Those Photographic Monsoon Joys


This article was originally published in August 2014.

The monsoons have always been my favourite season of the year. Bright, harsh summer skies become heavy, brooding and overcast, sometimes a soft, featureless white. In frantic cities like Mumbai, things slow down, and yet, become strangely eventful. Brilliant reflections appear on the outside of wet windshields. From the inside of taxicabs, supplementary lenses form by the thousands. Streaming rivulets adorn windowpanes, distorting the world outside, mixing up colours and shapes into fascinating, convulsing forms. Coconut palms standing in lines on empty, undulating coastal roads bend and whip in synchronicity, as though in an ethereal, rapturous, otherworldly dance. Some colours deepen. Others turn into magical pastel hues.

People seem to get more introspective, possibly because the rain Gods are a convenient excuse for all things wrong and right. Other Gods sit below dark, dripping peepal trees, appearing more content than usual, with no devotees running around in circles, asking for undue favours. At the exits of railway stations, travellers heading home wonder briefly, before reluctantly stepping into the rain with open umbrellas, and get drenched nevertheless. Somehow, street kids always know how to enjoy the rain the most… splashing with abandon into puddles of muddy water, laughing and yelling with glee. Crows just look forlorn, lost and without any purpose, for a change.

I thoroughly enjoy walking on the streets of the city with earphones on, when it rains. The music somehow blends with the rhythms of the falling drops, the odd bicycle messenger, black wires mosaicing 18 percent grey skies, a man with water dripping off his earlobes furiously fanning the embers within his umbrella covered sigri, roasting cobs of corn… definitive visuals, through spray-bejewelled lenses, with brilliant bokeh blurs, and impeccably timed, frozen moments, consummately captured, with the perfect background score to match. Could there be a better way to experience a movie than living in it?

I am so glad the monsoons are here. It changes everything.

Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, monsoon, Editorial, august 2014