Happy Monsoon

This is a monsoon-soaked month in the Mumbai of July.

A fine rain is falling outside. Drab city become green; roads glisten; breeze is cool and invigorating; spray caress your skin, leaving bubbles; a soft music is produced by the slanting fingers of the dusky goddess that descends from the heavens on a parched land and leaves it wet and fulfilled, post its fast trail across the plain or the meadow or a shrunk lake, now swollen. Of the four seasons, monsoon is most celebrated for its transformative power. Rural folks enjoy the four-month season by welcoming songs and women in garlands sway from the swings placed on the trees in gardens or farms to express the collective and individual joy for the nectar from the blue vault---a folk practice enshrined forever in the earlier Indian cinema and arts, most beautifully, a kind of tribute to nature by creative imaginations in different media. Now, a memory only, due to rapid urbanization of the nation.

In Pittsburgh, it is right now cloudy. Showers and rain expected there as per the forecast.

Setu acts as a bridge to both the happening cities of the two most vibrant democracies facing their own sets of problems in a most resilient way through political action and mobilization of public opinion, crucial for any functional state and its value-system that has prevailed for so long as a framing device. Arts play a major role in shaping up the public view about things domestic or global. They also register the response of an alert artist to changing realities and values, politics and governance, and, thus alter the consciousness of the recipient for the better.

This issue is as usual packed with such a stimulating stuff.

For a first of sort, there is Kreol poetry of Cyril Luximan ably translated by the multi-lingual and talented Mauritian poet Vatsala Radhakeesoon. It captures the mood and landscapes inner and outer of the language, place and people in an exquisite manner. Iconic Hindi poet Kedar Nath Singh is competently rendered into English by Ekta Hela and the senior poet startles with his unique poetic sensibilities that had earned him a well-deserved top niche in the Sahitya of Indian languages. Turkish poet Hilal Karahan is featured as the author of the month for her singular achievements as a creative, although her profession is medicine.

Other notable value- additions this time are two excellent photo- features: Pictorial recordings of the holy shrine of Amarnath and the enchanting Costa Rica--- journeys so different in temper, yet similar in objective---a search for some spiritual truth by a seeker, be it a sacred place or brooding nature. Amarnath Yatra was attacked by the terrorists this time but the pilgrim Uday Padhey, like others of his tribe, were not affected or intimidated by the merchants of death that had staged  a dastardly attack on a small bus- party from another part of the country, resulting in tragedies but despite the attack and fatalities caused by mindless terror in a divided world, the ordinary men and women as committed  pilgrims, numbering in thousands, continued to march ahead for an uplifting darshan of the lingam of the Lord Shiva. Faith triumphing over manufactured violence and mayhem. It catches some of the great moments of this famous travel to an ancient site of Hinduism, full of perils, as Paul Coelho would have us believe.

Second photo feature to Costa Rica is by a famous photographer Sanjay Hirsakar who is the third Indian to do so in that exotic place, as per his claim. The stunning photographs confirm Sanjay’s impeccable credentials and deep passion for capturing wildlife and nature on lens for posterity and global consumers of this demanding genre. Here, the Thane-based real estate developer emerges more of a true painter than a die-hard shutterbug. It is a sheer visual delight!

You would love these pictures that will teleport you to these fabled locations.
Then there is more exciting fare in there: Selwyn Rodda, an exceptional artist and Roxana Nastase, unraveling worlds, private and public, in their distinguished works.
Go… and discover the magic of the varied media on display this July for you, our discerning patron and friend, looking for some rich stuff.

Enter the portals and keep on enjoying these travels---verbal; spatial; visual; mental; spiritual.

Sunil Sharma
Setu, English
Mumbai Metro Region

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