The small rivulet which flows through the jungle was innundated during one monsoon. Our play ground looked like a sea with a sheet of ankle deep rain water. The recently planted paddy in our fields were submerged under a vast blanket of murky water, no trace of land was visible, except for the small island like land masses with trees which provided shade to the workers during summers. A flood had occurred and the incessant rains had made the life of the village folks miserable. The market place became a muddy pit in the rains.
The children of the village had no other options but to stay indoors most of the time. Some went in groups with nets for catching fish in the running water. Catching fish with nets was easy as all one had to do was to put the net at the right place and wait for the fish to move into the net in the fast moving the water.
I remained mostly indoors. I observed a group of hornets building a nest in the shade at our backyard. The worker hornets seemed busy all throughout the day and collected wax from trees and leaves. They didn’t seem to get wet in these excursions. When I asked Ravi the reason behind their dryness, he said that rain water fell in drops and had huge gaps between each drop. The hornets were swift & could make their way between these gaps without getting wet. I sat and observed their construction all day, while the rains kept pouring from the heavens.
The rains had temporarily halted one evening. The clouds disappeared and a bright sun appeared to light up everything fresh and clear. The air looked free from dust and smelled of flowers. The children were delighted at the sudden change of weather and some of my friends hurried towards the innundated fields. Rajan was going to make a raft that day and said that whoever reached the fields first would join him for a trip on his raft, in the water.
By the time I reached there, the senior guys had felled some plaintain trees from the nearby jungle and were busy tying the trunks of the trees together & building a platform of some kind on the water. I later learnt that that was a simple raft which people made during flash floods to keep themselves from getting drowned in the water.
Soon the raft took shape and all the eight members of the gang jumped on it. The senior guys took the oars as we started floating on the waters. The water wasn’t much deep in the fields but near the river the current was strong. We avoided going near the river while those who came with small hand held nets, tried catching fish from the raft which was floating and moving slowly around the field. All of us oared by turns and floated all around the field till the clear skies darkened with clouds.
A light drizzle put an end to our water expedition and by the time the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour, the members had abandoned the raft and reached their homes.