The arrival of the first rains of the season always brings in the same excitement of finally seeing that long-awaited guest at your doorstep. After the soaring temperatures and uncomfortable heat during the summer months, the monsoons bring in much-needed respite to Goa’s land and its people.
With the rhythmic pitter-patter on the roof and the frequent thunders, the rains have a musical way to announce and celebrate their landing.
In Goa, the onset of the monsoon season begins at the start of June and lasts till September. The state experiences an average of 330 centimeters of annual rainfall. The monsoons in Goa are truly blissful to witness with landscapes coming alive by simply transitioning into shades of green.
By the end of May, Goans wait in anticipation for the rains and make all sorts of preparations from repairing houses, cleaning drainage systems, stocking up essentials like dry fish and red chilies to purchasing rainwear.
Rains are welcomed with open arms, sometimes even with a little dance celebration as they shower blessings of prosperity and fulfil the hopes of Goa's agrarian community. Here's why rainy days are even more special in Goa:
A REFRESHING MAKE-OVER
Goa is often deemed to resemble paradise, but during the monsoons, its beauty is simply overwhelming. Nature's capacity to come alive unfolds right before the eyes. The best glow-up Goa receives is when the rain gently falls on its land, washing its streets clean and turning everything wet, misty and green.
Apart from nature, Goan houses also get a new look with blue tarpaulin sheets being used as cover against the rains. Markets are transformed with extra protective covers and every alternate shop sells colorful umbrellas, raincoats and sandals.
Rainy days in Goa have their own charm. Some glimpses to notice are birds flapping their wings in an attempt to dry themselves, kids trying to wet each other by simply stepping into every puddle, young adults holding on to their umbrellas as it flips over against the wind, some covering their heads with an old piece of plastic etc.
Sometimes the most picturesque moment occurs when a rainbow makes an appearance over the lush green fields.
The gloomy weather and rains drumming on rooftops call for a celebration with some steaming pakodas and masala chai. Adapting to the changing season and the cool climate, Goans ensure they keep warm with some delicious meals.
The food preparations during the rainy season are wildly delicious. Warm comfort foods like hot soups, steamed patoleos, choris pao and papads are quite a preferred choice. The scarcity of fish during these months is substituted by dry fish.
Tempted with the season's specialities, people halt at street stalls to savour freshly roasted sweet corn despite the drizzle. In Goan households, the earthy scent of the rains often mixes with the smell of frying pakodas.
Although employees stuck at the office can’t run out and feel the rain on their skin, a hot cup of chai is enough to lift their spirits. With frequent power cuts, Goan families gather at their balcaos and enjoy the rains with some boiled chickpeas and peanuts.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE!
Following the hot summers, the rains bring in the much-needed water essential for life to flourish. After a downpour, water doesn’t just accumulate in Goa's swelling rivers/ streams and the puddles along the roads; it makes its way everywhere.
No matter the pre-monsoon precautions, there is always a leaking roof that goes unnoticed and causes a puddle inside the house. People also try to squeeze into packed local buses with their umbrellas dripping water on the rest of the dry passengers. Raincoats that claim complete coverage can’t suffice the Goan rains as water somehow seeps through, leaving one wet and cold for the rest of the day.
With the incessant rains and unplanned development works, many Goan streets submerge under water. Entire lanes appear like a community swimming pool, with vehicles speeding and spraying a good amount of water to completely drench a bystander.
The rise in water levels also results in shops and homes being flooded causing loss of property and goods. Sudden breakdown of vehicles, uprooted trees, traffic and accidents are common during the monsoons in Goa.
THERE'S SO MUCH TO DO
The musty smells and the dampness of the rainy weather sometimes dampen the mood. When there's a heavy downpour outside, being productive is difficult. The cool rainy days, seem to make for the perfect excuse to stay indoors and watch Netflix and chill. But in practice, there is much to do during the monsoons in Goa.
From trekking up to waterfalls, cycling around Goan villages to walking along the beach, the soothing climate and lush greenery provide a much-needed breather. Finding joy in letting the raindrops fall like needles on the skin, chasing the croaking frogs, making paper boats, getting some dirt playing football and much more.
The monsoons are quite a festive season in Goa. A number of colourful indigenous festivals and feasts are celebrated like Sao Joao, Chikal Kalo, Sangodd, Bonderam and Patolleanchem Fest. These celebratory events involve the entire community coming together, dancing, enjoying the seasonal produce and thanking God for the rains.
For those who are unprepared, the rains might bring in some pain. But the familiarity and fond memories the monsoon brings go on to calm the mind and refresh the soul.