The Monsoon Blues

by Swatee Jog

Bella Vista Belagavi

Have you ever walked barefoot on the sea shore…holding a fistful of sand…unmindful of the happenings around and lost in thoughts…only to find that the sand has dropped?

That’s the way it rains in Belagavi.

The clouds seriously start gathering around May when amazing designs form on the Belagavi skies. The pre-monsoon showers lash the city ferociously, accompanied by the percussions of the thunder and the special effects of the lightening. The trees that looked like kids soaked in mud while at play, suddenly have a shower after months and come out smelling heavenly. The drains get choked and the rooftops cleaned.

Photo by Shivani Khapare: A scene near Belgaum

Then suddenly one June morning, the whole city is engulfed in a canopy of dark grey clouds and the skies begin their yearly chores. The Belagavi monsoon is serious business. There’s no fun and gamely hide-n-seek, at least in the first few days. It’s as if the Rain Gods have assigned serious tasks to the clouds and they must finish the same to avoid being expelled. The team assigned to Belgaum is like Maths students, complete concentration on the task at hand! The rains in Pune are jovial and vibrant, Mumbai and Goa have their own jolly rains that playfully drench the city and then run in merriment. Delhi rains are arrogant and have an air about themselves…they will come and go whenever they feel like. But Belgaum rains…the drops must be equal size, the pace is slow and steady…boring at times and the skies rarely open up to offer a glimpse of the sun.

I managed to see the moon yesterday and felt it looked like a disc of grated Gouda cheese! But it soon disappeared. Back in the eighties, when the Belagavi Over-bridge had no proper drainage system for the rainwater, the first flush filled the low lying area behind today’s Fire Dept. Office and the water gushed across the road towards Mangal Metal Works. It used to be a sight. My dad n me were once trapped in the sudden burst of water and his bike started drifting in the force of water with me clutching the handle and he walking with full strength holding the bike. I cried aloud and he kept reassuring me but when he brought me safely to Goaves, I thought he was a He-Man!

Photo: Manish Khapare

We would check the increasing expanse of the pond below the bridge to gauge the rain; that area is now a huge residential complex built by the KHB. Shastri nagar and Vivekanand colony- Maratha colony would invariably be cut-off from the city due to heavy flooding.

Rains in Belagavi almost always fill the low lying areas, especially in front of Globe cinema, Dharwad Road, Mahatma Phule Road and some parts of the inner by-lanes. The latter two are now a classic example of a slush-pit. Vehicles without proper mud-guards spray the slush on to the other tailing vehicles. The trees that once offered solace for those who’d forget their raincoats are no more around. The narrow lanes in the innards of the city too offer no shelter to the pedestrian caught off guard in the sudden pour. The civic bodies make little or no efforts to make matters easy. The bus stops have no proper shelter and the school kids run helter-skelter.

Some Mrs. Manohar is planning to make a film on Belagavi monsoon! Cool! Maybe because it doesn’t rain here like water out of a shower, rather it drizzles more than it rains, and that makes it all the more attractive.

But the same Belagavi rain brings about a veil of romanticism…the steaming chai, crisp bhajis available at many street corners, corn on the cob at Bogarves, thin streaks of fumes emanating from the roasted groundnuts with a dash of salt on the thela …The city turns green overnight and the cattle merrily graze on the outskirts. The Argan Talav (near Hindalga Ganapati) sports tiny lotuses blooming (now not visible after the wall being built by Army) and wells in Shahapur literally swell up. The first showers drop the mercury to lower levels. The drizzle inspires poets and house-wives gear up to dish out spicy stuff to beat the monsoon-blues.

That’s the fun of Belagavi Monsoon! Love, cringe or get irritated, but you can never hate it!

