Sunday, April 21, 2013

An Afternoon One Monsoon

                                                                                                                                                      Monsoon! The nymph that envelopes the land and the heavens with her irresistible enchantment!                                                                                                                                                      
If an ordinary mortal such as I is bewitched by the beauty she brings forth and enhances on all that is in Nature- the air, water, sky, the mountains, the thick green flora and even the often uninviting water buffaloes that stand in the rain fed fields indifferent and caring the least, what wondrous creation can she tempt and provoke in a bard!

The monsoon in Kerala is singular. It is awe and inspiring splendour how she transforms the famished and unquenchable land with her spell. In one whiff of freshness she carries in her bosom she eclipses the dreariness and forlorn. Driving through the land after the spell of monsoon rains, with water dripping from trees that straddle the path, pools of water on the road and gushing by sides of the road in effusive state, eager to join the larger schemes elsewhere down, I and C were on a drive some hundred and thirty kilometers from the dry town in Tamilnad where we then lived.

We had befriended a family whom we have met often before at the school in Coonoor, but neither they nor we went farther than exchanging acknowledging nods. However a carnival at the school that lasted a couple of days brought us together and before we parted they invited us to their home in Kerala by the foothills of the Western Ghats.

The rains that visit Kerala, particularly the south west monsoon that tee off in June scatter much relief in the border towns of Tamilnad-Coimbatore, Pollachi and Tiruppur. The stifling dryness of the summer slowly recedes unable to confront the wet, bewitching spell of the monsoon rains and the cold air it throws across the mountains. By the time one crosses the bye- pass highway off Coimbatore into Kerala, the resplendent rain clouds that hover over the mountains are a soulful sight. And, as if Nature herself has taken the cue from the man-made divisions of the State borders, the rains that confined to drizzle until there begin to lash as soon as one crosses the State border from Tamilnad into Kerala. It poured and poured in thick drops of shimmering, shiny silver.

It is amazing as to how vegetation changes colour and radiates a splendiferous hue after a few days of amorous onslaught of the monsoon. The dark greyish blue clouds impregnated with rain hover low over the mountains.

On that late afternoon we drove in the sleek Hyundai Accent we bought a couple of months before. We drove through the rain and the car tested wonderful endurance on the slippery roads in the rain and the sharp bends on the road that can be a motorist’s misery. But I loved the drive water splashing in jet from beneath the car. The stretch towards their house off Palghat, by the foot hills brought forth the trancing beauty of nature. It was magnificent display of colours from the heavens - the clouds that engulfed the mountains and then to the expanse on the foothills. Parrot green, lemon green and dark and dark green hue of vegetation. Every leaf and bark of plants and trees were touched by the spell of monsoon and they stood bowed but afresh, washed anew by the rains. The rivers and rivulets were gushing and torrential.

The rains had ceased lashing, but the land and its creatures were in eagerness and bated breath waiting for the next spell. Dark grey blue rain clouds where swirling on the mountains conveying the torrent that would soon come down from the heavens. Street dogs wet to the bones were running about and seemed to enjoy the transformed air. A flock of ducks was frolicking in the muddy waters of the paddy fields and the brook near. Crows wet and drenched in the rain perched on trees and roof tops pecking their feathers clean.

We had slid down the window panes when the rains stopped and switched off the air-conditioner in the car. It imparted a continuous soothing  blast of monsoon air, neither cold nor warm.

The house was cocooned in the middle of a vast rubber plantation and the drive to the house was through the serpentine drive-way with strewn bed of fallen leaves and the rubber trees holding aloft dark canopy .The croaking of the toads lend the silence of the place an oxymoron effect.We seemed to be cut away and mercifully cast away from the civilisation , the monsoon magic was hypnotising then, there!


Happy Kitten said...

that was pure torture! :)..and now that Monsoon seems to have more or less abandoned us, this blog post may stand as testimony for those bygone days!

Meera Sundararajan said...

Anil, the SW Monsoons are the life line of this country and Kerala its beloved.. I can imagine the beauty that you describe. I have lived in the Eastern part of the country which also experiences the SW Monsoons ( albeit a different branch of the current). Living in TN one really misses all that!

Shilpa Garg said...

That was such a vivid description! We need this kind of rains in our dry land of Rajasthan. I believe the rains in Kerala last for 5-6 months... isn't that too long? I remember the 3-4 months of rains in Mumbai made us yearn for the sunshine, as continuous rains would impact the daily life in so many ways...

KParthasarathi said...

Beautiful narration that brings before mind the luscious green dripping water,the smell of mud and a chill air.You have turned me envious of the neighbouring state and I wish to be born there in my next birth for more than one reason!!

