Rains fill people of Kolkata with an infectious enthusiasm and bring out the city’s unparalleled side
Monsoon induces a peculiar kind of camaraderie and zest among the people of Kolkata. As the orchestra, created by the falling raindrops, starts playing on rooftops and asphalts, accompanied by the claps of thunder and flashes of lightning across the sky, the city wears a vibrant look. While walking on the streets, it is common to hear tunes of Indian classical music resonating in the air.
Hours of bingeing on fritters, aloo chop, beguni, etc., playing indoor games, watching old classics, listening to soul music, going for long drives and more, are some major activities that keep the locals engaged throughout the monsoon season. Another thing that keeps sports enthusiasts on their toes during monsoon is football. One of Kolkata’s favourite sports, football literally takes centrestage in the rainy season. The Kolkata maidan thumps with excitement, as football players fight it out against each other and crazy fans cheer them with pride, while the showers lash through the length and the breadth of the city. For people of Kolkata, there’s nothing more enjoyable than playing football matches against neighbouring Paras (localities) on a rainy day. Kicking a football in the rain-soaked muddy fields is one of the best times spent in the rain for Kolkata residents.
DOWN THE MEMORY LANE
Even the city’s history holds an interesting incident related to the monsoon season. When Job Charnock, administrator of the East India Company and traditionally regarded as the founder of the city of Kolkata, squelched ashore on the mud-flats of the eastern bank of the Hooghly along with his companions, on August 24, 1690, there was a heavy downpour. That day, in the rainbathed afternoon, an important meeting between a group of local traders called as Bysak or Basak, dealing in cotton bales, and the Englishman (Charnock) took place under a banyan tree. To add to it, the shape of the banyan tree from afar, gave the illusion of an open umbrella covering the group!
As rain induces a general feeling of wellbeing, it also brings out the caring nature in people. Be it an aged taxi driver, driving an old couple stranded in rain, back to the warmth of their home; someone sharing his/her umbrella with a stranger while crossing the road; a group of boys voluntarily pushing a car stuck in water bringing a smile on the face of its owner; or a rickshaw-puller who draws chirpy kids back to their home after school; such comforting scenarios are common in the city during monsoon.
It is also a heartening sight in monsoon to witness children, who live on the streets, jumping with joy in mud puddles or making paper-boats and floating them in water streams. They are often seen rescuing little kittens and pups drenched in water and carrying them to safe places reflecting the purity of their innocent minds.
Text: Partha Mukherjee & Priyanka Mukherjee