A meditation on the Indian monsoon


I stood by my window for the last 30 minutes, watching the rains lash the city.

It’s been like this all week. To take a line from Noah’s story, “The windows of heaven were open, and the fountains of the great deep sprang up. ”

The waters have flooded the road in front of the school where I live, and each gust of wind and blinding rain shakes its ancient walls.

The downpour was incessant, flooding the streets, disrupting traffic, dismembering buildings and spreading everywhere a feeling of dampness and miasmic gloom.

“This is India, where everything is in excess,” remarked a friend of mine from Europe.

Whether it is flood or drought, scorching heat or cold rain, in the tropics, nature knows no moderation or half measures.

The monsoon sky is gray and threatening, as one thinks in winter. But the monsoon scenes are full of landscapes after the arid heat of summer

Everything here is struggling to survive. Plants grow across the edges of the pavement. Climbing plants erupted through cracks in the wall. Ribbed plastic huts cling to the hillside, as do human bodies pressed desperately against the doors of suburban trains, drenched in the passing downpours. That’s what life is – a struggle.

Does the city do to its inhabitants?

Traditionally, monsoons have aroused other feelings in the Indian soul: nostalgia, childhood memories, fantasies of romance, longings for life and freshness.

In all Indian languages ​​the lyrics celebrate the rain – from Meghdoot from Kalidasa to “You are, you are on break “ (Come, come, gentle rain), the Marathi rhyme known to all children. Musical ragas As Malhaar and movies like Barsaat (rain) celebrates the moods of the season in all its tenderness and unpredictability.

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Other climates have their “autumn leaves” and their “winter wonderland”. In India we have our monsoon, oddly enough both our spring and our winter.

Monsoon skies are gray and menacing, as one thinks winter. But the monsoon scenes are full of landscapes after the arid heat of summer. He tells me that there are seasons of the soul, just as there are changes in nature: A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to reap.

In Indian history, the chaturmas (four months of rain) were times when armies traditionally disbanded and hibernated, accumulating resources and honing their skills until they crossed borders again at Dassera, the festival signifying the victory of good over evil .

I have the impression of deploring the excess of water. In fact, it is quite the opposite. As our ecological conscience sharpens year after year, what is hammered is our water abuse.

We have polluted our oceans and rivers with chemical effluents, toxic waste and oil spills. We have systematically cut down our forests and in the deserts, we have created springs even as our wells are drying up and inland seas turning into potholes of dust.

And our physical bodies too, dehydrated by alcohol, drugs and synthetic drinks, thirst for this natural fluid in which we are born and nourished, and without which our roots can only be stunted.

In Christian symbolism, it is a feminine reality, a sign of the Spirit

Water is a universal symbol of purification, healing, fertility, and life. Every culture recognizes it. It also represents unlimited and indomitable power.

In Christian symbolism, it is a feminine reality, a sign of the Spirit. For it is the Spirit of God who “broods on the face of the deep” and brings forth creation – life, fruitfulness, the prolific and abundant variety, “the increase and the multiplication” of Genesis, and the Spirit of God, who, as the river of life, floods New Jerusalem in the closing pages of Revelation.

No wonder then that our “new life in Christ” begins with being washed in water and dipped in the Spirit!

The showers have ceased. The streets sparkle in the pale afternoon sun. On the roads below, kids splash around in the brown gutters. And this tired, broken, cleaned and renewed city begins to roar again. Again, it’s monsoon.

Father Myron Pereira SJ is a media consultant based in Mumbai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.

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