Friday, June 01, 2007

Rain Rain Go Away

Perhaps you’ve heard of a place called Cherrapunjee. It used to be in the record books for being the ‘wettest place on earth’. It gets about 450 inches of rain a year. It’s 56 km from Shillong, where I grew up. Don’t give me all that stuff and nonsense about the joys of rain.
Rain is a wonderful thing to sing songs about and for when you’re a marginal farmer somewhere in the vast, dry backsides of beyond that make up our great country. I can imagine those poor unwashed sods singing “kaali megha” and doing Amir Khan-style rain dances. Just don’t expect those of us who come from the wet backsides of beyond to have similar sentiments.
In my part of the country – the Northeast – we get enough rain to flood much of Assam and a good part of Bangladesh every year. Luckily for us, there are a lot of hills out there. So the water runs down the hills – to Bangladesh. It’s terrible, what happens there every year. The scenes are like something out of Mumbai on 26/7. The trouble is, the awful situation lasts for many more days.
Bihar doesn’t fare much better. Every year, the floods kill a hundred or two there as well, and render some millions homeless. The situation always inspires ministers to hop into their helicopters and go sight-seeing.
None of this makes it to Bollywood movies. Since we Indians learn our responses to situations from Bollywood, the absence of an appropriate song-and-dance for the times when floods drown people leaves millions huddled, wet and miserable, and without a ready-made song on their lips.

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