What to read as it rains
Monsoon reads - romances, thrillers, sob storiesUpdated: Jun 29, 2019 08:48 IST
The monsoons are India’s most romantic season, in some parts full of sound and fury; in others, a gentle flow. Its appeal for writers have yielded classics, atmospheric thrillers, essays. Our pick:
Train to Pakistan (1956) Khushwant Singh’s Partition novel begins with the monsoon, the fact that it is late. “People began to say that God was punishing them for their sins.” This will soon turn into the monsoon of fear and suffering.
The Blue Umbrella (1980) This Ruskin Bond story traces the village grocer Ram Bharosa’s obsession about little Biniya’s pretty blue umbrella through the seasons – the summer, the winter, and most of all, the monsoon.
Chasing the Monsoon (1991) Britisher Alexander Frater follows the summer monsoon through Cochin, Goa, Mumbai, Kolkata and Cherrapunji, and in the process, discovers himself.
Monsoon Feelings - A History of Emotions in the Rain (2018) Love and longing, hope and fear,
pleasure and pain, excess. A series of evocative essays explores how rain has been expressed in poetry, architecture, music and medicine in South Asia from the 12th century to the present.
Patang (2016) ‘I hate the rain…But the rain can’t stop me. I’ll go out and play tonight. I will kill only four. No more, no less. Just four.’ This is the killer talking in Bhaskar Chattopadhyay’s novel built around the story of murders set in Mumbai’s monsoon.
Dahan (1996) In the melee caused by the sudden rains, a newly married woman is assaulted by a gang of hoodlums, and her husband is beaten up. A crowd gathers around them, but no one comes to help, until a young woman steps up to shame the throng and save the wife. This ’90s incident became something of a cause celebre, was turned into a novel by Suchitra Bhattacharjee, and later, an award-winning film by Rituparno Ghosh.
Raat Bhor Brishti (1970) In this novel by Buddhadev Bose, it is on a rainy night that Maloti, his heroine, and her lover, make love for the first time. Bose’s readers were shocked. Read today, the sex in the novel seems tepid and awkward, though Bose’s portrayal of a dysfunctional marriage is as sharp and relevant as ever.