Latika Khosla - June 18th, 2020

Monsoon Musings


Our Founder and Design Director Latika Khosla turns to literature and liquid sunshine for some inspiration.

The monsoons, a wet grey time, are such a relief and hold a special meaning for us Indians. The rain is rendered in music, art, food and emotions. We must be the only nation that romanticizes the season. More so in the first week of its onslaught. 

I love the monsoons. The dramatic clouds building up, ominous and grey. The tall buildings catching a flash of light and shining pallidly in a brave sliver of sun. Most of all, I love the effloresce of green. Even before the first drops of rain fall, the vivid transparent green of plant life is pregnant with the promise of new life. 

The dramatic clouds building up, ominous and grey. The tall buildings catching a flash of light and shining pallidly in a brave sliver of sun. 

 Reminiscing my first time ever on the Western Ghats in the anticipation of rains. I had left Mumbai on the first day of the monsoon to drive down one connecting bridge into knee deep water that slurried into the car. And then to get stuck atop another flyover for two hours! Determinedly, I continued onto the highway to catch the first rains enroute Khandala. 

The low-lying hills at my final destination gave themselves up to the majesty of the monsoon. Clouds floated in through my window; scarlet gulmohar was shamed into a less raucous red; earth churned a muddy chocolate, smelling good enough to eat; every leaf glistened wetly; while the earth mirrored the sky above. If the monsoon is about curling up with a good book, let's take a page out of the same and have prose be the inspiration for a palette! 

“Slanting silver ropes slammed into loose earth, ploughing it up like gunfire.”

- The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy


I see in my mind’s eye, the glint of grey gunmetal when I remember this. The image is all quick, silvery smooth action. At least when we start the season, the monsoons are a welcome relief from the searing sun. Take a cue from the slickness; a wet look in paint and surface finishes is luxurious. Glossy coatings on furniture, gilded artefacts and chandeliers which rain shards of light have become focal points in home decor. These glistening, highlight pieces can be used to punctuate the textural warmth, which furniture and textiles provide indoors.

The clouds in the tradition of Indian miniature or Tibetan thangka paintings are beautiful art pieces in themselves. Rain and water is also about reflection and mirror images. A quiet internal reflection, a moment of contemplation. It is mesmerizing to stare into ponds and see the mirrored image of a landscape, extending it in more than one dimension. When the sun shines through clouds, light reflects off pools of water, filling the atmosphere with unexpected passing reflections. 

Image Courtesy: Shubham Kavatkar

“The garden a few feet away is suddenly under the fist of a downpour... I get up, walk to the night, and breathe it in... the dust, the tactile smell of wetness, oxygen now being pounded into the ground so it is difficult to breathe.” 

- Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje


Monsoon is an operatic theatre. It not only is a visual sensation but assaults the auditory and relentlessly infuses our senses with fragrance. A monsoon home is filled with welcoming smells and sounds. The aroma of brewed coffee; a whiff of black earth outside; the susurration of mossy leaves; the gentle hiss of indigo rain; the deafening cobalt thunder and drama of slashing blue lightning. 

It is now time to fill our home with this sound and light show. Moving out of neutral gear, harbor the full-blown flurry of the season indoors too. The sound of the rain, how can anyone capture it? Vessels and vases have always been loaded keepers of sound. A strategically placed urli, full of flowers, can capture the soft drumming of rain. Candles add light too in aromatic bouquets that range from spice to the seasonal-telling smell of khus and gil. 

In fluted vases of blown glass, there is an encapsulation of the season. A cerulean clarity, a shadow and smoke of mist, a glossy smoothness of reflection; and above all, the distortion of image, the slick sliding of perspective through thick glass. The transparency of glass adds space, dimension and even a necessary quietude as a counterpoint to the torrent outside.

Image Courtesy: om_sakpal95

In anticipation of the rains this year, I am reminded of these eloquent lines:

“All night the rain has been drumming on the corrugated tin roof. There has been no storm, no thunder, just the steady swish of a tropical downpour. It helps one to lie awake; at the same time, it doesn’t keep one from sleeping... It is a good sound to read by — the rain outside, the quiet within.”

- Rain in the Mountains, Ruskin Bond