I love rains and music. I am one of those sappy souls whose heart swells every time I hear raindrops, and who truly basks in the earthy smell of rain. So, it’s no surprise, that songs celebrating monsoons are some of my all-time favourite tracks.
But from all the songs dedicated to rain–and Bollywood sure has a lot of them–Shubha Mudgal’s Ab Ke Saawan, for me, best captures the joy of monsoons.
Released in 1999, I first heard the track on TV, while lazying around in my bed, reading yet another Secret Seven novel. There are few things that can distract me when reading. This song, as I would discover, was one of those things.
The song started with Shubha Mudgal humming an aalap, and the video started with a scene that appeared to have been lifted straight out of any colony in India.
However, slowly, piano tunes, and ‘rock music beats’ started playing until suddenly, the song started with Shubha Mudgal’s powerful vocals. And I was hooked.
With a big grin on my face, I immediately started headbanging to the song because it was such a happy tune.
Slowly, as the people in the video turned even more boisterous, with the whole group coming together to enjoy the rains, I could feel my heart truly sing in happiness.
It reminded me of gleefully eating mangoes in the rain, dancing with my sister, and begging mom to let us stay out for just one more minute. Because, at that age, there was nothing better than getting drenched in rains.
Originally, it was the tune that got me grooving. It felt like composer Shantanu Moitra had, somehow, found the perfect chords that translated the jubilation of rains into music.
It was one of the first times that I understood the power of music to evoke emotions. But as I grew older, it was the lyrics that spoke to me.
One of Prasoon Joshi’s earlier works, the lyrics actually personified rains, turning them into a force that brought alive the excitement of first love and talked of rekindling passion.
*Also, please notice the complete lack of vulgarity when talking of love and passion.*
There is no dearth of Hindi songs that romanticize rains, but Ab Ke Saawan was different.
It wasn’t a soft melody like most songs, it was exuberant and full of life. It did not talk of lost loves and heartbreaks, but passion, excitement, and exhilaration.
It celebrated the fact that monsoons bring out the kid in us. And reminded us that sometimes, it’s okay to let rains brush away the despair, mediocrity, and stillness of life, to let new things bloom.
At a time like this, when life seems to have become still, Ab Ke Saawan can still get me grinning the same wide smile I first sported as a kid, who listened to the song, heard the rainfall, and started jumping in joy. Sometimes, that’s all you need in life!