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Monsoon Musings...

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by twinsmom, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    So…This year Monsoon broke 3 days prior to schedule in Kerala… We were not complaining here in Karnataka. As they say…. Kuthralathula Idi Idichaa…Coimbatorila….ennamo aagumaam( If there is thunder in Kuthraalam…something will happen in coimbatore…I forgot what that something is…Tams please help!) The day it broke in Kerala, <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 /><ST1:CITY><ST1:pLACE>Bangalore</ST1:pLACE></ST1:CITY> also got very heavy showers, bringing down mercury mercifully…Here, Appa kept glancing at the temperature indicator and clicking his tongue disapprovingly commenting that it was scandalous that Bhadravathi was still like furnace! And then, after two more days of scorching heat, the heavens came down in a rush, while we were just finishing off the lunch.
    The twins ran to the terrace the save the clothes…the rest of the family, to close windows at vulnerable places… And then there was the blissful sound of rain lashing against glass, leaves sighing in ecstasy and trees sashaying in welcome. It poured for about 3 hours, like the virago in the ‘Vattara’ throwing a tantrum…Then it went away, leaving the leaves in dripping tears... what we call ' aanandakkanneer....tears of joy! A twin and I lazily watched as a couple of frogs were dancing like Gene Kelly, though they did not yet start singing in the rain! We watched as a wet and bedraggled sparrow fritted out of its shelter, we inhaled that clean heavenly air washed of all the suspended dirt and heat! The Earth seemed to have got a new lease for life. Appa, though relieved that the rains had finally come, was still upset. Bhadravathi is a part of Malanadu, he said. It should have rained first here… In olden days we used to get rains in April which would well continue till August. It is because of deforestation and global warming…
    Of course, I don’t know about the Bhadravathi of his childhood days. It used to called Benkipura, named after the forest fires that was frequent in these parts. Wild animals and non-stop rain used to be the hallmark of the place. But I do remember what it was like 24 years back, when I used to visit as a new bride. It used to rainnnnnnnnn!
    One recurring memory is the smell of eucalyptus in the wet air, thanks to the sentinel trees that lined both the sides of the road near our house. Those gigantic eucalyptus trees were felled a decade back, now… the smell from the public urinal strategically placed (?) at the square, pervades the atmosphere now a days.

    We normally vacation in <ST1:COUNTRY-REGION><ST1:pLACE>India</ST1:pLACE></ST1:COUNTRY-REGION> during the months of July and August, getting a good dose of the Monsoons. We would be literally ‘grounded’ by the rains….but the again, who wants to go out while vacationing? Vacation time is strictly home time….family time…and watching rain drenched shades of green is a favourite pastime after the scorching heat and concrete landscapes of Sharjah.

    Rains become a nuisance after the euphoria of the initial weeks. For many years, Appa used to battle with seepage and resulting wet patches on the ceiling… Our terrace has layers and layers of weatherproofing material pasted on it! Now a days, the annual damage is considerably less… though I secretly feel that it is due to the decrease in the annual rains! Amma will soon start fretting about the damp clothes especially with so many of us vacationing at the same time. She likes everything shipshape and her chores are all fine examples of perfect time management. She hates anything upsetting her routine! But we… we just relax and get rejuvenated in this weather.
    Afternoon showers are the ideal rains…. They bring out the urge to make pakodas or ‘<ST1:CITY><ST1:pLACE>mysore</ST1:pLACE></ST1:CITY> bondas’ with the <ST1:TIME hour="12" minute="0">noon</ST1:TIME> tea. Amma just waits for an excuse to fill people with food… and if anyone commented on the right combination of rainy <ST1:TIME hour="12" minute="0">noon</ST1:TIME> and hot tea and pakodas…she would scurry into the kitchen to prepare it.
    When I glance out of the window as I type this, I can see the Karuveppilai and the guava trees nodding their heads in avuncular manner…I can hear the solitary koyal’s symphony. In a couple of days, schools will reopen, and streams of kids will splash their way to a new academic year…some looking like hunchbacks with oversized raincoats covering them and the haversacks filled with books, some toting umbrellas and some unfortunate ones hugging the plastic covers sheltering their books , enjoying the firsthand experience of walking in the rain. Young girls will hurriedly move sideways to avoid the squirting muddy water from the tyres of vehicles. In Kerala, men would start wearing ‘double deckers’, folding their dhothi to avoid dirtying it.
    One memory of Monsoon showers is the traditional harbinger of rains… The ‘ kodai reapairman’…or the umbrella mender..an extinct species as I hardly see any around.
    The scene is vivid in my memories. We kids would be delegated to be on the look out for the reapirman… and once spotted, he’d be summoned in. he would spreard out his paraphernalia and we kids would squat near him waiting eagerly for his magic. But no… action won’t start immediately. Grandpa or Grandma would bring out the broken umbrellas and he would give them a thorough scrutiny, like a specialist trying to diagnose a serious case. He would ‘Hmmm’ and cluck his tongue and shake his head and give a quotation… Instantly, the umbrellas would be snatched back from his hands and some choice words uttered on his daylight robbery. He would be summarily asked to close the gates after him. He would protest, saying “Saami, the ‘kudirai’ has to be replaced…or patch to be done on the faded and torn black cloth, or ‘kambi’ has to be changed… Negotiations would follow and finally, reluctantly both the parties would agree on the rate for the job to be done! As kids we used to feel for the repairman than our grandparents… turning those tattered ‘rainbeaten’ motheaten umbrellas into pert parasols was no mean task. We’d watch as he deftly, snipped, stitched and fixed all parts...

