Word Count: 1305
Time to read: 5 min 13 sec
India has only three seasons – Hot Summer, Rainy Monsoon and Cold Winter. Summer begins from Feb to May, Monsoon from June to September and Winter from October to Jan or Feb. This post is about the monsoon, as you must have figured from the title.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when it rains? It was a Saturday when it rained. The thoughts came to me like raindrops – a welcome change from the harsh heat of the summer wind. The rains are a much-needed change from the dust and dirt that permeates the air. The evening summer breeze isn’t good enough. The summer, at times, can get maddening.
I live on the first floor of a 3-storey building. It is a society comprising of around 13 buildings – an old colony standing tall since the 80s. My house is roadside facing and the constant blaring of the horns, traffic and pollution disturbs my peace. I yearn for some silence, open spaces and a considerable distance from the traffic that leads to the main road. I digress.
My point being, when it is dry and polluting in summer, the monsoons lower the particulates and pollution drastically. It brings a calm and soothing environment. Most importantly, it lowers the temperature – a much-needed reprieve from the maddening heat and of course, reduced electricity bills!
The monsoon also demands to have different snacks. The fried variety makes sense. People may have preferences over other food. I am not sure if it is tradition, but people tend to have chaat the most. Among the fried snacks – pakodas, vada pavs and bhajis come to my mind. There numerous other snacks what people have during this time of the season, unfortunately not all name come to my mind.
Imagine having snacks over a cup of hot tea or coffee. It rains heavily, and you are sipping on the tea enjoying the pleasant rains.
Some crazy people like me like to ride our bikes in the rain without any rainy wear – it is fun to feel the rain on your face. It is like being one with nature – the rain on your face, the wind in your hair, your rain-soaked clothes and the water dripping down from you.
If you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, then getting soaked together adds to the romanticism. Some consider the monsoon to be the most romantic of all the seasons in the country. There are many songs sung and danced in the rains.
Kids would run out with umbrellas to enjoy the rains other than getting soaked.
One of the most memorable Hindi films songs that come to my mind is the one sung by Guru Dutt, which goes something like – “Barsha rani, zara jamke barso, mera dilbar ja na paye…” Sung by Mukesh from the movie Sabak (1973). If you’re an Indian, then this song will relate to you.
Here’s the link – https://youtu.be/tLwmoqp4qNo. I could not find the digitally remastered version. The song is amazing.
Words alone do not do justice to the feeling, the experience and the cool breeze that awaits you. In other words, you must try it. Be careful though, don’t spend too much time unprotected in the rain. A few minutes should suffice lest you fall ill.
No road led to the other side of the city back in the days. An abandoned factory, peace and serenity existed. I remember those days very well. The sides of the road would often grow with wild plants. Silk Cotton or Bombax plants was a particular favourite in this area. They grew every monsoon with the onset of winter will die out.
The monsoon also brought lots of snails. As kids, we would play with them. After playing, we would let them go back into the wild. That was the first time I had seen them – they are lovely creatures!
The surrounding place where the wild plants grew was muddy, crabs would often run around in the place, they would not come on roads but would run around in the mud. They were black crabs as far as I remember.
Some of us would even play Football (Soccer) in the rains. In the process, our clothes and boots get muddied and soaked. No other sport comes close when it comes to enjoying both – the game and the rains!
But monsoon is not just about childhood memories. I take this season as a transition from summer to the rains as something you welcome with open arms.
I remember one scene from the movie The Equalizer, when Denzel Washington says, “When you pray for the rain, you have to deal with the mud, too!” He is right.
When it rains, it brings with it all other uninvited guests in the forms of illnesses, muddy clothes and traffic snarls. The unpredictable rains compel you to go out all decked up. For instance, bikers have to contend with wearing raincoats and rain cheaters when they travel.
When it does rain, bikers who are already wearing it are saved. No worries if buttoned up, if not, then park your bike at the side and button-up. Worst for those who don’t like to wear it all the time when travelling. The best reason is when it does not rain and you are wearing the rain cheater, you get sweaty and stinky inside. Your rain cheater would stink too!
The stench is the least of your problems. If your rain cheater is soaked and you are at work, you won’t find any place to dry it. You have no choice but to fold it as is and keep it in your bag. When it rains again on your way back home, removing your soaked rain cheater will unfurl the smell! Luckily, your re-drenching will cause the stench to dissipate.
The scenery has changed. Development has taken root and I miss the early morning sun from my windows. Another colony has come up bang opposite to my home which masks the sunrays. God! Do I miss those days!
Wild plants, shrubs and wild grasses no longer grow along the stretch of the familiar road. Snails visit often, but now that I am all grown up, I do not pet them anymore. The only pets I have are fishes.
I take my bike rides from time to time. I miss biking in the rains, though. When you have a family to support, you have little to no choice but to also watch your health along with theirs.
My taste for food hasn’t changed and may not in the future. The smell of the rain-soaked mud, lowering of the temperature and the cool-calm breeze. The innumerable other things I wish to mention but for now, I will let go of this.
Rains have increased and the administration lackadaisical attitude isn’t helping anyone. The low-lying areas still get flooded, the railway tracks still get flooded putting a stop running of trains, traffic snarls get agonising and worst still the lack of subservience to the traffic rules further adds to the problem.
The rains have got worst over the years. Is global warming to blame? I don’t know. I care for the environment and do my bit. I won’t get into detail here.
It is like every year- winter gives way to summer at the start of the year, followed by the rains and then it is winter again. It gets colder, rainier and hotter by the passing year.
Whenever it rains, it reminds me of the nursery rhyme which goes like ‘ Rain Rain, go away, come again another day…” I am sure it does to you too. Until next year, I will make another monsoon post.