of cards sold under her byline – an unprecedented feat that has not been repeated since. L. Aruna Dhir also dabbles in poetry and has to her credit two titles of Anthologies published and marketed by Archies G&G Ltd. Aruna serves on the Board of Association of Emerging Leaders Dialogues (AELD), a front-running Commonwealth Body that works towards developing leaders and influencers of tomorrow, with Princess Anne as its international President. Aruna has been engaged in freelance work for Doordarshan – the Indian National Television, All India Radio, and Times FM. Academically, L. Aruna Dhir topped at the All-India level in her PG Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising. Aruna has been a Ph.D. scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, akin to an Ivy League in India. She has earned a Senior Management Course Certification from the Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; V Dimension Management Company, London & Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines. Aruna Dhir has represented India to a select group of opinion-makers in the United States, as a Cultural Ambassador under the GSE Program of Rotary International. She has also participated in the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference held in Australia and chaired by Princess Anne. Aruna is a Life Member of the Public Relations Society of India A Freelance Writer since 1987, with articles that have appeared in India’s topmost newspapers and magazines, Aruna is also a blogger, a memoirist with works published on platforms like Medium and a Book reviewer on Goodreads. In her official and personal capacity L. Aruna Dhir has and continues to work on several social awareness projects – People for Animals, Earthquake Relief, National Blind Association, PETA, WSPA, Change.org, Friendicoes to name a few. Born at Allahabad (now Prayagraj), one of the world’s oldest known cities, L. Aruna Dhir grew up and did her schooling in Dehradun, regarded as a prominent seat of academia and literature. After being brought up in the sylvan surroundings of the verdant Doon valley, Aruna chose to make the Capital City of Delhi her second home.

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4 CONVERSATIONS

  1. I love this. I was talking with a friend of mind about writing. We both have a few stories that are so painful that I almost purposely try not finish them. We fear sometimes that maybe we shouldn’t put that much pain out there for others. But in the end we both know we have stories that we must write and share. Very inspiring story and I am sharing

    • Thank you, Larry. For your constant encouragement. Please know that it is highly appreciated. As for pain, I think it must be shared. For two reasons! It lightens the burden of the one who is pained. It also gives a shoulder and provided relief to others, from the knowledge that there are others who have been hurt, yet have decided to soar. Thank you once again, also for all the creativity you put out.

  2. I was thinking of you the other day! Agree….there is a book in every person who wields a pen. I believe the rain slows us down, which opens up the creative mind purging the clutter that collects. You were fortunate and blessed to have grown up in the environment you describe, which is sure to have influenced your writing! My dance in the rain is appreciation for the breath of life that lives through me and courses through my veins waiting patiently to be released through the pen. Cheers!

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