 

 

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Yes!!! Nostalgic
    Belgaum rain is very beautiful n this time we miaakny the belgaum rain n Belgaum temperature was a very good n this type of weather available only in Belgaum…. Belgaum is the most most beautiful place especially Rain, sunny summer beautiful city I love my Belgaum I am also born in this place

  2. Vivid account of monsoon in Belagavi. I almost brought out my umbrella. Indeed it’s fun to be wet and to participate in the ‘obstacle race’ organized by the civic bodies. They take up the road repairs just before the skies open up with uncanny precision. Thanks a lot for lighting up a mundane subject.

  3. Wow ! What pictures ..Man!!! Photographs attached in write-up are so beautiful, that they are increasing impact of nostalgic moods many-folds ! Keep it up.

  4. Hi, Ms Jog,
    Good work, very well indicated the low land area where water logs, it seems you stay in and around that area well explained. But you missed the beauty of high lands of north Belgaum. Hanuman Nagar, Azam Nagar, Veerbhadra Nagar etc. please visit these areas if you are their. One surprising thing i seen during last monsoon is boys catching cat fish and it is so big that they are selling and making good pocket money in veerbhadranagar.

  5. Lovely article! But as you said, the beautiful Argan Talav can now be no longer seen thanks to the Army. I truly wish they had not built this wall and deprived us of the lovely sight of those wonderful lakes, one of the hallmarks of Belgaum.

  6. Very nostalgic indeed! I still remember the rains hammering College Road near our school, with broken umbrella, reddened pants, dripping school-bags life used to be so soulful. Beautiful article Swatee!

  7. With your columns on the only wild and beautiful city Belgaum makes us @ home and brings the great feelings of our proud city.Keep writing and God bless………

  8. Very well written. ..Nostalgic!
    You are right about the Rain Gods taking their job very seriously…I guess , we are their favorites!! I used to love the first rain , especially in the month of May. As kids,we – Myself along with my cousins who visited us during the summer holidays, loved to get wet in that rain…and that aromatic smell of the earth …wow! it is still very much palpable sensation. I surely miss the beautiful rainbows stretching across the skies, with the sun peeping through the clouds and, feel the rain drizzle on our faces. Indeed, it is a luxury , during these monsoons, to see the Sun God make His way through those grey clouds, and bless us with His presence…. although for a short while it was enough to cheer us up for a few minutes.
    I hated when I would be all well-dressed to go to school/college and accidently step in the mud puddle, or some vehicle made mud painting on me….ew! 🙂 I guess, I have a mixed feeling about "Monsoons in Belgaum"! But how much I yearn to be there, especially when you are so far from home…
    Anyways, in short, Belgaum monsoons have their own charisma , and I guess, we Belgaumites know its ”beauty in its ugliness”! (heard in some other context , I think fits in here too!)
    Thanks for this beautiful mesmerising article Swatee,
    Keep writing!

    Your fan,
    Savita

  9. I Miss Belgaum a lot.. Specially when it comes to rainy days, Belgaum has everything to offer good weather good food Love this place I am proud and happy that i have born in this hevenly place called Belguam. I wish I could get wet in the rain and have pakoda "Bhajji" made by road side vendors love that feel Love belgaum…..

  10. I’m in Bengaluru right now & there are hardly any signs of the monsoon here.. Reading this article made me really feel good.. 🙂 Just waiting to get back home for holidays! 🙂

  11. Very intense and passionate write up.Thanks.
    We the people from Belgaum ,have been loving "Belgavi Rain"since ages.
    We admire,appreciate the monotonous,sluggish….rain of our Belgaum.
    You have forgotten about the slippery,red mud of typical Belgaum style…we love it too.
    The Belgaumites….away from B,gm will become nostalgic………
    Thanks again.
    Jaya

  12. It is like being virtually at Belgaum. I have been missing the Belgaum rains since last 4 years. The joy multiplies with the little pegs along with spicy snacks. Season to taste crabs & lots of fish. I remember during monsoon till Ganesh Chaturti you would find fish in everyones tiffin as bangada was sold at Rs 1 per piece in 1990’s.

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