July 3, 2021
Children who live abroad love to travel to India during the monsoon season, which is from June to August in Karnataka Coast. The rainy season is a welcome respite from unbearable summers of coastal India. Seeing the lashing downpour up close makes it an unforgettable experience.
Rain in the Bible Symbolizes Blessings:
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” Isaiah 44:3-4.
Having grown up in the Gulf, I am used to not seeing much rain, but it does rain sometimes in certain parts of the country and occasionally quite heavily too. If it rains heavily, it is inadvisable to go out as the wadis overflow and cause flooding.
As a result of global warming, the rains are dependent upon climate patterns which are unpredictable and can sometimes delay through the year. Apart from global warming, pollution has been a factor responsible for delaying the monsoon in many regions and this imperils the agricultural industry.
With moderate rains and gusty winds, the monsoon arrives in Karnataka in the first or second week of July. People are well-prepared with umbrellas, raincoats and the traditional "Gorum’’, a handmade jacket made with leaves. Farmers wear eco-friendly arecanut leaf caps in the field called “Gompers’’. Female farmers wear something known as "Kandi’’ (A cap made of betelnut)
Farmers depend on the monsoon for all their agricultural needs because early showers enable them to begin planning and planting major crops. If there is less rainfall than usual, then the crops will die in the fields, at which point they cannot be planted. With limited irrigation facility, the quantity of standard rainfall is a major determining factor for the agricultural production to be carried out smoothly.
As agricultural labour becomes scarcer each year, farmers have difficulty obtaining skilled labour. Local farmers are therefore resorting to mechanical equipment, and I envision the traditional method of cultivation gradually vanishing as the shortage of agricultural labour increases every year.
Farmers used to cultivate the paddy fields with buffalos and the traditional wooden ploughs. Male and female labourers are mainly engaged in seedling "Natti’’ activities in the paddy fields. Apart from paddy cultivation, people enjoy planting a variety of vegetables that require high humidity levels and a change in climate to thrive, such as okra, green chillies, tomatoes, brinjal and raddish.
When farmers plough, they sing melodiously to entice buffaloes and motivate them to work faster. Even female labourers sing traditional folk songs along with the chorus while transplanting paddy.
There are often times when children face challenges commuting between home and school, because they must walk through mud puddles and get soaked in the rain. As soon as they get to school, their uniforms become wet, and their shoes become muddy. While traveling in rain can be a hassle, it is also an enjoyable experience.
I truly appreciate the joy of the rainy season when I visit my grandparents as their house is surrounded by lush green fields with water channels, tube wells and natural vegetation. Children truly relish the season and have a ball as they play with paper boats and make mud pies, mud handprints and mud models and so on. The flowers and fruits in the trees look beautiful and refreshing.
During the rainy season, people pipe a sip of hot coffee or tea along with homemade crunchy snacks. The following snacks I look forward to devour and they are always available in this particular season:
- Jackfruit related delicacies include fritters "Gariyo’’ - This is yet another village delicacy which is prepared during jackfruit season and consumed the most during monsoon season; jackfruit pappad, jackfruit chips which are normally fried on coconut oil. The jackfruit cake "Patholi’’ is one of my favourites and a sweet treat.
- Onion pakoras and sweet potato chips. These are also some of the most popular snacks and are a perfect rainy season treat.
- The traditional vegetable, madras cucumber along with horse gram and jackfruit seeds. There are more varieties of vegetable dishes during monsoon season and will not be repeated much during summer.
Because of the ongoing pandemic situation, and the travel restrictions in place, many are unable to travel from one place to another. However, they are able to enjoy the mesmerizing season with their loved ones going down the memory lane at their respective homes wherever they are.