Esoteric, Personal

A symphony of sensations fills the air as Bangladeshis immerse themselves in the scent of petrichor, the sight of mesmerising lightning, and the refreshing touch of raindrops, creating unforgettable experiences.

There is something magical about the monsoon. Despite the fear it instils and the inconvenience it sometimes brings, its arrival is not only welcomed but also celebrated. We eagerly await the first raindrops, anxiously watching the darkening skies. We gaze at the clouds, urging them to unleash a torrential downpour. After months of relentless heat, we take to the streets and rooftops, dancing, laughing, and embracing the refreshing rainfall. Ever since my childhood, I would sit by the windows in anticipation. The air would cool down, accompanied by a slight chill. Darkness would envelop the surroundings as if it were night instead of the middle of the day. A distinct smell precedes the rain—a scent of dark clouds, dust, cement, and people’s emotions on the ground. And then, suddenly, it arrives. Even though we expect it, the thunder startles us out of our reverie, and Mother Nature releases her tears upon us, soothing our pain and washing away our sins. The Kalboishakhi season acts as a precursor to the monsoon, offering a glimpse of what the months from June to October might hold.

What is it about the monsoon that makes it so special to Bangladeshis? Here are ten reasons why we cherish the monsoon season:

Relief from the heat: First and foremost, it provides respite from the scorching summer, especially when coupled with frequent power outages. We get to cool down and enjoy the refreshing breeze.

A chance to sleep in: The darkness of the early morning hours offers the perfect excuse to snuggle and stay in bed for as long as possible, even for those accustomed to waking up early.

A sensory experience: The scent of petrichor, the mesmerising lightning, the sound of raindrops and thunder, and the tingling sensation in the air make the monsoon a highly sensory experience. Often, we find ourselves glued to our phones, oblivious to our surroundings. Rainstorms snap us out of autopilot mode, urging us to be present and absorb the atmospheric beauty.

A haunting and melancholic ambience: The monsoon possesses an inherent sense of eeriness, not only because of its darkness but also because it feels like a scene from a cinematic masterpiece. In movies, intense climactic moments often occur during violent storms, and the charged atmosphere can sometimes evoke strong emotions.

Nostalgic connections: Growing up and living in Bangladesh, the monsoons become ingrained in our memories. They evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminding us of the rainstorms we witnessed during our formative years.

An excuse to indulge in comfort food: As soon as the rain starts, we often rush to the kitchen to prepare khichuri or savour a cup of dudh cha (milk tea), luxuriating at the moment.

Inspiration for passion and romance: The monsoon season is known for kindling love. Whether sharing a rainy day playlist or seeking shelter under an umbrella together, even the simplest gestures take on a romantic quality during this time. The electric ambience outside enhances the chemistry between individuals.

A delay in routine: The monsoon disrupts schedules, causing delays or cancellations, and affords us some extra time for ourselves, allowing for relaxation or pursuing personal interests.

Renewal followed by destruction: While we tend to romanticise the monsoon, we must acknowledge the significant destruction it can bring. Due to climate change, Bangladesh is increasingly vulnerable to mass-scale flooding and landslides, leaving people homeless, at risk of drowning, or susceptible to waterborne diseases. However, after the devastation, there is always a sense of hope and renewal, inspiring us to rebuild our lives.

Teaching us to surrender: Ultimately, the monsoon serves as a reminder that we cannot control everything and are at Mother Nature’s mercy. This realisation humbles us and teaches us to accept our circumstances and surrender to forces beyond our control. It is ingrained in our nature as Bangladeshis to watch the rain, to find inspiration in it, to write poetry about it, to fall in love during it, or to experience a surge of emotions that mirror the stormy skies outside. The next time the skies darken, take the opportunity to do nothing and simply observe the storm as it passes over. Published first on Ice Today.

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July 2024

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