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Monsoon’s blessing

29/05/2013

Monsoon vie from Les 3 Elephants

“Kerala is blessed with two monsoons” is a common sentence tourists can hear in June/July or October.

If the rain comes as a welcome relief after the heat of May, if there is an undeniable beauty in a furious storm and even more in the amazing, truly unique, light bathing the wet, cleaned land, in between two downpours, the blessing is not that obvious after several weeks of monsoon.

Nothing ever dries, nothing escapes humidity, water disrupts everything. People suffer, buildings suffer, machines suffer, vehicles suffer, roads suffer…

But this is nature’s annual (rather thus bi-annual) feast. Kerala is an extraordinary green state. From the sky it looks like a never ending green carpet, as coconut trees rules almost without rivals. On the ground, green fills your sight more than the blue of the sky. We frequently joke about Tintin’s mysterious island, where some strange meteorite makes mushrooms grow bigger than Hergé’s hero. Tropical Kerala often feels the same, with ficus growing as actual trees, where some ants are the size of a penny and big jackfruits too heavy for me to carry alone.

Considering its latitude, without monsoons, Kerala would be a desert. During the dry season (five to six months) there is strictly no rain except the occasional hot season’s night showers. In barely three months, the state gets enough rain to remain plants heaven all year long.

The first monsoon is the strongest, coming across the Arabian sea, from the South-West, it reaches Kerala quite accurately in the first days of June. The enormous clouds hits the western ghats (the mountain chain dividing South India between Kerala and Tamil Nadu) and gives during two months a very large part of their water to the state. Tamil Nadu is much drier, rain being stolen from it by the Nilgiris (other name of the ghats).

The second monsoon, in October to mid-November) is designed as monsoon’s tail, usually a lot weaker, giving at night its remaining rains on its way back to the sea.

Besides being a blessing for Nature, monsoon’s rains are hugely important for a more contemporary concerns. In fact, Kerala produces most of its electricity from the dams baring the rivers down the mountains. Weak monsoon means less electricity, and thus many, too many, power cuts during the hot seasons, when air conditioning units are running, more and more every year, to fight the heat.

With a weak monsoon, electricity cost rises (except from imported goods – mainly scandalously overtaxed French wines 😉 – electricity is the only thing more expensive than in France), poor people spend fanless/sleepless overheated nights, richer folks and shops have their generators or cheap batteries serve as a highly polluting backup, and the Tamil farmers cry because Kerala can’t sell them vital water.

So we know that our resort will suffer, serious maintenance will have to be done for the main tourism season, our house will age three years in two months, some computers or harddrives might die and my car will rust. But we still wish for a good generous monsoon and will welcome its tail also, as the land is thirsty, Nature needs its blood, and the Electricity faery is running out of magic potion.

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12 Comments
  1. Well said. And people further north eagerly await news of monsoon breaking in Kerala. Thereafter, they know that their relief from the blistering heat of the northern plains is only a few weeks away.

    • I don’t know for the North, but in Kerala these Indian holidays have been exceptionaly dry and hot. So yes, we welcome the rain… We’ll see how I feel about it in a few weeks 😉

  2. Nice to see this Beautiful article about monsoon…!!

  3. Great shot! Interesting post. We have a monsoon season here in Arizona. Soon the rain will give life to the shrubs. Your spot in the world is indeed fascinating!

    • Thank you for your nice comment.
      Interesting, I did not know about Arizona’s monsoon. How long does it last?
      Yes Kerala is a very special place, even amongst other Indian state it has a lot of particularities. I’m planning a post or two one this keralite exceptions.

      • Looking forward to your future post! June-August is Monsoon season for us over here….

  4. victoria permalink

    This text is instructive, intelligent, and positive. The bad English speaker whom I am is impressed by your excellent level, and your texts motivate me to fetch in an on-line dictionary all that I do not understand. I encourage you to continue for offering us of so good texts and thank you at least twice: one for the pleasure of reading , and the other one is for helping me to make my english better;-)) Victoria

    • Thank you so much for your comment Victoria. It’s so encouraging for me, as I always feel my English is so poor and get frustrated that I might tell much more in French. I force myself to go on in English (using online dictionnary regularly also) and improve my writing. So, with such nice feedback, I think I’m all the more motivated to persevere in that way 😉

      • victoria permalink

        Yes you can! I am waiting for your next post! I understand that you are not fishing compliments, but let me tell you that through your English the high level of your French is visible. For sure you are a writer! Then you can persevere to write in English, because: Yes you can!

  5. Well Victoria, don’t know what to answer… Thanks again, i’ll persevere 😉

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  1. Monsoon likely to hit Kerala anytime, Mumbai to get pre-showers | sambhalkezabaan

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