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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MONSOONS IN KGF - CHILDHOOD MEMORIES


The Monsoon season was the season of heavy rains followed by  Rainbows in KGF. The Monsoon season or the Rainy Season in KGF began in the first week of June and continued till the beginning of September. I personally felt as a child that it was the best season of the year and it certainly was not to be wasted indoors. I always felt that it was a very special season of the year with the sight of the rainbow after the rains. The Monsoon rains made   everything fresh and green which brought a new life everywhere.

The first rains of the season made a welcome change after the long summer months and brought smiles of joy on everyone’s faces. The smell of the dry earth getting drenched with the first drops of rain was so intoxicating. All the streets and roads which were dusty during the summer months were washed clean and the fresh tender green leaves on all the trees seem to smile and enjoy the rain.




The monsoon season also bought out the Thunder Lillies in the garden – pink, yellow, white and mauve. Every time the thunder lilies bloomed, it was sure to rain that day!!! The big Fire Ball lilies also made their appearance around the same time. These huge Balls comprising tiny red flowers bloomed in a bunch like a ball and added to the profusion of colour in our garden
The Monsoon Season  brings back fond memories of lazy rainy days, and of the four of us splashing in the puddles of rain water and sailing paper boats in them. It was fun dressing in our raincoats and
caps and trying to have races with our paper boats before they collapsed in the rain. Even the botheration of wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella couldn’t take away the fun of walking in the rain. We’d purposely get drenched on the way back from school. It was fun splashing in the puddles and sailing paper boats. When it rained hail stones, we got very excited and didn’t mind getting soaked when collecting the hailstones. Mummy of course, would go ballistic and shout at us to come in out of the rain as we’d get sick.

Another memory associated with the monsoon is the smell of roasting Indian Corn and Ground Nuts over hot charcoal. The Indian Corn or ‘Makacholam’ Seller had the live coals in an iron basin on his cart and he’d continuously blow on the coals to keep them alive while roasting the corn. When the corn was nicely roasted, he would then apply a green masala paste with a stick on the Roasted Corn and liberally squeeze lime juice over it. The roasted corn eaten with the green masala and lime juice on it was heavenly. My mouth still waters just writing about it.


The ground nut seller too had a small Sigri or a Coal stove on his cart and he roasted the ground nuts in a large iron pan placed over it. He continuously stirred the ground nuts in their shells with a long iron ladle and the sound of the ladle touching the sides of the pan continuously had a distinctive sound. Even now after all these years the aroma of roasting Corn and groundnuts brings back many happy memories of my childhood.

My mum would sometimes buy the raw Indian corn and ground nuts from the market and boil them at home for us with a little pepper and salt. She would also dab a little butter on the hot corn to give it a very delightful taste. The enticing smell of boiling corn or groundnuts would engulf the whole house and make our mouths water and our stomachs rumble with the anticipation of eating them.

The monsoons also brought its own travails. Sometimes if the rains were too heavy, it would flatten all our flowering plants and destroy all the beautiful flowers and roses in our garden. After a heavy show we’d see a carpet of fallen petals and leaves on the ground. The Mali would have a tough time clearing up all the fallen leaves, branches and debris. He’d also have to fix all the plants that had fallen down and tie them to new supports, and clip away the dead flowers.

Another disadvantage of the monsoon season was that the heavy clothes especially the pants and shirts that my dad wore to work underground in the mines, wouldn’t dry in a hurry and remain damp and wet for days together. We had no washing machines in those days, so all the clothes were washed on the washing stones and hung in the sun to dry. With no sun appearing for a few days, the clothes had to dry on makeshift stands inside the house and took ever so long to dry. It also smelt musty and disgusting.

The monsoons brought out a lot of creatures and insects as well. It was not uncommon to see garden snakes, lizards and other creepy crawlies slithering about in the open. Insects that come out in the monsoons normally have a short life span and we’d see them only during the months of June to October which is their mating season. Big black Bully Ants, red Ants, White ants, etc, were some of them that made their appearance and gave us a little trouble. The mosquitoes too seemed to increase and multiply during this season and they brought along their own misery.

In the evenings just as the lights were switched on, hordes of flying insects like big ants with white wings would flutter near the light bulbs. The yellow light of the street lights and people’s verandah lights attracted them. The next morning we’d see a carpet of dead insects with their wings detached lying around the lamp posts. Sometimes, they managed to invade the inside of our house and flutter near the drawing room centre light. We called these insects ‘Icheils’. My mum  would fill a big basin full of water and place it on the floor directly in line with the centre light. We’d switch off all the other lights and the Icheils would see the reflection of the light in the water and try to fly into the basin of water and get drowned. Once we were rid of them we’d empty the basin of water with the dead insects in the garden. These Icheils didn’t bite or sting us but they were extremely annoying flying about everywhere. The got into our hair and if we weren’t careful they got into our nose and mouth as well!

The monsoon time was also the mating season for frogs. Soon after the first over night showers of rain filled up the shallow pools, the frogs would make their appearance in our garden and in the open spaces around our house. The male frogs had their own peculiar cry which sounded like ‘Rivet, Rivet’. This cry was heard all through the day and night for the duration of the monsoon. We’d see a variety of frogs in our garden during the rainy season which we didn’t see at other times during the year.

The Monsoons also brought in sickness and illness in the form of colds, flu, fever, sore throats, coughs, etc. Our Company Hospital would be packed with people with these ailments and the doctors were kept really busy attending to patients.

 This Childhood Memories of the Monsoons in KGF article is an excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE.

4 comments:

rajan said...

Bridget, you really brought the KGF monsoon season alive. I remember the thrilling experience I had one day when I was 10. On a drizzling day we set out to Olagamadhi hill. On reaching the top the rain started pouring in torrents. There was no place of shelter except the tiger cave which was rumoured to harbour a fierce tiger. Stories about the tiger killing picnickers were circulated wildly. We held on to dear lives and stayed in the cave for almost two hours till the rain stopped. We ran back without even turning back.

Bridget White-Kumar said...

Rajan what a beautiful memory. Thank you for appreciating my article and reliving your memories of our dear KGF through it. Please do share our other memories as well. God bless

Sniper Fury said...

Than you so much for such a wonderful article,brought back my memories too..

Sniper Fury said...

Thank you so much for bringing back my memories too ..wonderful article so true.