A liquefied slice of heaven fell on a rose petal one day
It toggled, turned, danced and swayed
As it moved, it shone different shades of red and purple hue
The shades changed as it made its way gliding down the velvety rue
Then another drop of diamond fell gently on the red carpet as it exuded sweet perfume
That one too made its way to the red softness of the seasonal bloom
A third crystal joined them as they moved in tandem
And soon they were joined by many more drops from heaven
The red earth was soon drenched by a myriad, twinkling and shining sprites
They tapped and danced to a sonata composed of water and light


(Welcome magic which cannot be described, which has no name! In common parlance we call it rain.)

The Context:

Rain plays a critical role in the Indian context, and in the case of many other developing nations where rainfed agriculture is the main source of employment and food creation. In sub-Saharan Africa more than 95% of the farmed land is rainfed, while the corresponding figure for Latin America is almost 90%, for South Asia about 60%, for East Asia 65% and 75% for North Africa (FAOSTAT, 2005).

Despite major strides in the science and technology front, a lot of people in these nations (especially in Africa and Asia) still depend upon rainfed agriculture for their survival. Rain also nourishes precious flora and fauna and is a life giver in ensuring that some of the remotest corners of the earth (which are inaccessible to modern engineering and water harvesting technologies) are infused with the elixir that sustains the entire ecosystem.

Due importance has been given to this phenomenon in the Indian traditions and customs: There are festivals and celebrations that fall during and soon after the monsoon season is concluded. For example, Naga Panchami is a day when the snake is worshipped and devotees visit Shiva temples and offer milk as a sign of respect. Adiperukku (also written as Aadiperukku) is a Tamil festival celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Adi (mid-July to mid-August). The festival pays tribute to water's life-sustaining properties and involves seeking blessings of peace, prosperity and happiness.

Indian classical ragas called "Megh" and "Megh Malhar" are associated with the monsoon season and as per history were used to invoke the rain gods (see below). Cherrapunji is a town in the North Eastern state of Meghalaya (India) and is credited as being the second wettest place on Earth! However, population explosion, abuse and indiscriminate usage of natural resources, and weak environment protection and enforcement laws (particularly) in developing nations are having a negative impact and threatening this natural phenomenon.

We may utilize the gifts or nature just as we choose, but in her books the debits are always equal to the credits.

—Mahatma Gandhi

[PHOTO CREDIT: John Morgan (CC).]

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Tags: agriculture, culture, development, environment, literature, nature


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