“ How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!........”
-wrote H W. Longfellow, the noted American poet.
Back home, reams and reams of paper have been consumed writing paeans for rain and particularly the month of Sawan i.e.; the peak rainy season. Sawan has long been associated with showers of rain resulting in good crops and prosperity to the peasantry. Little wonder that Sawan finds mention in poetry, songs and folklore especially in northern India. For the religious minded, ‘sawan ka mahina ‘ is the time for immersing in worship of lord Shiva . For others, depending on the age, stage and mindset, this is the time for merry making, swinging in the Jhula, weaving romantic dreams and fantasies . The separated beloved thinks of her lover when the “sawan “ comes.
One is reminded of Kalidas’s Meghdootam - the cloud messenger, the echoes of which can be felt in the old film song , “Sawan ke badalo, unse yeh jaa kaho..............." Hindi films are replete with titles based on sawan like - Sawan- bhadon , Sawan ki Ghata , Sawan ko aane do , Aya sawan jhoom ke etc. etc. with the title songs invariably thrown in.
There are a number of songs, finding a mention of sawan and clouds :
Mere naina sawan bhadon
Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul…….
Kar de na kahin barbad mujhe, jab chhaye kahin sawan ki ghata
Aya sawan jhoom ke
Sawan aye ya na aye, jiya jab jhoome, sawan hai
Phir sawan rut ki pawan chali tum yaad aaye
Ghanan ghanan ghir aye badra etc . etc.
- My personal favourite is Rim Jhim gire sawan , sulag sulag jaye man – sung beautifully by Lata Mangeshkar from the film, “Manzil” . On the screen the bubbly and innocent Moushumi, in the company of Amitabh Bachchan, seems to enjoy fully the rain showers., while walking on road in the metropolis.
I am also reminded of a beautiful rendition by Jagjit Singh in Punjabi--- Saw(a)n da mahina yaaro , saw(a )n da mahina e - bringing alive the scene in rural Punjab as to all that sawan means and stands for. While the urban people are content with, hot pakoras and tea, the rural folk gorge on mal puay and kheer .
Sawan is really a month of joy and merry making !