The Remastered Legacy of Parikrama‘s But It Rained: Score Indie Classics – Score Short Reads
It can be arguably accepted that Parikrama was one of the progenitors of Indian rock, shaping not just the genre but the nature of Indian English-language independent music as a whole.
The band has been performing continuously since 1991, and to date, Parikrama hasn’t fallen prey to any commercialised distribution schemes. The outfit that originated from Delhi, stills uploads its music (mostly recorded during live performances) as MP3 files on their website that are free to stream and download.
While many of its rock peers might have chosen the path of retirement or mainstream success, Parikrama has stood its ground and continued performing iconic tracks and evoking nostalgia among yesteryear Indian rock n’ roll aficionados.
One such track was But It Rained. Accompanied by a heart-touching music video, But It Rained was released in 1996 as a response to the kidnappings of four foreign tourists in the Kashmir Valley.
The lyrics attempted to understand the trauma that the missing person’s loved ones would go through while accepting the dark reality. Over the years, the universal lyrics by vocalist Nitin Malik stay relevant, considering the forced disappearances of even local civilians in Kashmir.
As the band puts it in a collective statement on Parikrama’s official website, ‘We wrote this song then, in an effort to feel the uncertainty, the futility, ourselves. To share the yet shimmering hope of those who are left waiting for a loved one. At times forever. It’s worse still, not having even said a goodbye, or caught the last eye. As funerals are. Ceremonial farewells, perhaps?’
‘Well does life get any better? More yesterdays than todays. How I thought the sun would shine tomorrow. But it rained’. The hook takes a rather cynical view of life, delving into the fact that sometimes, our days wouldn’t go as bright as we would expect. On some days, the sun wouldn’t shine, and a gloomy rain is what we would have to settle with.
The aforementioned music video was shot against a gorgeous yet mellow backdrop of Spiti Valley at Himachal Pradesh. In fact the video was shot way after the song’s release, in 2001 to mark Parikrama’s 10-year-anniversary since its inception.
Noted ad-film maker Dhiraj Bannerjee handled the overall direction while Bollywood actor Sushant Singh (who was then just starting out in his career) also made an appearance.
While the ensemble’s musical melancholy is evident, the late guitarist Sonam Sherpa’s soloing was cut short back in the day to adjust to National TV broadcast timings.
However, fans got a better glimpse at Sherpa’s skills when a remastered cut of the song was released last year. Titled, But It Rained (For Sonam), this version retains memorable portions like Sharat Chandra Srivastava’s violin interlude while adding up on Sherpa’s guitars.
This version was released as a tribute to the guitarist following his untimely demise last year due to a cardiac arrest. In this way, But It Rained acquired a new meaning over these decades serving as a fitting ode to the legacy of a cult personality in the pantheon of Indian independent rockers. Like most of their music, But It Rained is free to download in both its audio and video formats.
This June, the band would turn 30, and their legacy still carries on through their organic, unconventional approach to music. As for Sonam Sherpa, his legacy lives on.