Through the Rain

Haider Saif

And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers…  (Al Quran 6:99)

While speaking of Bangladesh, you better start with a train journey from somewhere in the north. It is middle of Ashar, the month that leads to a prolong monsoon. The train is heading down towards south. And of course, it is raining. This time the rain maintains an untimely routine. We do not know when it rests and when it restarts. All you have to do is to manage a window-faced seat in the train. That’s it.
The station and the scattered city blocks will be faded away soon. You are now entering in an all-green wonderland. Rain is falling down. Rain in falling on ground, falling on trees, plants, tin-shade rooftops, on roads and on dead-white clothes of field bound farmers. Rain has flooded with white fumes over the ponds and water-logged marshy lands. Rain is singing, really, if you learn to listen. And you have started witnessing what we read in the beginning, what Quran says about the amazing power of rain.
I guess you have not forgotten the heat-burn days that we just left behind. The heat sucks the last drop of humidity from us. Think about the photograph of the destitute farmer who was crying sitting in his dead-dried land. Yes, you are now watching the same land pregnant with blushful greeneries.

In the Big White Canvas…

If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water. — Loren Eisley

Bangladesh is a country where you will never miss a river. Wherever you go, you will find one rolling down towards south. The water may not look as transparent as the Blue Nile, but you will find it full of lives. But you see, Eisley is talking of something more. It is magic. In order to witness that, you have to ride on a boat in the roaring river. If you miss the courage, just stand over a bridge. Better if it is the Hardinge Bridge because Padma is the mightiest river in this land.
If you are fortunate enough, you do not have to wait for long. The rain will come in its own way- first the little drop and then the downpour. You will witness the transformation of the river into a white fumy canvas. And your eyes will be tired exploring its fading end.
If you can manage riding on a sailing or motor boat, it will be an incredible experience. In our school language, the safer version of such trip is called a journey by boat. In books, it usually starts from your nearest river ghat. In reality, you can start it from anywhere. Your boat will roll and roll over from swelling waterways into tough sharp wave that will let you experience different boost in your mind. An additional level will be added if you meet a water plunged Kashbon or if you can halt a few hour on rain-struck char. For sure, you will remember that the rest of your life.

The Song of the Rain

It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent. — Dave Barry

If you are a village dweller, this time you will understand me better than others. Or you may have spent a few rainy nights under a tin-shade while visiting to your friend’s home in some remote village. If you belong to the second group, I bet, this is a lifetime experience that you will certainly miss the rest of your life. That is the first part of experiencing rain in a village.
It starts with scattered, often bigger, drops, or with a gush of sudden downpour, or with so smoothing silence you cannot even recognize first. Then the crescendo rises. If it is little stormy, the sound of downpour will vary like rhythmic wave. You have to stand by the window to watch the magic on plants and bushes. If it misses the air, you can sit down by the window, gaze outside for some times and then open your eyes, and with guaranteed certainty, it will bring you up to a meditative stage. If you are accompanied by your siblings or friends, then make it spicier, bring in jhal-muri, and engage in some indoor games. You even will fail to notice when the time has passed by.

It Comes For the Rural Chaps

Do not, on a rainy day, ask your child what he feels like doing, because I assure you that what he feels like doing, you won’t feel like watching. — Fran Lebowitz

In childhood, so far I can remember, we, the primary school going kids, had a routine how to pass the day. If it is in the rainy season, come back from school, change your clothes, rush to the football ground and make it your own no matter how much the clouds are pouring over you. And the tank-full pond was just beside the playing ground. After a dashing play, jump into the pond, swim, turn your eyes red and when muajjin is calling for Juhar prayer, it is only then you go back home. No one on the earth is going to explain how you feel playing in the rain, or squashing up in the rainy ponds.
More or less, it is exactly the same routine the village kids love to follow during monsoon. They have to go out with friends, engage in some play, soak up with water and mud as freely as possible which will obviously end up in a refreshing bath in the pond or river. If you are daring enough, you will have the chance to cut off the banana trees, tie them up and free-float in the river stream. Well, that requires a bit of swimming expertise. At home, sometimes, your parents are surely waiting to scold and bit you up and the pains you will surely forget before the next sunrise.
With even a cost of million dollars, you cannot experience that in the city. Sorry city guys! it is preserved for the kids deprived of video games and monopoly afternoons.

It is the Magic Touch

Rain! whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains. – Henry Ward Beecher

Kodom comes first, then follows the others. And that is just a little part of it. The nature takes a fresh and entirely new look in the rainy season. The trees are blossomed with greenest leaves. The rivers and ponds are full to the brim. The air is just fresher than any time. Everything is clean and pure. The corn fields are just like green carpets.
Take a boat ride. Have a look in the shadow casted in the water. When the rain stops, it is a beautiful rainbow that covers the afternoon sky. Look at the sky. It is more painted than ever. Go out and have a closer look. The chars have been whitened with snowy Cashbon.
Go to the mountain top. Have a look around. You will agree It is kind of heaven. Incredible green blankets have wrapped the hills. Move forth and have a close look at the lakes. Wao! That is cool! You can see down to the bottom through the crystal clear water. And the waterfalls? They have been rejuvenated with fullest spirit. Go out! Have a look!

