Tagore and Rainy Days | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 10, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:14 AM, June 10, 2017


Tagore and Rainy Days

Emon dine tare bola jay! On a dreamy day of endless showers, a sunless day of dense clouds, one could share the kind of mystery with a significant other that could not be shared on other days. Such is the nature of one's soul in Tagore's understanding of the intricacies of human minds. Through songs embodying such thoughts, Rabindranath Tagore has shaped our consciousness.  For sure, without the intervention of this gentleman some of us have dreams which would be less intricate, less mystical and much less pleasing!

Another of his much loved lyrics reveals the tender feelings that one would like to share with a certain someone but that cannot be communicated anytime or anywhere, even if one wants to do so. He reminds us that our impromptu-emotions vary subtly, drastically and dramatically, and that every moment is a 'magical' one ... but who can help that? (Kaal Rater Bela Gaan Elo Mor Mone, Tokhon Tumi Chile Na Mor Shone!) Indeed, it appears to be the case that Tagore's magic moments occur mostly during torrential rain, (Aji Tomay Abar Chai Shunabare) “Once again, I am here to tell you what I have told you time and again, what my heart is experiencing in these ceaseless showers”! This song hints at the accrued agony of our minds, and the harmony and rhythm of rain reign in his gorgeous monsoon-anthems.

As many of us celebrate monsoon we have in mind the verse and melody of the song-lyrics of Tagore's Geeto Bitan.  In these compositions, the fine line between the amorous and the devotional often disappear. It's amazing to see how every section of this work display spirited-sombre songs that refer to the monsoon generously.  For the poet the rain season regenerates and ushers in tranquility after the scorching heat of summer: “Rain streams softly on me, like dewdrops falling, they cool my brow.”

On the other hand, the ardent American poet Maya Angelou invites the rain to come in and soothe the all- too- tired housewives, while another American poet Charles Bukowski reveal confidently that “jobless men went mad/ confined with their once beautiful wives ...” when it rained!  And didn't we all read in T. S. Eliot about 'mixing memory and desire' as the rain stirs dull roots!

For sure, the rain stirs 'once beautiful wives', once-loved-beloveds turned forgetful-forgotten-wives, the lonely or the left ones, and would-be-lovers - all. Deep within we all keep waiting for the one who never reaches us. Those dream-come-true figures keep eternally treading on their never-ending path. And so the pining continues, as does the musings about the rainy season. But who can portray the intensity of such moments as well as Tagore? “You didn't care to come in spring when I had been waiting confidently but please come, come in the full monsoon." (aso nai tumi phalgoone jobe chhinu ami tobo bhorosay, eso eso bhora boroshay, Shonar Toree). And thus it is that he sings, "Please, do come on this monsoon evening, and light the lamp at a desolate corner of my place ... surprise me as I yearn in seclusion." (eso go, jwele diye jao prodeepkhani bijon ghorer kone).

A leitmotif in Tagore's Geetabitan then is the ever- recurring image of passionate souls in monsoonal, stormy dark nights ruminating during midnight showers hoping that they would usher in his beloved (amar nishitho rater badol dhara). And thus it is that he keeps chanting, 'Come to my solitary corner like a piece of melody' (ekla ghore chupe chupe, eso kebol shure rupe).Thus it is that on stormy nights the ever-sought soulmate, a nocturnal rover, keeps treading on an endless path. He travels by the furthest river in the boondocks through deep darkness where it is raining incessantly, and. as he keeps treading, it rains and rains. He still keeps walking, who knows towards whom? (aji jhorer rate tomar obhisar, poran sokha bondhu he amar). Spellbound by “by profound Shravan, you arrived escaping all eyes, in furtive footsteps - tranquil like the night... In a garden-land where all doors are closed, one lone rambler keeps drifting on roads that have no other pedestrian." (aji shraban ghono gohon mohe ...)

 That's the charm, the marvel of monsoon that compels us to look inward to find the ones we can't find elsewhere. Didn't Tagore tell us to look within ourselves when there is no light before us that we can see with our own eyes? (ontore aj dekhbo jokhon alok nahi re) On clouded sunless dark-days he thus invites us through his song-lyrics again and again to self-induced illusions and reveries.

On a twilight sky, when clouds had covered the stars, and I had lost all words  ... I kept wondering what the woods were whispering about, what piece of news they had got ... I could hear his footfalls deep within where someone informed - he was coming." That's what we get from Tagore, that note of hope against the enormous hopelessness of our reality and we avail of a degree of peace,  of 'shantih' - the concept the western poet had borrowed from our very own--that  helps us build our treasure trove of  d r e a m s.

tagore adds to the trove thus: “even if I am lost in deep slumber when it rains hard (tokhono chilem mogon gohon ghumer ghore, jokhon bristi namlo), my dreams leave my corporeal body and meet my dream-mate drifting in a faraway land; (amar swopno-swarup bahir hoye elo, se je songo pelo)  and mingles with the fragrance of the rain-drenched jasmine of the gardens (mile gelo kunjo bithir sikto jutjir gondhe). In the nocturnal darkness, it mingles with the serpentine moves of the electric waves of the clouds in the flushing gushing pourings.”

 At the outset of another splendid monsoon, why not listen then to this song and slumber-number and transcend worldly limits? <https://soundcloud.com/shuborna-chowdhury/ami-tokhono-chilem> Let's promise to chill ourselves in cool splashes of raindrops, and build our very own crypted dream-vaults in Shrabon-Borshon-Songeet: Rimi Jhim Rimi Jhim Rimi Jhim!


Suborna Chowdhury is based in Canada and addicted to Rabindra Sangeet

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