The Monsoon is scheduled to hit Kerala today, 29th May. Traditionally, in agriculture-based societies like ours, rain is a welcome phenomenon. Down the ages, music, art, dance, poetry in every part of India have celebrated the rains and the monsoon. There is a raga to bring rain. Lovers long for the rains. Literature celebrates the monsoons.
Even young urbanities, thanks to movies like ‘Lagaan’ will appreciate that rains are the lifeline for agriculture. And let us not forget that is not only the farmers who depend on the rains. The looming food crisis and rising prices of vegetables, fruit and produce has brought home very sharply that ultimately for everyone, it all goes back the land, to those who till the land, and to the rains.
In spite of all this, we urbanites have to admit that we are not happy to see the rains, except for the fact that it brings down temperatures. That could be attributed to two major reasons—(a) lack of preparedness of civic authorities to cope with the rains, and (b) our own increasing inability to put up with even minor inconveniences.
If the rains bring flooding to my street because the storm water drains are not kept in functional order; if manholes left open become death traps for people who are wading through knee deep water; if the roads are potholed and pitted after the rains and never mended; if improperly planned road dividers and badly leveled roads lead to stagnation and chaos—no wonder then that the normal city dweller fears the rainy season. If rains mean uncleared, rotting garbage all over; if rains mean frequent electricity cuts; if rains mean the threat of minor epidemics due to unsanitary conditions—no wonder then that we dislike the rains.
Is there anything unexpected about the rains? They come every year, on a fairly predictable date. The volume of rain is also forecasted—if not accurately, at least better than election results! Then why can our cities not prepare better? Should not every city and town worth its name have a regular plan of action to prepare for the rains? Civic authorities may say they have such plans, but isn’t the proof of the pudding in the eating?
Apart from civic authorities, we as individuals also love our comfort so much, that we cannot stand clothes drying inside the house; we cannot put up with rains disturbing our plans for an open air party; we don’t want the driver or maid to come in half-an-hour late because of the rain.
Rains bring joy; rains bring life to the land; rains are what make the world go round. Let’s bring back the joy of monsoon to our lives.