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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kerala Monsoons

Kerala is known for its monsoons
The season I love to be in it .
After the blistering humid heat that pervades the state from late march malayalees start looking at the sky for those elusive clouds by middle and end of may .
Unlike Tamilnadu .Andhra .Karnataka (excluding dakshin kannada ) kerala has this unique rains which used to start in mid may in the past but getting later and later of late .
This comes from the south west monsoons which enter through the southern tip of India moving into Trivandrum the capital of the state and amusingly tracing a path up the western coast till it leaves kerala drenched and happy in Kasargod continues through Mangalore Goa western maharashtra Mumbai and then central india later exiting through West Bengal .

In Kerala this season lasts at least till August till Onam the harvest festival .
A brilliant travelogue by Alexander Frazer an Australian travel writer chasing the monsoon is one of my most liked books for here the author like the rest of Kerala waits in Kovalam Trivandrum gazing up at the sky to watch for the bursting of the monsoon in end of may .
His plan is to move along the path of the monsoon with it and he does it a scurry of travel in trains buses taxis cycles autorikshaws at times walking drenched too .
what a brilliant way to explore a place !

And I think best time to visit Kerala should be its monsoon for one ,its off season and prices are down ,for another the mallu is always more amiable once the rain cools him down !

Iam sure even the political murders in the killing fields of Kannur or the potshots in the assembly take a downturn with the rains .

To the malayalee varsham or mazhakaalam is the harbringer of fertlity for the earth needed for his harvests
By edavapaadhi or may middle he starts waiting like a pregnant mother for the fat drops of water from the heavens but as it moves to karkadakam month around mid june july its also the season of wants as the heavy rains for days take their toll .

The poor have no work or food and exist miserably in their leaking thatched houses .

Its the season of starvation where big tharavaaads or families accomodate their workers in their abodes when threatened with floods give them food and clothes .

I remember during my childhood holidays in Parappanangadi the huge verandah and backyard covered area on our massive house would accomodate many wet children and dark glistening parents for days on end being served with hot kanji and other food .

That was the equation those days between workers and landowners not the feudal slavery as depicted by the communists who effectively spoilt this relationship and replaced it with arrogance of labour and today there are no more harvests .
the landlords get their rice from nearby states while most workers toil for some distant Arab in hostlie conditions the rest exist by  labour terrorism in kerala .

The monsoons transform the state into more greener shade than its usual and more etheral
Brown just leaves
The dripping rain its puddles flowing rivers the chill in the air the peeping sun the gushing waters the sound of the incessant rains are the visual and auditory nostalgia every Keralite carries in his heart .

Theres no malayalee who fails to love his varshakaaalam .
Generally june 1st is when schools open in Kerala after summer holidays
Its almost sanctostat that the children in thier new uniforms and umbrellas go drenched to school on day one
Rains also is season of piety for many Hindus where the reading of epic Ramayana is carried on in many houses and temples as in earlier days people stayed home during the rainy season.
Theres a pilgrimage to naalambalam  or four temples on same day those for Raama.lakshmana shatrukna Bharatha.in Thrissur dt which is carried on in monsoons .
Ramayana discourses happen in many temples
Its also an excellent time to go for a boat cruise in backwaters with prizes rock bottom one can glide along the rumbling waters while dark clouds bring forth buckets of rain on the bobbing boat tucking into hot fresh fish caught then and its ambrosia of a different kind

So go to kerala during the rainy season next time  .

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