The smell of fresh wet earth is immediately sensed by my olfactory nerve and leaving all my work I rush to the balcony of my house to catch a glimpse of the first showers of this monsoon. The air is full of moisture and the smell is intoxicating. The sky is covered with dark clouds and this reminds of scenes from Mani Ratnam’s movies.
As the first showers start, the streets are filled with hawkers who set up stalls to sell various food items that can be relished during the rains. India is so rich when it comes to varieties of food that each season has its own specialties and further each state too has its own specialties.
As the rains continue, one can find people thronging the numerous “chaat bandis” where one can get a taste of spicy chaats such as ragada patties or even the paani puri or gol guppa. Another monsoon favorite is the corn or bhutta where in the entire corn cob is roasted on flame and then garnished with lemon and red chilli powder.
But my all time favorite is the “mirchi bhajji” that is very famous in Hyderabad where I stay. Mirchi Bhajjis are basically made out of fat green chillies that are stuffed and fried in oil and they are best eaten with onions and tomato chutney.
As a child I loved monsoons for the simple reason that whenever it rained heavily our school declared a holiday and that meant I could lie down on my bed and read my favorite novel while my mother would make hot mirchi bhajjis. Also, after cajoling my mother she would yield in to my cries and let me go and play in the rain which I loved the most. Getting drenched in rain and feeling the first showers hit the face was something that I still cherish. As you walk along any street, you will see children making paper boats and set them in the water that would have accumulated after the rain. The happiness on the faces of the kids when they see their boats sail is something that is truly unforgettable.
As I grew up, the paper boats made way for hot chocolate and coffee and piping hot samosas or the corn together with the book and some really nice music playing in the background.
These days though my activity during the monsoons is to make myself a cup of steaming hot coffee and sip it staring at the rain. This is the best stress buster that has always worked for me as watching the rain fall is magical and it also symbolizes that once the rain stops the cloud cover passes and it gives fresh lease of life, much like in life where there might be several instances where we lose hope but then the clouds pass and we are shown the path again only to bounce back to life……