It is a time when the sky is heavily overcast

From this major form of megh are derived the six raginis of malhari, sorathi, sawani, kaushiki and gandhari. When the custom of visualising these forms became accepted practice, megh was represented as a dark, handsome man with formidable appearance. No surprise that the ittar-maker or gandhi then created that incomparable aroma of the first monsoon showers on a parched earth and called it mitti or earth Wholesale Shower Filter Factory that can be smelt in any season.The word monsoon comes from the Arabic word mausim, meaning weather. Dr Alka Raghuvanshi is an art writer, curator and artist and can be contacted onalkaraghuvanshi@yahoo. Paradoxically, the origin of the word for torrential rain begins in a desert that doesn’t even know the exquisite and sensual pleasure of a monsoon downpour! Origin notwithstanding, the monsoon has had a literally cascading impact on our literature, art, dance, music and architecture. It is said that Vritra, the cloud-dwelling demon of drought, held back rains once and Indra had to use his arsenal of thunder and bolts of lightening to defeat him in battle and push him out of his cloud-built tower. The seasons have a huge impact on me as a person and it is bound to show in my work. My act is in fact ‘very performance–oriented’. But the real smell of the petrichor or wet earth is after all the real thing! In the Baramasa miniature paintings from Rajasthan, the monsoon pictures have women perched on swings, white cranes flying across a dark sky, peacocks with the plumes fanned out, parakeets and blooming lotuses with the musicians singing the malhar or ragas of the rains.

On my canvas, particularly the larger one, colours engage in furious dance. One of Prof Niren Sengupta’s beautiful work depicts Krishna lifting the Govardhan as he plays the flute surrounded by the deluge.Kalidas’s lyrical poem Meghdootam — the messenger cloud — when a divine Yaksha is separated from his Yakshini by the gods, his pining messages of love are carried by monsoon clouds, is arguably the classic example of monsoon-related poetry: The sky on every side is shrouded by rain clouds which wear the beauty of deep blue lotus petals.Of course the kajris and jhoolas in the so-called light classical genre have been immortalised by Girija Devi and have the power to haunt as the incessant rain beats against the window panes."Artist Sudip Roy says, "I love the purity of colours and the impact they have on the emotional quotient. The space gets painted, in fact, sometimes over-painted. A particularly evocative one likens the bridegroom’s sehra woven from the fragrant jasmine flowers of the season and the lightening akin to the silver and gold zari of the cummerbund wound around his waist, the thunder reverberations from the gallop of his white steed And as the monsoon welcomes the festivals after the somnolent summer months, the midnight celebration of Krishna Janamashtmi, Rakshabandhan and Teej, with their own particular songs and swings, the phoolwalon ki sair winds its way through the streets of Mehrauli to the Jog Maya temple to the tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki For more than basant, it is saawan that is the true beginning of all things.. The viraha songs of the women who await the arrival of their beloved touch a new depth of poignancy as they are sung during the monsoon in Rajasthan, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. At the onset dhulia malhar is sung — as the dust or dhul still blows in gusts, the semi-dry harshness is interspersed with startling intermissions of welcoming raindrops.No wonder that Indra, the lord of the heavens, is also the thunder god and paeans are sung to him in the Vedas, for his role in bringing rains is perhaps the most proactive. It is a pure dance creating significant patterns of movement and rhythm covering space without overshadowing

