اور بارشوں کے دن ہیں ۔ ۔ ۔ طلعت افروز کی نظم And these are days of rain . . . poem by Talat Afroze

And these are days of rain . . .
by Talat Afroze

And these are days of rain . . .
Raindrops of memories
Pelting down upon me
This pitter-patter of droplets
Arouses . . .
An ancient, sombre tune . . .
Which pulsates within me . . .

On the brick floor
Of that street from long ago
Children jump up and down in the rain
Splish-splash . . . splish-splash they go!
The rooftops and “rain rooms”
Of red brick houses
Get drenched . . . on and on . . . in the falling rain
For days and days . . .

Raindrops falling ceaselessly
On rooftops and eaves jutting above windows
Set off a song of dark, deep notes
The pigeons huddled on the window eaves
Listen quietly to it . . .

Rain soaked rooftops
Enveloped in a grey shawl
Stretching away on all sides
Lost in a trance . . .

And the city I was separated from
Dissolves away
In a mist of clouds
What hope still compels my heart
To go on shedding tears like this . . .

And these are days of rain . . .

Notes:
In Western countries, rain is associated with sadness and is considered to be a cause of ruined picnics. However, growing up in the central plains of Punjab, Pakistan, the Monsoon Rains (July-August) were always associated with joy, with picnics (!!), putting up swings under Mango trees in the parks and a feeling of love and romance being in the air . . .

I grew up in Lahore which is a dry weather city most of the year . . . 40 inches of rainfall per year for Lahore all crowded into the July-August Monsoon Rainy season compared to 450 inches per year in Cherrapunji, India . . . so the Monsoon Rains were always a happy time for us boys . . . we would run up to our rooftop in our shorts alone and revel in the rain pelting down on our bodies . . .

Gradually though, as I grew up, the long Monsoon Rains which continued for 2 to 3 days non-stop at a time through July and August every year came to be associated with a feeling of sadness and indescribable nostalgia . . . this mood swing was very subtle and came with adolescence and has stayed ever since . . .

Pakistani houses in the Punjab have a flat slab of concrete jutting above each window to protect the window and the room from rainwater . . . one can call it a window eave . . . chajjaa is the Urdu word for these window eaves. Pigeons often huddle on these window eaves at all times of the day.

Pakistani houses in the Punjab have a small room on the rooftop which is meant as an attic for storing quilts, winter clothing, old books, old letters, photo albums etc. Such a rooftop room is called a Rain Room presumably because one can store things away from the rain in it . . . the room protects things from rain damage . . . the Urdu word is Barsaatee . . . Barsaat means Rain.

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