Friday 18 August 2017 News Updated at 03:08 AM IST
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When the rain gods danced... - Deccan Herald
When the rain gods danced...
Chitra Iyer,
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Gutsy winds and dark clouds started hovering ominously as we planned an evening out. A musical evening of bhakti sangeet awaited us at an expansive park in the capital. It was an open air concert, so we kept our fingers crossed, lest the rain played spoilsport.

It rained lightly even as we were on our way to the venue. The park looked freshly bathed after the sudden showers and was buzzing with activity as the winged denizens of the park, too, were taken by surprise by the sudden change in weather.

The artiste who opened that evening started with a Krishna bhajan, and somewhere in between, mischievously invoked Indra, the lord of the rains. The audience let out a nervous laughter. But the rain gods probably heard it and it began pouring heavily.

The programme was stopped abruptly as everybody ran helter-skelter looking for cover. "Krishna will have to lift Mount Govardhan to save this evening from a washout," somebody in the audience remarked philosophically.

A short spell of rain later, the stoic listeners assembled again to continue from where they had left off. The songs in His praise continued and egged on by the singer, the audience, that seemed shaken and stirred by the downpour, joined the chorus, perhaps praying for no more rains that night.

The gods listened and the proceedings were limited to a light drizzle throughout the rest of the evening. Bulle Shah's verses came alive in the rustic voice of the folk singer from Punjab who performed next amidst occasional thunder and lightning. The skies darkened again.

"Oh rains go away, but if you do come, pour hard so that my beloved is not able to depart," pleaded the singer in true Sufi tradition. It set the tenor for the evening and the audience became his compliant beloved and did not budge till the very end.

The wet weather turned the event into a rather casual affair with people ordering tea and children munching snacks - an act that would have been considered blasphemous in a more conventional setting. A formal set of conditions and such informality would have been frowned upon by any classical artiste, even as I recall a very senior vocalist shouting at an audience member for such insolent behaviour a few summers ago.

But the performers that night seemed to appreciate the audience that stayed put, braving the turbulent weather. It was heartening to see even tiny tots as young as a year-and-a-half who could barely speak properly, lending their ears to the music in between their antics. A good way to initiate them into good music, perhaps. "Apne toh is park ko Brindavan banadiya," an artiste lauded in appreciation. It truly was a divine experience.