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!