Usha Menon said...

Now Anil This is a very poetic and picturesque description of monsoon in Kerala. One unique feature of rain in Kerala is that after heavy rains there is no water logging.In Delhi the rain causes havoc. Clogging of drains and flooding the roads results in heavy traffic jams, thereby distrupting normal life.

BK Chowla, said...

We are not particularly happy or sad about rains in Delhi.
Either way,we com plain.

Insignia said...

Wow and wow! spellbound! When it rains, we often talk about the misery "the rain" brings - traffic jam, drains clogging and all that. What we forget is that the misery's cause is us and not rains. I love the rains.

Anil, I remember a road trip we took a couple of years ago. The destination was Goa and was looking forward to it; since I have never visited Goa. But along the ghats as we drove, it was pouring and pouring. We were optimistic and continued to drive, but had to stop 20 mms away from Karwar, since the roads broke due to floods. The rains were heavy, driving through the ghats was test of endurance and guts

But the scene was breath taking; the mountains, the sheet of green over the fields, the velvety moss on the bricks, the cows nodding in rhythm with the rains, the numerous silvery cascades of waterfalls. Though couldn't make it to Goa, the travel is one of my most memorable one. If you have time, see these pics I captured with a point and shoot camera during that trip -

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

As refreshing as the first drops of rain, thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Here, in Bangalore, once famed for its salubrious weather I’m fretting and fuming, it’s unbelievably hot here, almost as in Kerala at this time of the year!

anilkurup said...

@ Happy Kitten,
I hope not. Hope that rains- the monsoon will not desert the land.

@ Meera Sundarajan,
Thanks Meera,Yes living in Tn, the rains are missed except when it is havoc with some cyclone blowing in the Bay of Bengal.
Yes indeed I spent sometime in the NE ( Nagaland/Shillong) and was lucky to know about the monsoon there.
@ Shilpa Garg,
Yes Rajsathan do need a bout of monsoon showers.
It is not continuous rainfall for six months in Kerala. It rains there for almost 180 days but in major spells of two and then the intermittent showers.
However a weeks rain will be too much of the same.

@ KParthasarathi,

Thanks Sir.You can always hop over and across to Kerala when it is monsoon there.;

@ Usha Menon,
Thanks .Well cities can be a messy place. Country side is always a pleasure in rains.

@ BK Chowla,

Ha ha , I understand

@ Insignia,
Bindu, I went through your Picassa web post and must say it was good. I like the way you pick up little things like the drifted twig, the fallen leaf, the colourful shell etc.
Pics are bold. And they bring out the mood , the atmosphere.

I want to drive down to Goa in the rains. And pity so near but I have not been to Goa yet. Sounds stupid.

@ Arun Meethale

Thanks Arun.
Bangalore of the yore is lost. Sad!

NRIGirl said...

Indeed a beautiful description Anil! Refreshing. Thank you!

rama said...

Your post makes us wish we could have the Bangalore, which we had many years ago,it would always be drizzling off and on, the weather was so, oh, so pleasant. Now, we live in a hell and on the gates you can literally see the famous sign of Dante's :Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!”
We were in Wayanad during the rains and the whole place was so beautiful, green, green and more of green everywhere. We went trekking in the rain, it was so much fun. I feel one must go to Kerala to just relax and watch the rain,and forget all the touristy things to do.

....Petty Witter said...

Such a wonderfully powerful opening paragraph.

rudraprayaga said...

Monsoon,she charms, magnetizes, mesmerizes and pulls the viewer towards her in her infantile age.In her youth she tests your patience by performing arts like flooding,land-sliding,clogging the ditches and breaking or uprooting your plants.But her presence is the essence of life.So let Monsoon be with us providing chance to moon and sun to shine without hiding them.Beautiful! beautiful.

Insignia said...

Thank you Anil. Those were my initial days trying my hands at photography. The heavy rains and the point and shoot didn't deter me then. I think the mood and the atmosphere did encourage me.

adithyasaravana said...

Hmmm..rain speaks to us in many ways. I had been in kerala working at few places, especially during monsoons..and I could see it again vividly through this post.

Ashwini C N said...

Some times all I do is to stand back and take a nice look at Nature. You never cease to admire it's subtle beauty. And yes, Monsoons in Kerala are a wonderful sight.

Haddock said...

Oh the rains in Kerala is really wonderful (when it actually rains) One summer vacation, we were really blessed as there used to be heavy downpour (with the full works of thunder and lightning) and during the day time it was absolutely clear. And this was in May !!