Late Monsoons in Malnad

The rains are two months late this year and afterward the drizzle has been non-stop for several weeks now. They've taken down the berries in good numbers in Sakleshpur, where the rains are most intense in our district. In Ballupet, on the fringe of the coffee belt, the rains are less than in Sakleshpur. But the berries are on the ground in Ballupet as well. The crop across the entire belt was poor last year, whereas this year the coffee blooms were plentiful. They signaled a fine harvest to come when they turned into berries and weighed down the long, slender branches. But these late monsoons have doused those hopes.

The speedy stream through a fellow-planter's estate

The speedy stream through a fellow-planter's estate

The drops fall in an incessant soft patter on the roof and on the leaves of the coffee plants and the silver oaks and the other shade trees. The gray and the prennial sound of rain and the as-yet-unreconciled loss are together a cold dismal brew. But the planter has known disappointment and has lived with it for years; so now he is busy securing the best yield he can in the situation. This week, his workers are pruning the plants. They're pulling out the "sucker" branches so nourishment flows to the branches that have berries on them. They're arranging the sucker branches with their lush leaves round the slim trunks of the plants, for them to rot there and nourish the parent. Mulching, they call the process.

Only the cement-topped drying yard is free from slush—and the rocks that flank the plantation streams. Upon rocks green moss has grown and is multiplying. On the drying yard the growth is gooey and transparent and when you walk on it, and if you aren't in the moment, you fly. I was carrying a large camera in hand. I watched it go down thudding when I slid and landed on my back. To get back up, I slid broadside, inches each effort until I reached a railing. I checked the ground rubbing the soles of my boots on it, and after a time I rose. I was fine. My camera was scratched and its flash-shoe was crushed.

I must've looked clumsy, in how I fell and got up. And I was with three others. But I'm advanced in age and so I felt no shame and in two minutes after I was up I went down and shot some pictures. Here's one, of the stream that runs through Bheemeshwara Plantation. It was speeding down to Kempu Hole.