In West Bengal we are supposed to have six seasons—summer, monsoon, early autumn, late autumn, or ‘fall’, winter and spring—having more or less two months for each season. Though this is the traditional break-up of six seasons, only four seasons appear prominently—summer, monsoon, autumn, and winter.
The mutation is the law of nature and in keeping with this law of change, the seasons in West Bengal come and go in a cyclic order. And in this cycle, the rainy season or monsoon is the second in West Bengal. It comes after summer and extends from mid-June to mid-August and covers the Bengali months of Ashar and Shravan. In this season the sky remains overcast (with cloud). The rains bring relief from the excessive summer heat. The trees and vegetation which were about to dry up are now vibrant to look as they put forth verdant green leaves. Even the land—we walk on appears carpeted with green grass. Dry ponds and rivers are now filled with water. Frogs croak in joy and fishes (various types of fish) dart to and fro in the water of ponds, ditches and rivers.
The rainy season is of great importance to farmers. The rainwater softens the land and renders it fit for cultivation. The farmers plough the land and sow seeds or plant the seedlings. Without rains, the earth would have lost her fertility and nature her beauty. But in case of too much rain, rivers get swollen and the flood washes away the crops and sometimes takes a heavy toll of life and property. A heavy downpour for a few days together makes the people of towns and cities waterlogged. Diseases like cholera may break out and sometimes cause an epidemic. Thus the rainy season becomes sometimes a curse and sometimes a boon.
Yet most people of Bengal welcome the rainy season most heartily and so do I. We look forward to the first showers after the irritating summer heat. People sweat and pant in summer. Naturally, they rejoice when they see the monsoon clouds pile up in the sky, and with a roar and rumble and blinding flashes of lightning, the rain comes pattering down.
The rainy season fills not only our life but also our literature at every level. A child hears songs about the rains in the cradle. A grown-up man reads of it in literature. Great poets like Kalidas, Vidyapati, Jaydev and Rabindranath have composed immortal lyrics in praise of the season. It is our favourite season as it is the most important of all seasons and without it, we would have no food. If the rainfall is not sufficient, there may be a failure of crops and famine may break out. Thus, it is the season that affords us both pleasure and profit.