Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Glory of the Indian Monsoon

Hello everyone, I am lucky to be in India during the beautiful monsoon season when the rain bearing clouds change not just the landscape of the country, but the moods and emotions of everyone staying here. There is a special connect between the monsoon season and the camera, they just 'click' ! And so while some of us run for cover when it starts to rain or prefer to watch it from a comfortable distance, my camera and I love to become one with the downpour and immortalise as many raindrops as we can through its lens...
You know that feeling when you have been observing the skies oscillate between shades of pale blue and deep indigo, very nearly turning charcoal and then holding back, unwilling to part with those precious pearls from heaven ? And just when you've given up hope and and also stopped gambling on those evasive showers, you hear the deep rumble from up above, lightening flashes across the dark clouds and it starts to rain ! Wait, let me rephrase that one, it doesn't just 'rain', it 'pelts' !! Large, fat drops kiss the ground at your feet and you and the world around you start to rejoice, for the great Indian monsoon is here, finally ! :-)

The neighbourhood reverberates with the shrieks of children splashing and playing around in the puddles, bikers throw caution to the winds and enjoy the feeling of the rain against their face, their clothes clinging to the skin, laughing, singing aloud, enjoying the ride and the relief from the harsh summer that they now see themselves finally bidding adieu to !

You lose count of the number of shades of green your garden is now sporting...all the new variants humbling your knowledge of the colour palette, and you are happy to try and distinguish between 'light', 'dark', darker' on and so forth :-)

Human beings, flowers, fruits, birds...all chime their favourite monsoon wake up to a morning after a night of rainfall and feel as though someone spent the last eight hours scrubbing the world clean....everything looks pure, crisp and fresh...

The rooftop has served as the dance floor for the rain to conduct its pitter-patter tap-dance on it all night long, and I just love the early morning gleam on the terracotta tiles here...

The flowers are content to let the water droplets rest on their velvety surface...

The leaves how the raindrops manage to pull off the perfect balancing act, not gliding off from the slick surface :-)

The birds decide it is a morning that is too beautiful to waste huddled up inside their bird house, and they flit from one branch to the other, twittering...chirping...hallelujah, the monsoon is here !

When the Indian Robin above is at play, why should the 'Bulbul' be left behind, it perches itself on the mango tree and looks at the lush green view...bird's eye view :-)

The cloudburst from the night before has scattered mangoes from the branches on the grass beneath the tree...

...but the 'Bulbul' choses a ripe one from those that still occupy their place on the tree and tucks into it for breakfast. Proof of the fact that the love for mangoes runs across the family :-)

When the flowers and the birds are celebrating the rains, why should the rest of the flora and fauna be any how beautifully the rain bejewels the grapefruit and the guavas...all washed and cleansed by the drops from heaven above...

...And the delicate love affair between the butterfly and the rain-drenched plants...:-)

...everyone has a song to hum, the world around you smiles...

Now is also the time to pull out that umbrella that has been sitting quietly all these months, lying unnoticed in its umbrella stand...

...Open it, twirl it around and dance with it in the rain...nothing quite like these lovely accessories to brighten a rainy day...the more colourful the better ! :-)

By now am sure you are all familiar with my love for 'chai' :-) But there is something extra special about having a cup of tea when it rains, one that has been brewed with 'tulsi' (holy basil), plucked from the garden...

 And if this cuppa is accompanied by 'mom-made' samosas that are stuffed with spinach and mozzarella cheese and you can view the rain from your chair in the verandah as you gorge on them, you know you are in 'monsoon bliss' ! :-)

Speaking of tea, I wanted to share with you that I chanced upon a 'chai-stall' on my way to the market yesterday and got into a casual conversation with the owner about her livelihood... 

She said she feels blessed not just because she is able to provide tea to passers by, but also because her tiny little tea stall's asbestos sheets provide them shelter when they are stranded during a heavy downpour...her contentment shows on her face, does it not ? 

You don't always need big chances in life to feel happy and experience you ? It is a good idea to grab those small opportunities that come your way to serve someone else, to make their day ! :-)

And with this beautiful encounter at the back of my mind, I moved onto the market place and saw how it was full of 'thelas' selling monsoon fruit. My Nana always advocated the countless benefits of eating seasonal fruit and I picked up fresh jamuns to carry nutrient and anti-oxidant dose for the day :-)

The roads nowadays are flanked by 'bhutta-walas' and there is nothing like the taste of a hot 'bhutta' off the 'angeethi' on a rainy day...

