My ten favourite songs on clouds and separation
Mid-June, the rains used to arrive in Bombay when I was a kid. The black clouds would hold the promise of change. This would mean relief from the heat and dust of the preceding summer months and a burst of new life. The dreary plain near our house would promise to turn into a pond with lots of small streams arising and emptying in it. These small streams would then become alive with small and big crabs and tadpoles! Coinciding with the arrival of the black clouds, the new school year would also arrive. This would mean new textbooks! The dark messenger would also bring the hope, that I would share the class room with my friends from last year, but at the same time also the anxiety if I would again have to spend this new school year with class bully.
These dark water-bearers of sky, who brought so many emotions in my being were and are also the bearers of hope over the centuries in India for separated lovers. The earliest mention is found in Meghduta (the cloud messenger) by Kalidasa (most probably 4th century CE). It tells the story, how a yakṣha (a supernatural being), after being exiled, asks a passing cloud to take a message to his wife. In Hindi cinema though, we find mostly women singing to the clouds. They call upon them to be their messengers, to take a message to their far-off beloveds, asking them to return back.
Read the rest of this entry »