    Once done, he’d try to bargain again on his wages but rarely would he succeed in getting more than what was agreed upon, prior to mending. He’d leave nodding his head when he’d be told his services would always be sought. Like many other ‘rural ‘artisans even the umbrella repairman has vanished today!

    Talking of umbrellas, today I see a wide and exotic variety of them in the market. They come in bright shades, with designs on them, in very sleek and handy models. When we were kids we used to get two types large ones with a bent handle ( which locals in Kerala would hook behind them on the collar of their shirts) and the medium sized ones generally sported by ladies and kids. I remember refusing to go to college as it was raining cats and dogs and there was no spare umbrella at home. My dad asked me to use his imported one…I refused as it had this bent handle. I’d be ragged by the boys for carrying a gents’ umbrella. The moment he heard the reason, he became adamant. He forced me to swallow my ‘false pride’ and take it to the college. I was so scared of him that I used it till I neared my college, and then I shut it and walked in the rain. When someone asked me why I didn’t use the umbrella, I just shrugged! An adult would not understand the sentiments of the teenager, I had told myself. Two dozen years later, now.. I smile in nostalgia when I recall those days.
    This year it has rained with a vengeance. Places have been flooded... Life and property destroyed... people stranded... yet, people feel somewhere inside that it is better than drought... I don't know... Both seem such extremes... Isn't there a midpoint? Hmmm...Anyway, Monsoon days…days of hot pepper rasam, of ‘kadachakka moLagooshyam’ ( spicy preparation with breadfruit and pepper) of ‘moLaga bajji’, of ginger tea, of old Lata Mangeshkar songs, of games of rummy… Ahhh! As I watch the downpour my heart hums the Gene Kelly number.

    I'm singing in the rain
    Just singing in the rain
    What a glorious feelin'
    I'm happy again
    I'm laughing at clouds
    So dark up above
    The sun's in my heart
    And I'm ready for love
    Let the stormy clouds chase
    Everyone from the place
    Come on with the rain
    I've a smile on my face
    I walk down the lane
    With a happy refrain
    Just singin',
    Singin' in the rain



    That’s what I just did…But I was singing ‘on’ the rain…
     
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  2. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    hi twinsmom,

    You are sitting in sharjah.. and you can afford to have your musings:tongue...right now in chennai it is raining at my place..there is no sun peeping out... I am wondering whether it will be big downpour before i planning to pin my washing upstairs....

    Umbrella's you did not describe about the minnie mouse, mickey mouse handles on them...daughter is very possesive about her pink one.... and son does not like a flower patterned one...he will not touch it with his little finger...says it is a girly thing... munnam seidadathu nyabakam varuthu...:mrgreen:

    These days it is either athivrishti or anavrishti....we have to pay for taking nature for granted right.....
     
  3. kanaka Raghavan

    kanaka Raghavan IL Hall of Fame

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    Nice post Twismom.I simply love the rainy season inspite of its ups and downs..........
     
  4. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Twinsmom,

    Nice dripping post....its been cloudy here too....so maybe will make pakoras, though just had the tea!:wink:
    I heard that its pouring in bangalore......my mom has been whining, since there have been power cuts and long hours of no electricity...of course so no tv and serials.... so each to his own.....some love the rain, ike my daughter who loves to get drenched....and some like me sit and crib at all kinds of weather!:icon_frown:
    Feel homesick now!
     
  5. Vysan

    Vysan Gold IL'ite

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    Dear TM,

    That was a nice post bringing back the memories of the olden days... Those days when the rain comes.... there were pond/lakes which get filled up..... We used to keep watching and prepare songs...

    You make me drool thinking of those those pakoras.... There is no kodai repair man coming to houses and all....

    Walking in the rain, all wet is great......:2thumbsup:

    Veda
     
  6. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    dear twinsmom
    yet another great article. so very nice. thanks for taking us back to those rainy days/monsoon days. I will check with my hubby as to what happens in CBE as he is from there. the danger is his rejoinder will be adults only material cannot be posted. really liked the way you describe th reapir guy and how our parents used t bargain with the rate etc. ive told before but let me tell you again you have a great way with words. thanks again for writing and sharing..
     
  7. Nivedi

    Nivedi New IL'ite

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    Hi TwinsMom,

    Monsoon is indeed a magical time. Having lived in Chennai for a long time, it was the North-East monsoon that lapped us in its warp and weft. In the mid 80's the Cyclones were pretty heavy. We would wait for the DD news reader to announce that a heavy depression was on its way towards Chennai and all schools would be closed. Our house was in a low-lying area and would be flooded on all sided for days after the cyclone cast its fury. We had a resident frog band. One frog which probably must have been the Opera Singer of the group was gifted with a very high pitched voice. The moment she stopped singing there would be a chrous group that sometimes sang in sync, but at most times had notes and octaves flying off in different directions.
     
  8. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    dear viju,
    very nice travel through ur memory lane, to those days, yes kodai repair was a big stuff waiting for him was another big deal, and if the rain has started then the bargain is more for him. our auto fellows the minute it rains they hike like no other, and dont ask about milk man, paper man, nothing in time, not those days where they felt it a duty to run over to finish their errands, now u need to wait with loads of patience, but rain being rain brings the cosyness along with something to sip hot...sunkan
     
  9. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Aaaah! It has been raining Fbs out here.... Feels great...like the first rain of the season....every year, you get rain... then you get more and more rain and you can't cope with it anymore... and declare you have had enough...but come next year, the smell of wet earth in the air drives you 'rain crazy' again... Thank you... Miss those Frog orchestra....
     

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