After the arrival of monsoon (one of the world’s most unique and complex meteorological phenomenon) at the shores of Kerala; the next landmark moment for the clouds truly, at least culturally, is the tryst with Mumbai. The natural topography of the island city, as well as the urban matrix of the city lends itself to creating a rich monsoon culture unparalleled elsewhere in the country. Festive, bountiful; invigorating (and providing relief from sultry climate-changed summers circa 2022); and yet troublesome, unwieldy, destructive and fierce; the monsoon creates a rich narrative in the maximum city. The love-hate relationship the city shares with India’s grandest season is now already stuff of lore.
In its 17th edition, having traveled over the path of the clouds, in Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai; the festival re-appears in the city after 2006. Hence, in an attempt to reestablish its romance in Mumbai, this year the festival foregrounds varied Mumbai awakenings of the season.
What does the monsoon mean to Mumbaikars? Does the first sighting of the clouds entice the same joy here as it would in pastoral India? Can Mumbai Monsoon live upto the grand cultural edifice that the season creates in the North? Or it doesn’t need to, creating a rich unparalleled Monsoon gestalt of its own?
The festival uncovers some of Mumbai’s un-documented but lived aspects of the Monsoon experience. Our art exhibition attempts to create this meta-narrative of Bombay loving and hating the rain; and the little nuances of Monsoon culture attendant therein. It attempts to create a map of monsoon experience in Mumbai; attempting to visually theorise varied elements thereof; possibly for the first time in this expansive way.