Karmakerala writer shares Monsoon Experiences
Photos: Tijo Sebastian
Wow…my colleagues, most of them ‘non-writers’ sharing their monsoon experiences made me love the monsoon once again… was bowled over by Sharaz’ description of having a hot omelette in the rains…next time Sharaz, invite me too…will come, for sure…So glad Sholto, our boss, came up with this idea of having people share their monsoon experiences on the blog…
My monsoon memories, like those of everyone, date back to my childhood. It’s a totally different landscape, not that of Kerala. I remember standing in the verandah of our house in Car Nicobar, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and see the rain coming in, from the sea. From the same verandah, facing the sea, I, my sister and our friends would look at ships coming in, to anchor at the small port there… The house and the verandah, alas, no longer exist; the Tsunami simply washed the house away; my mother was spared as she had the presence of mind to run away before the devastating wave hit the second time taking away that house where I spent my childhood and many people whom I had known personally…
Well, coming to childhood memories of the monsoon… there are vivid memories of the monsoon showers as we travel back to Chennai after the summer vacations, to catch the ship from there to Car Nicobar. The metre gauge train that would move slowly among the hillocks in the Kollam district, the hanging bridge at Punalur, the small stations with the vendors selling vada and tea, the lush green forests of Thenmala drenched in the rain, the grapes that we’d eat on the train (once a box fell on me as I was eating grapes and I stopped eating grapes for a long time), the smell of rain that would give way to the scorching heat of Chennai (then Madras) the next day- all this form part of those memories.
I can also not forget the instances of rain lashing against the ship that would take us to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Out there in the open sea, with no land at sight anywhere, the rain seemed so awesome and sometimes like a thing ‘endued with sense’. I also remember those nights on board a ship, when we’d be sleeping on the deck and the rain comes all of a sudden; we’d take our bed sheets and all and move indoors, seeking refuge below the stairs or by the side of a passage. Well that happened mostly when we travel inter-island there, in smaller ships in which we may not always get cabin accommodation and where there was this ‘deck class’ ticket, using which you could spend your time sitting and sleeping on the hatch or the deck.
There’s another thing that I’d like to mention about the rains. A very different kind of experience that is, a rather startling one. I was there to interview eminent journalist and television personality T.N. Gopakumar who has been anchoring a long-running television show Kannadi; he reads letters in the show sent in by people from all over. Among the letters that he showed me was one that requested him to show the rain on television, as the person who had sent in the letter had been in the Gulf for long and hadn’t seen the rain.
I really really love the rains. Say ‘Monsoon’ and you can hear me start singing “Lagi Aaj saawan ki phir woh jhadi hai…” – a Hindi film song that I keep singing whenever I see the rains; sort of a programmed thing for me. (I know the rains during the saawan season is not at all like the Kerala monsoon rains, yet I sing that song always). But beware; I am a bad singer, a really bad singer… So better not listen to me; just keep your ears ready for the music of the rains.