“As dark gray clouds gather in the sky, it reminds me of eternal gifts that our Mother Nature has presented to us.”
Truly, nature has her own subtle way of expressing love and affection to us. During monsoon season, when tiny rain droplets fall to the ground, the sky gives an impression of an estranged mother who is shedding tears in joy on meeting her beloved children. Though, it seems like a philosophical illusion, yet portrays the kindness that nature has showered on us by creating monsoon season to enjoy.
If someone denies its desire to get wet in the rain, probably he or she is lying. A little kid in us who is lost in ages of maturity suddenly pops out when it sees tiny droplets falling on to the earth. The temptation to get wet and enjoy the raindrops falling on our body is irresistible.
In metros and cities, we can see the joy of monsoon on everyone faces. Kids dancing on streets, elders enjoying rain in the balcony of their house and women preparing hot pakoras and coffee for everyone in the family are hallmark of first monsoon rain. And what else the romantic lovers want better than the rainy season to spend some intimate moments with each other. We can see them sharing a common umbrella on a local bus stand or going for a long drive to invoke those romantic moments that were kept in backseat thanks to scotching summer heat. In its own elusive way, it somehow justifies the renowned MasterCard advertisement that says “There are some things that money can’t buy, for everything else use MasterCard.” Truly, these moments of happiness and sense of togetherness are priceless and cannot be bought, rather felt and loved. Ah!! Monsoon Season.
In rural areas where agriculture is the primary source of income, the season of rains bears a special significance. Faces of hope gazing at sky towards smallest of cloud spread, anxious look of farmers at their fields on which their future depends and community prayers in villages for timely rains are traits of anxiety of people in rural areas just before the monsoon season. In some manner, this ambience is explained rhythmically in a song from Aamir Khan’s internationally acclaimed movie ‘Lagaan’ that goes like “Kaale Megha Kaale Megha, Paani to Barsaao”.
And why not so when two-third of our population is directly or indirectly related to agriculture for its livelihood and nearly a quarter of country’s economy is dependent upon agriculture. For them, good monsoon not only brings the bumper harvest but consequently also improved standards of living.
Indian Culture has a long tradition of using festivals as medium to mark the beginning and conclusion of any season. Consequently, there are many festivals associated with the onset of monsoon too. In Rajasthan, ‘Teej festival’ is held every year in July and August months to mark the advent of monsoon. During this festival, women pray to almighty for good production and buy new clothes and jewellery in anticipation of good monsoon this year. People in Meghalaya also organize a festival called “Behdienkhlam” to invoke the blessings of god for bumper harvest. This festival features religious ceremonies and dancing around a water pool called “eit nar”.
One of the prominent Hindu festivals that mark the beginning of rainy season is ‘Naga Panchami’. This popular Hindu festival is dedicated to Ananta, the serpent upon whose coils Vishnu (The Rain God) rested between universes. People offer milk and worship snake images in temples on this day to protect them from snakebites that are common in areas near to the riverbed.
But, the biggest of all festivals is ‘Sri Jagannath Yatra’ that is celebrated all over the country with much delight. During this festival, the chariot processions of Sri Jagannath are taken throughout the main streets. The biggest of the processions is held in Puri, Orissa where people from all over the world come to this small city to participate in the mega event.
The significance of Monsoon season is much more than giving us enjoyment. In India, rivers are the major life lines on which the country’s population is heavily dependent The rainfall occurs during the Monsoon season fill these rivers and its tributaries with enough water to feed people all through the year. This rainwater is used primarily for drinking and other essential purposes and any shortage of it can create severe problems like drought for us.
Also, good monsoons are a big necessity in our country where farmers rely more on divine help rather than government authorities to bring water to their fields. Timely rains not only solve their water woes but also help them raising a good food production that is so essential to feed such a huge population like of us. With good monsoons, the level of groundwater also increases in urban areas and consequently solving water problems that occur during summer season. Though we are still very much ignorant about water management techniques. With strategic planning like proper canalization, creation of man made reservoirs and water management techniques, we can utilize the natural rainwater in much more efficient manner to boost our agricultural growth as well as solving urban water problems.
The romance of the Indian monsoon, with its abundant rains and lush green landscape that has been rhapsodized down the ages in verse and song, can be promoted as a “unique” tourist attraction. Monsoon in India are exquisite and to fillip the tourist activities during monsoon season, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has mooted the idea of providing tourists “a unique experience” in the form of “Special Tourism Packages”. A CII study paper has recommended states like Kerela, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttranchal, Sikkim, and Himachal Pradesh to promote themselves as Monsoon tourism destinations by introducing special schemes to attract tourists within the country and all over the world. These schemes will generate new employment avenues and also help government earn precious foreign exchange that International tourists will spend during their stay in India
Monsoons in Kerala are the most enchanting in India. With green pastures at its best, it is the most sought after destination during rainy season. The state is promoting itself extensively in the field of health tourism especially Ayurveda. The equable climate during Monsoon and natural abundance of herbs and medicinal plants in its flora, Kerala is fast capturing the attention of International tourists as a prime destination to visit during the Monsoon Season. With its abundant water reservoir of waterfalls and natural lakes, Northeastern region is also fast emerging as a hot monsoon destination among local as well as International tourists.
The phrase “Expressions of love and happiness cannot be taught. They come to you naturally,” says it all. Every living entity shows its love for the rains in its own magical way. Immediately, after the rain plants seem to be thrilled and grow much faster and greener with new branches shot up. We can also see peacock dancing in the rain or scurrying of partridge on green fields to show their happiness on arrival of monsoons. In true sense, rains symbolize the life itself. When dark clouds cover the sky and start showering raindrops on us, I heard everyone around me saying “Ah!! Its Monsoon Season.”