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Rhapsody on a rainy afternoon!

Published : Wednesday, 8 December, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 677
Pradosh Mitra

Rain and khichuri are intertwined! Why this is so remains a mystery. The fact is, we have been programmed in such a way since childhood that when the heavens open, the heart, or, to be precise, the stomach, craves khichuri.

In modern day Dhaka, there are gourmets who dabble in all sorts of exotic cuisines but rest assured, most of them will forget the exquisite gastronomic lingo on a rainy afternoon and simply put all kinds of food aside for khichuri and meat bhoona. Now, how you like your khichuri is completely up to you. Some prefer fried fish with it, mostly hilsa, others want deep-fried eggplant and, then, the avowed carnivores usually have a meat of their choice, either mutton or beef.

There are those who like chicken too but honestly speaking, beef khichuri has a primordial pleasure associated with it and chicken khichuri sounds more like a dish for recovering patients. Sorry, no offence meant, we may soon fall in that category when doctors will tell us: 'all your life you have eaten beef, now go and live on what the cows eat, meaning green vegetables.'

But rainy afternoon is not just about khichuri alone, it's also about becoming philosophical and introspective. Actually, a cloudy day with relentless rain cannot be called inclement because such weathers are needed from time to time to minimise the predatory nature in all of us.

The mercenary philosophy takes a backseat:
On regular days, this massive city is powered by materialistic ideals. Without being judgmental, we live in such a time that even if we don't want to, the issue of money and earning automatically creep into our lives. The rainy afternoon is the perfect reprieve from that work-salary-material comfort cycle.

This is a day when you may be pardoned for just spending a few leisurely hours by the window, savouring the drenched magnificence outside. Or, you may want to relax with a cup of tea and dive into nostalgia. The curious thing is that on rainy days, I have heard very few talking about trade, money, business or education. Subconsciously, we remove them from our minds.

Caught in a rat race, hardly anyone ever gets the time for deep reflection, which rainy afternoons provide. And, what if your are not the thinking type? Well, in that case, after a full plate of khichuri you may just head for the bed and a two-hour rejuvenating sleep. Someone once told me: it's a crime not to sleep or take a siesta on a rainy afternoon. I agree. When you wake up, the mind feels blank and usually a languor takes over. Don't resist it, allow that lassitude to dominate. Sometimes, it's rewarding to simply do nothing.

The perfect day for lovers and poets:
Once upon a time, lovers spent rainy afternoons talking on the phone but in 2021 they engage in a lot of things which I am sure do not need an elaboration.  This reminds me of a timeless song from the Bangladeshi film NoromGorom, titled: eibristibheja rate cholejeonaa (don't leave me on this rain swept night). In the movie, the actress, Anju Ghosh, sings and dances provocatively in the rain to keep the debauched husband at home so he will not leave to spend the night with courtesans.

Since we are talking about movies, who can forget the raunchy Hindi song: tip tip barsa paani, paani aag lagayi (drop of water set me on fire). If someone wants to see how rain-drops can set a young woman on fire the there is no better song. When this song was released sometime in the 90s, I felt embarrassed to watch it in front of elders and still do because the message about 'setting the body on fire' is a bit too overt.

As for my preferred songs, it's got to be Rain by Uriah Heep or Rimjhimrimjhimform the Hindi film, 1942 - Love Story. A rainy afternoon is heaven sent for poets! Nature becomes their muse as they allow the creative impulses to flow.

If you are a movie buff then such days are also made to go on a marathon film ride. Interestingly, there is a film called Hard Rain about a heist during torrential rain induced flooding of an American town. Thrilling to the end, this movie actually makes you feel wet in the end (pun intended).

Lastly, those who like to make the late rainy afternoon a little more snazzy eagerly choose their poison of choice. A single malt or perhaps a stiff cognac to aid the feeling of relaxation. Well, for me, a cup of Earl Grey with honey suits quite well.with Kishore Kumar's Rim Jhim Gire Sawan in the background.
Pradosh Mitra is a former development worker and a social observer

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