Monsoon Rain

{ A personal memory about Monsoon Rains in Kerala. Written for my daughter when she was 4 years old}

Dearest Malu,

Malu, I hope you are fine and having fun. Mummy told me that you have cold and is going to doctor. This is rainy season and sometimes kids and even big people get cold and fever. That is ok so far as you have medicine and keeps yourself fine. Is it raining outside now? I can imagine you standing near the grills and watching the rain pouring outside. If you listen, you can hear tut-tut sound of the rain drops falling on “muutam”. They make lots circles in the puddle and it is fun to watch a naughty rain drop breaking the circles now and then. Sometimes it is sunny. And then… it becomes sloooowly dark and sun hides behind clouds. Is he playing hide and seek with his friends in the sky? Maybe. You could feel no sound for sometime and can see dark clouds filling the sky. And suddenly it starts raining again. Take a deep breath and you can feel nice smell when the rain falls on the grass.

It is fun playing in the rain. You can slap your feel in the puddle and can hear plup-plup sound. Extend you palm into the falling rain from the veranda and drops will do chuk-chuk on your little palm. It is cold also. But be careful, the muttam is wet and you might slip over. Also make sure that mummy dries you out well, otherwise you can get cold. You can see water flowing slowly in the muttam and if you go outside the gate, you can see water running fast in the drainage. You can sit inside and can even make a paper boat. I have attached a note on how to make a paper boat along with this mail. It is easy and fun. Mummy will help you. Then you can keep it in the water outside and can see your little boat move up and down in the water. And if you keep the boat in the drainage outside, you will see it going faster. Do not try to get it back, we can make another one.

Sometimes you think rain is really boring. Always raining and raining. Have you wondered why we need rain? Look outside, you can see the Guava tree full of green leaves and muttam is getting covered with grass. They are so because of water rain gives. Without rain, we will not have rice, and vegetables. You might think then that we can eat chicken biriyani all day. But even chicken needs water and you drink water too. That water comes from rain. But raining too much also causes problems. Water will come everywhere, sometimes even come inside houses. It is called flood, but we are ok since Ammama’s house is good and water will not come inside.

If you listen again, you can almost hear rain singing to you. It sings almost like your dance teacher saying tha-thei-thithathei. Some people think music can make rain. There was singer who lived long back called Thansen. He was living with a big king and one time there was no rain in his place. So he sang and sang a particular song and that made clouds so dark. He kept on signing and then sky opened up and rained.

But really, from where does this rain come? Ya! You know that it comes from sky. But from where sky gets that water? Everybody gets water from the sea. There is a big ocean near Ammama’s house. You ask mummy to take you there. You can go to baby beach and can see Sea. It is called Arabian Sea. It is big pot of water. It so big, you can’t see the other side of it. It is so big and you can see waves hitting against the land. It is fun to watch. Watch Ammama making “chooru”. She takes water in a “chembu” and keeps it on the stove. You will see that pot is almost full when she keeps it on stove. Sea is like that pot with water. And then sun heats up sea and water from sea goes up in the sky. If you watch Ammama’s rice pot, after stove is turned on, you can see this yourself. See that whitish smoke coming out of the pot. Where are they going? They are going UP. It is not smoke, it is vapor. Sun does the same thing with water in the sea and water becomes vapor and goes up and up in the sky. And they become clouds. Clouds with a lot water vapor will be dark in color. Pappa does not why. When the rice is on the stove, you take a clean lid and show it over the pot. See the inside the lid, what do you see? Water drops!!. See how you moved water from the pot to the lid without touching water in the pot!. Big big hills and big winds are like the lid in your hand. When big wind from sea moves these clouds in the sky, they become cool and they become water again. And that is what rain is. Big people call this, Water cycle and some other big people call this as Hydrologic cycle.

After the rain is stopped, you can go outside and see. Most of the time you will not see much water in the muttam. It rained all day and where does the water go? Some of it goes under ground and trees and plants drink it from there. Sometimes we dig a big hole in the ground to fetch water. This is called Wells. You can see a well in Achamma’s house.

The rain that you get now is because of Monsoon winds blowing from sea nearby. It will rain until September. So in Kannur now is Monsoon season, where as for Pappa in US it is summer. Funny isn’t it? The Monsoon is an Arabic word. As you know Arabic is a language they speak in Dubai, where Akkuchechi is. We speak Malayalam in Kannur and this letter is written in English. The Monsoon rains are real fun, you see sun outside and thinking that it won’t rain, you dress up. You are about to get out of the house, suddenly it will start raining. Sometimes there will be a big wind – storm – that comes with rain, you will see big coconut trees almost dancing. Sometimes there is lightning- that big flash like somebody is taking a picture of you- and thunder too. That is why climate scientists – people studying monsoon- call it whimsical, unpredictable.

There are so many songs about rain. If you go to internet, you will get many many songs there. You already know “Rain Rain go away” song. Pappa really don’t like that song. Remember the old man who was snoring when raining and bumping his head on the top of the head song. Mummy knows it and she will sing it for you. Here is a funny song for you from US

Doctor Foster went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain,
He stepped in a puddle,
Right up to his middle,
And never went there again.

You can read Gloucester as “gloster”. You see it rhymes with Foster.

Pappa got another song about a mummy and a girl going to school in rain. This is a Japanese song. Japan is a country like India and US, but it is in Pacific Ocean. Read this aloud and it is real fun

Rainy day, rainy day, I like it;
My mother will come here with my umbrella,
Pitch pitch, chap chap, run run run!

Bag on my shoulder, I follow my mother;
A bell is ringing somewhere,
Pitch pitch, chap chap, run run run!

Oh oh, that girl is dripping wet;
She is crying under the willow,
Pitch pitch, chap chap, run run run!

Mother, mother, I’ll lend her my umbrella;
“Hi girl, use this umbrella,”
Pitch pitch, chap chap, run run run!

I am all right, don’t worry,
Mother will take me in under her big umbrella,
Pitch pitch, chap chap, run run run!

Hey! “Pitch pitch, chap chap, run run run” is the sound of rain!

With lots of love