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Illustrations and poems go on blind dates in DF’s Monsoon Editorial

Cover Story 05 Jul

Using the monsoons as a muse, Design Fabric invited five poets and artists to create original work, which were then paired to give our readers five unique multi-medium experiences.

The monsoons have arrived and cast a spell on people, as it always does. The change in season has also brought in a whole new wave of inspiration to artists and writers across South Asia.

At Design Fabric, we decided to bring out the poetry of the rains and the images associated with it in the form of a unique collaboration. Five artists and poets were given the prompt to “capture the essence of the monsoon” in their respective mediums. Once all the creatives were in, we paired the poems and illustrations to create meaningful combinations that happened to complement each other rather perfectly.

Grab a cup of tea, sit by the window as it rains outside and watch the world of poetry and art come together.

  • Priya Kuriyan Final

Priya Kuriyan

The Rain, A Shadow by Siddhartha Menon

The rain is doing its best.
It tries being soft, then hard
then soft again, its implements
are fine and blunt, sweeping and precise.
You couldn’t ask for more,
you thrill to this getting done of something.
But when it steps back
and light floods the scene
the grit is obvious, and the stubborn
stains that will not wash to the sea.
The land slopes down from here,
above the canopy the waves are breaking
distantly. A shadow steals on mosque and lighthouse
the rain is on its knees.

  • Sarah Kaushik1

Sarah Kaushik/The BigEyed Collagist

It rains in song by Megan Dhakshini

It rains in song;
Thaka dhimi thaka dhimi tha,
Like an unwelcome echo
of the beat, my heart
does not have
does not brave
does not want.
Thaka dhimi thaka dhimi tha,
Pounding out water
from the burning corners of

                                   these eyes
                                   these breasts
                                   these thighs.

Thaka dhimi thaka dhimi tha,
Mocking and loud
like my drumming conscience

                                   first a hush
                                   then a roar
                                   then a pound.

Thaka dhimi thaka dhimi tha.
Thaka dhimi thaka dhimi tha.

  • Vishnu Paperboats

Vishnu M Nair

Where I Come From: A Ghazal by Shikha Malaviya

Day eases yellow like a cracked egg where I come from
Night wraps itself like an old pashmina shawl where I come from

As hummingbirds siphon sweet red from a hibiscus
A bulbul's head droops between her wings where I come from

A ceiling fan furiously cleaves air thick with monsoon mist
As you sip skulls of tender coconut where I come from

A crow sits on a cow's back in the middle of the street
What isn't possible in this land where I come from

8000 miles away in the land of Caliphs a warm breeze blows
My summer tongue craves Sindura mangoes from where I come from

A steel meghdhoot stands fueled up on the tarmac, pointing East
What stops you this time, Shikha, from going back to where you come from

  • Danica Da Silva Pereira

Danica Da Silva Pereira

The World Will Come Down Hard On Us by Annie Zaidi

The street will shimmer like a golden mirror.
Golden lamp-posts will twist their necks about like idling peacocks.
This tall suburb will lean forward to look into a puddle and find the mascara of monsoon running down her cheek.
Home stacked on top of home, each home shining.
In overflowing gutters, they will be as a thousand paper boats set alight.
I will feel sordid sometimes.

Why can our home not be on this preening street?
Why do our nights not lean out of a balcony, serenaded by a wet-lipped sky?
Why does my head swim when I see our home is into a mirage?

I will want to ask – My love!
What is the point of a home that cannot hope to remain?
Our room bleached of all vanity and ruse – must it only hope for yellow-toothed cranes, boys in turquoise T-shirts grinning as they cleave the city in two?
Is home only a storehouse for the smashed?

But lying in bed, this is what I will say –
Listen to the rain, my love.
It was made for a roof of asbestos.
It was made for fury, a nod to dry eyes.
An ode to those who are still afloat
and ablaze, like paper boats on fire.

  • Monsoon Praveen Yarramilli For Jerry Pinto V2 1

Praveen Yarramilli

We have no words for rain by Jerry Pinto

What is the word for remembered rain?
For rain remembered as old-blood stain?

What is the word for the sound of rain?
The tickettytack on the window pane?

The thoock-thapack on the coffin lid?
What is the word for the sound of rain?

What is the name of the rain you want to forget?
Rain, cold, rain bleak, rain without, rain within.

What is the rain that still hides between your thighs?
What is the name of cliché-clot rain?

Yes, you did.
Yes, you welcomed the rain.
Yes, you walked hand-in-hand
Yes, you laughed and drank raindrops
                                          (and said something silly like,
                                          “This tastes like water”
                                          and your lover drank it from
                                          your mouth and said, “It tastes
                                          like you” and you laughed and said
                                          “I taste like rain.)
Yes, you did.

What is the word for the feeling you had
When you were waist-deep in the sea
And it began to rain, a hymn to grey

                                          Old men called from the beach
                                          Old women told their beads
And you? You said, “Yes, pray for me.
This grey is me. And so is the sea
And the raindrop is me
And this might explain
Why I no longer see
Where the horizon is: that line
Between sky and sea
Between eye and me
Yes, pray for me.
Yes, maybe even,
Pray to me.”

What does moss call rain?
What does beach call rain?
What does Homeless call rain?
What does desert call rain?
What does paper call rain?
What does rain call rain?

We need more words for rain.