It is a time when the sky is heavily overcast and rolls of thunder growl threateningly and its gripping aura suggests a somber depth. The logic is that it is not merely the ragas, but the swaras that dance to the rain. Everything speaks of rain without the painting actually depicting a shower!For it is said that rains had to be depicted with "ropes of pearls"! Some of the most evocative paintings from the Bundi, Bikaner and Jodhpur school of miniatures depict the moods of monsoon with Krishna and Radha enjoying the dark clouds and women on swings tied to mango trees and more such romantic imagery all sans a speck of rain! The monsoon months are clubbed together as Chaturmasa — the four months of Asharh, Shravan, Bhadra and Ashvin." The same is true of artist Shridhar Iyer who uses colours with great abandon and pizzazz yet with deep control and depth that he brings to his palette in terms of colour. Megh has the distinction of being accepted in all the four major matas or groups of raga classification.The poignant smell of the earth as the first raindrops fall is something that has inspired the romantic in all of us. And just like the intensity of the downpour almost like an arc, there is a distinct bearing on the placement of the ragas’ singing schedule. The various forms of malhars include the more popular mian ki malhar named after Tansen, gaud malhar, surdasi malhar, ramdasi malhar to the rarely heard jayant malhar, nat malhar and kedar malhar. The ragini Malhar is draped in white and sits on a bed of jasmine, holding a do-tara. Not merely shade differences of the tonal mood of the season, but actually different symbols and pictorial illustrations of the monsoon, megh is of a dark and serious mood. The two ragas of this season are megh and malhar.. She says candidly, "the rhythm and colour of Indian classical dance has influenced my work; it is not altogether surprising that I treat colour as performance. In his left hand he carries a naked sword, flourishing it in the air as if rending the sky to bring rain. Centuries later, Rabindranath Tagore would look at the monsoon sky and write:Lightening darts through the clouds, ripping them Dotting the sky with sharp crooked smiles Last evening I was at the exhibition opening of artist Nupur Kundu and was touched by her "colourscapes" that she paints with immense abandon and freedom, layering them and almost walking on them like a beautiful bird leaves the imprint of her toes on the wet earth. It is like dancing from one colour to another.

It clearly shows how people are so disconnected

" A Midas touch to the latteIt’s called the golden milk and cafes from Sydney to San Francisco are spicing up their menus with cold-pressed turmeric juice in milk or even as tea. Take Holi, the festival of colours, which is played with fervour in Spain, with marathons having Holi colours as a part of their run-dez-vous. Ironically, fly-by-night ‘new’ yoga teachers are offering classes of yoga that start with a deep puff from a chillum. Together in celebration rather than apart in beliefs! That oft-gulped and much detested haldi doodh of childhood has turned into a chic organic drink in the West, with turmeric latte and tea being the go-to."Yoga teacher Samita Rathore has been seeing a craze for it in Australia where she is currently teaching yoga, "‘It is big time in Sydney. A spice that is 4,000 years old in Vedic culture. In modern times, this sort of navel-gazing to sell a concept is outrageous, Personality coach and mind guru Ian Faria sums it up in a nutshell, "I believe that culture is a moving standard. We explore this Indian-ness that has created a life and identity of its own, paired with Western rituals. JFK said it best: The only unchangeable certainty, is that nothing is certain, or unchangeable. It needs to change and evolve — just like we do. Karanth attributes the fusing of two individual activities into one as an instance of an inter-cultural cauldron, "Cultural taboos are slowly fading.Honourary Consul of Spain, Bengaluru, Surbhi Sharma feels that these cultural exchanges are great occasions for camaraderie, "We talk about living in a global village and this is a perfect example.".. Empirically, this has proved to be very accurate in determining trends and shifts in mindset. The ordinary ripe tomato too finds its festival being celebrated in the country, as the Tomatina of Spain comes to the Northeast.