Of the Tummy & the Economy

Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger. – Saint Basil

O yes, it is the hard part. In an agriculture-based country like Bangladesh, farmers have to depend largely on rain water for their irrigation. Farmers has to wait for the first rain in the monsoon to prepare the seed ground. Then as the rain intensifies, the farmers proceed with plantation.
Artificial irrigation has been introduced, yes. Once we heard something called ‘canal digging’. That means carrying water to remote dry land where you have no source of water during summer. But the system did not sustain. Moreover, it failed to cover vast areas of lands where farmers are solely dependent on monsoon water. There is another equation. You can calculate it with bare eyes- the difference of production volume during and outside monsoon period.
Now farmers are left with another bonus. We usually have a negative impression with the world flood. But it is not entirely true for the farmers. O yes, when it drowns or wash away young crops, it hurts. But it also has something far more precious. While receding off, flood water leave a thick blanket of silt along the river bed. The rest of the process is so easy. Farmers just have to scatter away the seeds and come back months later to harvest. No irrigation, no fertilizer, no extra taking care. That’s it!

Fellows Who Follow Longefellow

For after all the best thing one can do when it is raining, is to let it rain. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I should say, people in the city always have successfully followed Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. If it rains in the morning, oh no! Mom, give me my rain-coat. If it is 11:30 am, you are in the classroom and your teacher will say, open the page 31, here is your homework. One more thing, do not go outside until it stops pouring.
While studying in the University of Dhaka, few of us had a disease of walking in the rain. Accordingly we are walking back soaked to our halls. While crossing the TSC intersection, we heard somebody calling us ‘crazy’. Well that never touched us because, enjoying true freedom is surely a crazy thing, at least in the city.

The Cats and the Dogs

The good rain, like the bad preacher, does not know when to leave off. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it. — Denzel Washington

During childhood, we heard the story of Prophet Noah (pbuh). When Allah took the decision, it started raining. Day and night it kept raining without a pause for 40 days. Rivers and Ponds, fields and meadows, trees and forests- all went under water one by one. The water kept increasing and it took the hills and mountains as well. There was no land left. It was an earth of ocean. Only the one ark sustained. It is dreadful to think of that moment.
We expect not that moment to be repeated. But we are warned, almost every monsoon. All on a sudden it starts raining. We cannot imagine 40-day-long downpour. If it just lasts for two hours, our life becomes stagnant. If it continues the whole day, we are literally imprisoned in our abode. If it lasts little longer, our crops are gone, our communication system collapses, our schools and offices turn empty. Then starts the river erosion. People lose their house and land. They become refugees. The social scientists have given a good name to these people- climate refugees.
Then the situation worsens. Water starts entering into community. Homes and fields go under water. You will see seven feet water inside home and people have takes shelter on the roof. Cattles washed away in the strong current of flood water. There is no fresh water to drink. There is no food to eat. You cannot travel swimming across the vast ocean of flood water. It is really really a terrible time for the people of Bangladesh.

Rain-soaked Gitobitan

A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning. — James Dickey

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
— Rabindranath Tagore

In the history of Bangla literature, you will hardly meet anybody who was not touched the soft rain in his literary works. From Rabindranath Tagore to Tokon Tagore- everybody has dealt with monsoon and its immense psychological effect on the mind. There are literally hundreds of poems and songs written in Bangla that has dealt with rainy time. Along with Rabindranath comes our national poet, Qazi Nazrul Islam. These are the people, who have truly molded this land into a place of rain-struck people.
Of our few childhood rhymes that begin our education, quite a numbers are written on rain. In that primary stage we heard Brishti pore tapur tupur nodey elo ban. We memorized Nil noboghono ashar gogono til thai ar Nahire. Then we grew up a little and found many of our stories and novels have also soaked in rain. In some stories, it is much more than rain where it represents the human character. Somewhere it reflects on the psychology of a character. In other places it creates an environment to take place a sad scene, perhaps.

It Has Been With Its Lord…

Now, people in our country have a peculiar superstition about rain. If it starts raining, your mom, perhaps, will say, ‘don’t go outside, you will get fever’. We now know, there is no valid scientific proof for that superstition. If it is stormy or something like Kal-Boishakhi, you may need to look for a shelter. Otherwise, the water the clouds shed is purer than anything else.
Before wrapping up, for those who still have confusion whether to walk in the rain or not, here is a beautiful hadith:

Anas ibn Malik said, “While we were with the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, it began to rain. The Prophet opened his cloak so that the rain could fall on him. We asked, ‘Why did you do that?”
The Prophet replied, “It has been with its Lord very recently.”

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