Thursday, August 07, 2008

There are many winds

There are all kinds of winds, some sweet and harsh, winds of change, of unchange, those that take us to places we had not dreamed of in our previous manifestations, if we had previous existence. And some winds, they just begin blowing when you least expect them to, pulling the very fabric that one is made of from oneself, such torture, what misery. But for all their inconstant nature, certain people, those who have suffered and seen, those who have seen vast empires and vain fantasies crumble and vanish, some of these people have given their winds an identity, names, with which they blow, for which they blow.

Winds they say have changed the surface of the earth many times, a phenomenon described as aeolian. Winds have influenced the mind as much as its surface, and like the moon have been celebrated and mythologized, for what are we without myth and story?
There are some names that are extremely poetic like the Simoom or Simoon, a wind that blows across the Middle East and has been doing so for ages. You must prostate yourself when it blows or it will suffocate you with its poison, its unsparing heat is quite deadly. It is red, it rains red blood and blows as far as the south of England though I have never seen rain red there. Herodotus wrote of it, and even for its metaphorical colour, this wind has enough death. Or there is the Khamsin, from Egypt into Israel and nearby and blows away for fifty days they say.

Have you heard of the Ghibli, hot and dry across Libya, elsewhere called Sirocco? It moans harshly when it blows and it weaves itself onto the casual unprepared sufferer, at once hot and harsh. The Harmattan, across African west makes men go crazy, a kind of brain fog sets in, a kind of psychosis, and after it releases you, it makes up for what it has taken, a thing that might also be one's sanity. It is much like running amok or the fever that grips people in the arctic because of extreme cold. Some people take off their clothes and run naked, for something is after them. These are dark matters. Who hasn't heard of the Mausim or Monsoon, a wind that has an entire season named after it, a season that is so welcome in Northern and Central India. It has been known to flower love and romance and generally a romantic wet period.

And then there is the Haboob, sounds like habib ( lover in Arabic) which is short and intense. I have heard from a Sudanese that it sets in so quickly everything turns black. You end up like a hostage, transfixed and frozen, waiting sometimes for Gabriel's trumpet or some evil to claim you, take you on its wing. Kaali aandhi or black wind sounds similar, only it blows somewhere in India where it later brings on rain. Then there is the Aejej in Morocco which is a whirlwind in the desert and the Tebbad in Turkestan that gives you fever. Winds are such mysterious beings. Take the barber for instance, it freezes when it touches your hair or beard. The Bora is fierce and blows in eastern Europe and there is the Austru in Romania and the Chubasco and the Cordanazo in South America. The Greeks called their gentle wind Zephyros and you have the dust devil, the favonius, the elephanta and the foehn.

The wind called maria does not exist but the wind called mistral does. The Gods have gifted winds to nations like the kamikaze to Japan or the Protestant wind that saved England. There are easterly and westerly winds, winds on mountains and on oceans and there is the Ode to the west wind too. Don't go out, we say, it is too windy and he went out, we are told because it was too windy. Each temperament has its own wind and each person blows either either hot or cold depending upon circumstances and the surrounding wind speed. Some winds carry messages from one lover to another and some are known to reunite people. Some harsh winds force people to migrate and live alone and some winds light and extinguish memories, depending on your mood.

The loveforsaken is waiting for a message and we pray the bearer of glad tidings is not stalled by the Aejej or suffocated by the Simoon. We would like the parted to meet under a cold and benign moon, trace the external elements of this earth with the collective effusions of their hearts, to trace their names on sand, to link together what will eventually separate, to create for the space of a moment the aura of infallibility, to give to words of love the subtlety of power and the warmth of bodies. We hope that the gentle wind Rabi will carry them home.


Roxana said...

I have always been fascinated with wind names. not cloud names, strange. I liked this post a lot.

Kubla Khan said...

Thanks.I decided to write this post after someone reminded me of the "Wind Scene" in the english patient and i thought why not?

clouds are more surreal and sneaky, winds are much nearer.

Alok said...

Did you do any research or you knew all these names already? :)

I used to hate the hot and dry westerly wind in summer (also called "loo") but i miss it now. Also the first monsoon wave..

Kubla Khan said...

Oh, no....i knew a few and read up on some.i have seen a clip on the Haboob, a wind somehow exclusive to khartoum. it is like the day of judgement.

there are other winds that are un-named.

Ranee @ Arabian Knits said...

I have been searching for a pronunciation of aejej, could you approximate it for me? Thank you!

Ranee @ Arabian Knits said...

Oh, and does rabi come from Arabic? Does it mean what I think it means? Lord/teacher?