“Dekho kaise parbath se baadal gaye, Barsenge yeh ab kaha…
Dekho kaise phoolon se khushboo gayi, Mehekenge yeh ab kaha…” – Dhaani by Strings…
It was a thunderstorm which shook me from my slumber. After lunch, I had snoozed off on my workstation, listening to the Pak group, Strings.
I rushed to the large window behind my boss’ corner to peep through the venetian blinds. Rain lashed heavily on the air tight window panes and the thunder struck. Seems like the monsoon has arrived on time.
Stuck in a cubicle in a huge air conditioned hall with no sunlight or wind, I have become zombie. Day in and day out I day dream of going out in the open, under the blue skies, into the country side, lie flat on the grass, facing the lashing rain. Stuck in an urban corporate world, it really seems like a distant mirage for me. All I can do now is to cling on to the memories of childhood.
The monsoon rain brings back memories of blissful childhood, of an unfettered life with care a damn attitude. Getting soaked in the rain, running along the edges of the slushy paddy fields, eating hot pakoras sold on the roadside, and making paperboats out of the school notes! Can we bring back the joy that we got from such silly things…
Having brought up in the Malnad area in the Western Ghats, I was fortunate to have seen the full glory of monsoon season. Once it starts raining in early June, it will not let go until august. The arrival of Ganesha Chaturthi heralded the long awaited break.
Just outside the town of Shimoga in the late 1980s, there were river streams in the countryside on the road to my village. I and my friends used to pack off on a Saturday to hunt for birds nest and bee hives (we were too studious to bunk classes on a weekday!)
The rainy season was a busy one for my village relatives who toiled in the fields. But for us city kids, it was time to jump into the slush in the pretext of helping out in planting the paddy. Our aunts at home would either make Pathrode or Akki kadubu for us to relish on. It would be Eerekai Pakoda (ribbed gourd snack) in the evenings. Some days, our uncles would go out on a hunt to catch a wild boar or a deer!
Gone are those days when we could find wildlife in the forest. My recent visit to Shimoga was quite a revelation. The city has reached the outer limits of the Shettihalli wildlife sanctuary on the west side. Gadikoppa and Malligenahalli have come inside the city now!
Now, all that is left is to sit in the balcony of my city dwelling to wait for a thunder lightning to strike and capture it in my camera. Below children of our housekeeper, Ranga and Lakshman are playing joyfully in the gushing waters. Faraway, some women are on the terrace to enjoy the rain. But for me, rain brings back memories and reminds the joy that is lost forever. The lyrics of Dhaani album remind me that again!