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The term ‘Monsoon’ was first used in English in British India and neighbouring countries to refer to the big seasonal winds blowing from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, bringing heavy rainfall to the area.
Today, it’s come to symbolize much more: a blessing, of course for fertility and cultivation, but equally a sensation that embraces daydreams, clarifies a mood, or washes away malaise with hope for sunshine or a rainbow in its place.
What’s left after a good shower is petrichor, the musty, barky smell of fresh rain fallen on the dry earth. Truly, what’s unforgettable about this season is its myriad accompaniments, captured below through art, film, literature and poetry:
Monsoon in Old Delhi, 1983, by Steve McCurry
“It was raining when Rahel came back to Ayemenem. Slanting silver ropes slammed into loose earth, plowing it up like gunfire.
The old house on the hill wore its steep, gabled roof pulled over its ears like a low hat.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
From a rain bottle installation at Maison et Objet, 2014, by Japanese designer Nendo. The scenography is a line-up of clear acrylic bottles which each contain variations of rain: ‘kirisame’, ‘biu’ and ‘kosame’ refer to different degrees of fine drizzle; ‘niwaka-ame’ is a sudden downpour’; ‘mizore’ is sleet; ‘yudachi’ are showers that occur the evening; ‘kisame’ is precipitation that drips from the end of tree branches; and ‘kaiu’ is a deluge that is mixed with dust and pollen.
Aware of the deficiency of nature in urban realities, Vitamin D - Himêya’s new collection for bed, bath and home - bodes well for the soul and balanced living. Vitamin D proposes lightness, encouraging you to Rest Better, Be Better and Live Better.
Monsoon rains, 1967, by Raghubir Singh
With tearful eyes
Farmers prayed for rain
Somewhere thundered hope
Moon then clouds
Moon then clouds moon then clouds
Monsoon's hide and seek
Monsoon is well nigh
Moon bows, moves inside the clouds
Welcoming the rain
Sky showers love
Clouds growl, thunders scare
At last rain comes, cools
A happy ending
- Sathya Narayana
‘Mazagaon Mangoes’, painted by James Forbes, appeared in the rare book from 1813, ‘Oriental Memoirs - A Narrative of Seventeen Years Residence in India’. Forbes arrived in India at age 16 and spent his formative years working with the East India Company. Forbes had great empathy for the natural world, which showed in his pen and brush.
Graphic designer and photographer Emilie Möri presents the ‘Red Stole’ series, capturing the fluid movement of fabric under the monsoon rains of Thailand. Shot entirely on iPhone.
Kathmandu, Nepal — A banana leaf serves as an umbrella for a boy herding water buffalo, 1984, by Steve McCurry
We leave you with a look back at cinematic classic, Monsoon Wedding, through a 2001 interview with director, Mira Nair.