The tempestuous nor’ wester
Jhor elo, elo jhor
Aam por aam por,
Khacha aam, dasha aam,
Tok, tok, mishty…
Elo bujhi brishti.
Lines like these bring up a surge of memories; immediately transporting me back to the yesteryears when ma used to put us to sleep with stories from Thakurmar Jhuli and beguiling rhymes. Nowadays, whenever there's a Kalbaishakhi Jhor in sight, I quietly hum identical tunes, making sure my sons are close enough to listen.
As I try to pour out my thoughts on a piece of paper, to fairly explain my feelings about seasonal storms, the outside darkens miraculously. Clouds begin to take shape; one mighty puff joins another, as if to show a parade of gallantry. As the sky darkens, the clouds rumble and when the entire city is tiptoeing to take shelter, I stand next to the veranda on my tenth-floor apartment, marveling at the majestic beauty of the Kalbaishakhi.
While it may be true, that the thunderstorm will uproot few trees, while breaking down some into awkward pieces, the Kalbaishakhi will also bring with it an array goodness, washing away all the sickness and dirt off the country, encouraging the nation to start afresh with renewed faith.
If we look at the Kalbaishakhi from an artist's point of view, nothing can be more surreal. Every capture, be it a painting or a picture taken by a camera, the results are fascinating and the subject majestic.
Goutam Chakraborty, a renowned artist of the city, also the Director at Galleri Kaya, agrees with us on this note. "The Kalbaishakhi Jhor is a terrific scene to capture, through all mediums of art, from oils to pastels to watercolours and even acrylics. But the quickest capture can be made through watercolours and maybe that's why many artists prefer this medium, to paint the best possible storm scenario, not just in Bangladesh but all over the world," said Chakraborty.
There's another perspective to look at when discussing the Kalbaishakhi, while storms maybe a typical setting for artists from all over the world. The Kalbaishakhi provides a fresh angle to Bangladeshi artists, because the entire gram Bangla, the scenic green villages, depict a stunning scenario that is unique and cannot be found anywhere else. The thunderstorm in an open field, maybe a mustard field can be captured with a mix and match of beautiful colours like the yellow ochre, Prussian blue and olive green.
Then there's the picturesque scenario where the rain pours over the tin-sheds, the thatched roofs and mud houses, the coconut trees swaying with the wind and little children running about, collecting fallen mangoes from trees, are instances that surpass all descriptions of beauty.
From an artist's point of view, all seasons may have their unique charm, for instance, spring, with heaps of flowers in bloom, or summer with its scorching heat making the sunflower fields glisten like fields of gold. It may just be the king of them all, not because it dominates our seasons, but because of the unique beauty that is associated with the season – the majestic Kalbaishakhi.
By Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury
Art by Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury