Express News Service
KOCHI: At 1 p.m. the serious cloud build-up started. Two hours fifty minutes later racing cumulus extinguished the sun and left everything washed in an inky violet light. At 4.50, announced by deafening ground-level thunderclaps, the monsoon finally rode into Cochin. The cloud-base blew through the trees like smoke; rain foamed on the hotel’s harbourside lawn and produced a bank of hanging mist opaque as hill fog.”
In his aptly titled book ‘Chasing the Monsoon’, British travel writer Alexander Frater captures India’s deep-rooted connection to the yearly phenomenon. It is not just a happy, romanticised version of the rains. He sketches its poignant side, too — the deluge, the loss. An ideal read, with steaming cuppa, for the rainy season.
Every year in June, the Southwest monsoon reaches the Kerala shores with torrential rain. Of late, the word ‘rain’ evokes mixed emotions in Kerala. The scars of 2018 are yet to heal. However, there is something mystical about the monsoon, the petrichor.
“Without fail, it will be here on the first day of school,” quips artist T R Udayakumar as he goes on a nostalgic trip. “Though they were days of poverty, though the uniforms would get wet, though the roads would be muddy… one would fall in love with the rain.”
Over the past five years, he says, the Kottayam Art Foundation has been welcoming the rainy season with its ‘Monsoon Art Fest’. “We started the event in 2018. What better name could we give an art festival that happens in late May or early June? We usher in the rain, welcome the monsoon, with our works,” he adds.
Nearly 200 artists have joined this year’s monsoon fest at the Durbar Hall in Kochi. “About 500 artworks are exhibited here,” says Udayakumar. “From established artists to newcomers, who are just completing their fine art courses, artists of all ages are part of the show.” Not all…