I love mine with lots of 'nimbu-namak' masala and I grabbed one on my drive back home and savoured every delicious chomp, every juicy bite...lip smacking stuff !

There are many other dimensions to the monsoons in India...such as the 'moongphalli-wala' as he roasts fresh groundnut on his 'thela' and serves them to you in tiny scraps of newspaper...

..and the rain-shy cows that seek shelter under the nearest grove of trees as they see dark clouds gathering in the sky...

...or how the goats are tethered to safety at a spot that protects them from torrential rain...

..or the way onions, garlic pods and potatoes are put away in a 'wind-proof' corner to keep them from growing moulds...

..and ingenious solutions such as this one to harvest water from leaking roofs... :-)

All of them contribute to the magic of the season, to the mesmerising aura of the monsoon, wouldn't you agree?

And then there is the flip side to the rain...rain that 'fulfils' and 'uplifts' has the power to 'uproot' and 'afflict' too ! Life in so many parts of the country gets washed away by fury of floods... of the not-so-fortunate get destroyed and scattered like leaves from a tree during a storm...

And so it is also a time for you and me to be grateful, that we are in a part of the country where the rain is relatively moderate or just adequate, and that we can choose to watch the raindrops rolling off the banana leaf from the safe comfort of our verandahs and balconies...thankful that we have a roof above our heads during such weather...

Rain in cannot help but fall in love with the drama, the romance, the theatrics and histrionics, the son-et-lumière...what I love about it is that there is nothing 'tutored or engineered' about is raw emotion, rustic and wild...and I would strongly urge you to go ahead and be more than just a 'passive observer' (if that is who you have been thus far) and make the rain 'yours'. Fall in love with the rumble, embrace those rain drops, quench your thirst and flood your senses...let your soul soak it all in !

And as I sign off here, I want to make a special mention of my readers abroad and fellow expats who are not in India to experience this joyous weather first-hand...I am sending some rain-laden winds your way. Remember me the next time you feel a gentle breeze caress your face and if you breathe in deeply am sure you will get a whiff of the rain soaked soil from our home country... :-)

Until next time, I am off to appreciate, relish, reflect upon and soak in the beauty of this season...the unparalleled glory of the great Indian Monsoon...I hope you enjoyed the small glimpse I shared here.. :-)


  1. Beautiful, lovely, totally soul drenching ! It's a beautiful time no doubt. While my other half chooses to see only dirt, slush, waterlogging, leaking crevices, mucky shoes inside the house, outbreak of epidemics and what not, I only see the beauty that lies in each drop. Funny but that's how we balance it out I guess :) Lovely pics and that bhutta is mouth watering. I just bought an armload of it in the morning, waiting to dig my teeth into it now :) Enjoy the rains !

    1. Thank you so much. Your feedback encourages me to write more :-) Enjoy the 'bhutta', we are having it in all forms, specially the 'aloo bhutta' at breakfast, Nina wala ! :-) Love.

  2. Perfect monsoon post Karishma one can read again and again to relive the magic of monsoon. Your pics are amazing and love the garden with red accents.

    1. Nayana thank you so much for stopping by. Am so happy that you enjoyed the post. The garden is my parents' labour of love. I too love the contrasting reds and greens :-)

  3. lived though your monsoon journey .....loved it. Keep writing kish...

    1. Puts a big smile on my face, promise to keep it coming. Thanks for stopping by Juhi. Love to you.

  4. Ah those raindrops made me want to tap them off with my fingers :) Beautiful photographs and write up Karishma.

  5. Thanks Ambika, delighted to hear from you. Been a long time, trust all is well at your end. Thank you for stopping by :-)

  6. Oh! What a visual treat!totally in love with your writing skill!:-)....samosa,chai, roasted bhutta! My, my! It's all like a down-memory-lane trip!

    1. Thankyou Vandana, woke up to this lovely comment from you. Very happy to see you liked the post. Hope you're enjoying all these little treats of the season too :-) Hugs.

  7. Beautiful post Karishma !!! Captured the essence of monsoons to the T. Enjoy your vacation :)

    1. Thanks Sruthi. So glad could share a glimpse of this lovely season on the blog. Happy you enjoyed it :-)

  8. Karishma, Very beautifully written post.