It was a lazy afternoon and I was browsing eSakal.com just to check out what's happening in "Maza Maharashtra" - my native state. The news of good rainfall in Pune's dam region was certainly promising. The thought of Pune's rain brought back some sweet memories - the memories of my childhood rain....
I used to stay in a small town in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Being in Konkan region we used to witness heavy rainfall. My first memory of rain is that of a small alley flooded with gushing muddy water. We had this alley adjacent to our fence and a farm next to it. During other seasons this alley used to provide the shortest way to reach the bus stand. But during monsoon it used to be really useless as it used to get flooded with water. Watching the rising water level in that alley was my favorite activity. Sometimes I could find water snakes and crabs swimming in that water.
Oh crabs !! They remind me of another monsoon special. In C.K.P. (Kayastha in Maharashtra - a caste) households they are known as "chimbori". This crab curry is a special monsoon delicasy in Konkan region. I remember seeing the light of tribal people's torches at night when they used to wander for crab hunting. Another monsoon-only mouth watering dish in C.K.P. homes is a wild vegetable called "shevla". My mother used to cook it with spices or sometimes with prawns or dried prawns. No matter how it is cooked, it always used to taste awesome. I used to like it so much (even today I do !!) that I used to ask mother why don't we get chimborya and shevla throughout the year?
We had a pond a few steps away from our backyard. It used to get totally dried up during summer. But after the first showers, it used to become lively with the arrival of its singer guests - the frogs !! These used to be big yellow frogs. They used to gather around the water accumulated in the pond from first showers. It really used to be a funny sight. Our early monsoon nights used to be noisy because of them. But they used to disappear with increasing rain only to appear again the next year after first showers.
My primary school was at a walking distance from home. Sometimes while coming home after school, it used to start raining. In such a situation we kids never used to take the efforts of wearing a raincoat. Just hold the school bag on head and start running. Thanks to water-proof bags !!
When I was in 5th standard, I got admitted to another school which was away from home. I needed to walk for half-an-hour to reach school. But this was a blessing in disguise as it gave a new dimension to my monsoon adventures. There was a small hill near the way to my school (It's still there...). After heavy rain fall many small waterfalls used to jump on the road from this hill and the entire road used to get flooded with knee-length water. I really used to wait for that day. On a day when the road seem to look more like a pool than a road, we friends used to play in that water and the waterfalls for a long time. So long that we used to forget about the time and my grandpa used to come looking for me.
Our another favorite game in monsoon was walking in rain without opening an umbrella. We used to do this during heavy rain fall when the school used to cut short due to flood warning. We used to get different reactions from people walking on the road. Some used to scold us, some used to laugh at us and some used to join us !! Everybody used to be aware of the unavoidable scolding of parents and/or grandparents at home, but the heavy rain always used to be tempting.
Many things have changed over the time along with me. Chimborya and shevla have become rare (Thanks to the so called development). My maternal home is shifted away from the pond. So don't know whether those funny yellow frogs still come there. And last but not the least, even the monsoon has changed.....