April 16, 2015

Monsoon – “rim jhim” – 4

During the summer months of March, April and May, thunderstorm activity is at its peak over many parts of India.
If conditions are favourable, cumulonimbus clouds form in the afternoons and quickly grow to great heights.
They produce heavy downpours, accompanied by thunder, lightning, sometimes hail, and strong gusts of wind.
The showers provide a welcome relief from the sweltering and oppressive heat of the summer.
Thunderclouds have a short life cycle, they dissipate quickly and the sky gets a washed-out clear blue colour again.

Many times, the onset of the southwest monsoon is heralded by violent thundershowers, “garajat barasat saawan aayo re” as some songs put it.
But once the monsoon has been firmly established across the country, thunderstorms get much fewer in number, and they are mostly confined to the region of the monsoon trough that runs from west to east across north India.
There are occasions, however, when thunderstorms do develop during the monsoon season, such as at the end of a long dry spell or a break in the monsoon. Thunderstorm activity revives once again with the retreat of the southwest monsoon in September-October.

cumulonimbus

So the real monsoon rains come not from the tall localized cumulonimbus clouds but from the altocumulus and altostratus clouds of medium height that get spread out over the country.
This extensive cloud cover is the most characteristic and distinguished feature of satellite images of India in the monsoon.
The monsoon rains come in a steady continuous drizzle, generally light but sometimes heavy, free from the distractions of thunder or lightning.

This is the “rim jhim” of the monsoon that makes the heart dance joyfully to the rhythm of the raindrops.
This is the “rim jhim”, the pure, soft but relentless downpour that is matched by the outpouring of the heart’s yearnings, desires and also its saddest thoughts.

usne kaha tha

My favourite rim jhim song is the one sung by Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar, “Aha rim jhim ke ye pyare pyare geet liye”, for the film Usne Kaha Tha of 1960.
Although monsoon clouds do not have the proverbial silver lining around them, this is a song of joy and hope.
“Aayee raat suhani dekho preet liye…haatho mein mere tera haath rahe …mera tumhara sari zindagi ka saath rahe.”
With Shailendra’s lyrics, and Salil Cloudhury’s music, it is a song with a fast rhythm.

In another 1960 film, Kala Bazaar, Geeta Dutt and Mohd. Rafi sang a song with an almost parallel theme but not quite as joyful, “Rim jhim ke tarane leke ayee barsaat”. The music was composed by S. D. Burman.
“Naina barse rim jhim rim jhim, piya tore aawan ki aas” sang Lata Mangeshkar for the film Woh Kaun Thi, which was released in 1964. Among the rim jhim songs that I like, this is perhaps the slowest, and Madan Mohan’s music is sad, mysterious and haunting.

“Rim jhim ke ye geet sawan laye, haye bheegi bheegi raaton mein” was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi for the film Anjaana of 1969. Laxmikant Pyarelal’s music has a slow but forceful beat.

“Rim jhim gire” were two songs sung separately by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar, under R. D. Burman’s music direction for the film Manzil of 1977. Kishore Kumar’s song, written by Yogesh, brings out the burning desire of a heart set on fire by the monsoon. “Rim jhim gire saawan, sulagh sulagh jaye man, bheege aaj is mausam mein, lagi kaisi yeh agan…jab ghoongaruon si bajti hain boonde…”.

Most of the rim jhim songs that are still popularly remembered are from Hindi films of, technologically speaking, a bygone era.
Perhaps their black and white medium was more suited for conveying the moods of the monsoon, as the monsoon clouds are not painted in colour but appear in vivid shades of grey between the black and white extremes.

However, the film ’1942 A Love Story’, released in 1994, was a product of modern technology and R. D. Burman’s music.
It had this lovely colourful duet “Rim jhim, rim jhim, rum jhum, rum jhum” which was sung by Kumar Sanu and Kavita Krishnamurthy for Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala on the screen.
It was Javed Akhtar who wrote the words “Rim jhim, rim jhim, rum jhum, rum jhum, bheegi bheegi rut mein, tum hum, hum tum, chalte hain… bajta hain jaltarang…motiyon jaisa jal barse…”

April 14, 2015

Monsoon Malhar and Guddi ! – 3

In the middle latitudes of the globe, the year gets neatly divided into four seasons,
each of 3-month duration:
spring (March-May),
summer (June-August),
autumn (September-November)
and winter (December-February).

calendar2

in India, the southwest and northeast monsoons dominate the march of the seasons and disturb this regular cycle.
Indian meteorologists prefer to divide the year in a different manner:
summer (March-May),
monsoon (June-September),
post-monsoon (October-November)
and winter (December-February).
In the traditional Indian calendar, however, there are six seasons,
each of 2-month duration:
Basant (Chaitra-Baisakh),
Greeshma (Jyaistha-Asadha),
Varsha (Sravana-Bhadra),
Sharad (Aswina-Kartika),
Hemant (Agrahayana-Pausa)
and Shishir (Magha-Phalguna).

As a rough approximation these are equivalent to:
spring (March-May),
summer (May-July),
monsoon (July-September),
post-monsoon (September-November),
autumn (November-January)
and winter (January-March).

Life in India keeps on adjusting itself to the changing seasons.
Farming practices, religious festivals, school timetables, cultural traditions, food, dance, music, are all tuned to this Ritu-Chakra.
A unique feature of Indian classical music is the relationship of the ragas with specific times of the day and different seasons of the year which are conducive in bringing out their true essence.
For each Ritu, there is a distinctive Raga or a family of Ragas: Basant (Basant, Bahar, Hindol), Greeshma (Deepak), Varsha (Megh, Malhar), Sharad (Malkauns), Hemant (Hemant, Shree), Shishir (Bhairav).

The soul of the monsoon’s music is the raga Malhar which captures the range of its moods and emotions, from the solemnity of the grey skies to the playfulness of the raindrops, from joy to sadness. The members of the Malhar family are
Shuddha Malhar,
Megh,
Megh Malhar,
Miyan ki Malhar ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VftZmijx1mY),
Gaud Malhar
and Ramdasi Malhar.

malharThe monsoon is the season for rejoicing.
The clouds gather over the horizon, the sky becomes a grey overcast, showers quench the thirst of the parched earth, crops get sown, fields bloom and there is music in the air.
It is the time for romance, the time to sing and swing, dance and celebrate.
But for some lonesome lovers it is a time of agony as they long for each other’s company, and cannot bear the pain of separation.

Many of the monsoon songs are addressed to the dark clouds, seeking their solace at this time of loneliness.
Some songs beseech the clouds to change course and rain over the land of the beloved.
Many popular Hindi film songs have been based on raga Malhar or its variants.
There was a Hindi film named “Malhar”, released in 1951, with its entire music weaved around this raga by Roshan.
guddi

But perhaps the most popular film song in this genre is the modern classic, “Bole re papeehara”, from the film “Guddi” of 1971, written by Gulzar and set to the authentic notes of Miyan ki Malhar by music director Vasant Desai:The singer was Vani Jayram
Bole re papeehara, papeehara/nit ghan barase, nit man pyaasa/nit man pyaasa, nit man tarase/bole re papeehara…
palakon par ek boond sajaaye/baithee hoon saawan le jaaye/jaaye pee ke des mein barase/nit man pyaasa, nit man tarase/bole re papeehara…
saawan jo sandesa laaye/meri aankh se moti paaye/jaan mile babul ke ghar se/nit man pyaasa, nit man tarase/bole re papeehara…

Wonder, silence, gratitude

one who is going upstream ......

SS24 - in search of the bull !

one who is going upstream ......

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