A new-age stick workout, similar to our Gujju behen’s Dandiya has taken fitness junkies into its clattering umbrella too. Salamanca resident and lawyer, Lina Marcela Santibáñez Mejía, who participated in the Salamanca Colour Race, describes it, "The runners got a bag containing coloured powder that we could throw on anyone we wanted. I think we need to use our brains to realise what is true and what is a gimmick." In Indian history, cannabis is believed to have been used as an entheogen as early as 1000 BCE.K. There is only one yoga, the traditional kind. Usually taken as a concoction in milk as bhang and used during religious ceremonies. Bringing a homogeneity and universal identity, this might be what the strife filled world needs today. The event had full support of the government of Meghalaya whose horticulture department collaborated with the Vegetable Sellers Association. Even parties across the world have thrown some gulaal into the revelling. Yoga is yoga, the whole practice is to work with oneself, body and mind. Hashish, or charas, is seen as a gift of Shiva to aid in sadhana.. Surbhi Sharma says, "The La Tomatina festival recently held in Shillong was a great success. While all these bring about a sense of belonging, there are also worrying practices like ‘hashish yoga’ that tries to marry age-old spiritual yoga, adding pot into the asana and pranayama equation. Such celebrations are a perfect way of promoting better understanding and camaraderie among the people of the world. In any case, we need to respect current laws in force, and if they have outlived their purpose, we should endeavour to change them. It takes very little for things to become a rage and it’s great that people have found a new formula to market things. I would therefore go with the evolving trend. Organic cafes are serving Turmeric latte with ginger. It is indeed becoming a small world, where one sees festivals as a celebration irrespective of origin, and issues as a part of the world crisis. To think that the age-old nuska for good health — haldi doodh — has reached foreign waters speaks volumes of that ordinary nub of turmeric or curcuma."Such exchanges promote understanding and sociologist B. India produces most of the world’s turmeric and uses 80 percent of it (for cooking)!Renowned Chef Abhijit Saha says about the ‘Indian saffron’, "There is a rule the world follows: Do things differently instead of coming up with new things. Does cannabis help in one’s quest for vinyasa NOT, is the universal answer. It’s a ‘Holi’day!A marathon and Holi What’s the connection People in Salamanca found one, when they held a 5K marathon with Holi colours. Yogini Samita Rathore is filled with angst at this interpretation. She says, "While a turmeric latte is a wonderful marrying of cultures, Hashish Yoga is ridiculous. A healthy alternative to coffee, it seems to be a desi tadka, in a drink. More than being a Roman, we seem to be taking Rome wherever we go!" he quips. This way, tourists, locals and farmers benefitted too," she says, adding, "The Spanish town of Bunol greatly benefits by attracting over 40,000 tourists on the day of Tomatina Festival, leading to a good amount of business. I am delighted to see such cultural exchanges that go beyond boundaries, and into the minds and lives of others. In the early days, when yogis used to take cannabis, it was not taken recreationally but as a pure herb, this new form is against the first rule of yoga, which is ahimsa and non-violence, as it violates the body. That’s the way the world works. Likewise, India too joins this bandwagon with the various Tomatina Festivals being held here. It’s an exotic health drink — the West has realised its health benefits. It’s a full cycle and it makes me happy when India gets highlighted. The very fact that the festival of Holi is observed in Arabian countries, and our Northeastern counterparts seem to be taking active part in Tomatina, a festival celebrated with gusto in Spain, testifies to this. It is especially interesting to see this take place this year, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Indo-Spanish diplomatic relations!"And everyone wants to be a part of it, "Holi has become a huge fad abroad, especially after the release of Coldplay’s music video that was shot in India which focused on Holi colours, so many of my relatives from the US and UK have shown interest in Handheld Shower Head Suppliers flying down, just to celebrate the festival here!" exclaims Yasmin Paul, a student of communication. It’s demoralising and dangerous too. I see this as a merger that ushers the advent of a liberal era. However, while it is always a struggle to decide what part of culture needs to remain sacrosanct and what needs tweaking or discarding, the world now uses the power of collective or crowd intelligence. At completion of each kilometre, all runners got a ‘coloured shower’ under an arch with each arch in a particular colour. A damp squib — new-age yogaYet, something like yoga seems to be getting some disturbing interpretations. It’s remarkable how we all used to have it as kids — we would close our noses to gulp it down, and now we’ve forgotten it and the West has embraced it." While she felt the addition of colours was a tad frivolrous in a marathon, she says, "Companies take advantage of these new ideas to attract young people, though I did enjoy the post-race tapas session and drinks. The trend of fusions is going to continue.

It clearly shows how people are so disconnected with reality — the fact that people are even using a term like Hashish Yoga is such a shame — something so sacred and traditional like yoga is being degraded to such a level by an unseemly bunch. The line between homegrown customs and the West is blurring with elements of desi-ness becoming a part of international celebrations. knowing that someone would want to hang onto the old, and then let the universe decide what will be permitted."In a thumping party too, splashing colour on one another is something that has taken Madrid and Barcelona under its colourful umbrella, adding some more to the boogeying. Hashish Yoga, in which yogic asanas are performed with a smoke-ful of hashish manna, threatens to obliterate the very essence of yoga. It’s ironic that our very own haldi doodh has been turned into a latte craze. People are embracing various cultures and doing away with archaic forms of thoughts.It’s desi in videsi garb with a fusion of celebrations, festivals and customs. Yoga has been trivialised and it’s a sad state of affairs.