Friday, Aug 19, 2022
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Childhood

Singing Frogs & Sinking Roads: Experiencing The Monsoons In Smalltown Bihar

In those simpler times, bullfrogs croaking to monsoon rains were an unending cause for entertainment and curiosity that is sadly lacking in the big city.

Emerald toy: From the writer’s childhood trunk of memories Images Courtesy: Ashutosh Salil

Bullfrogs. Every monsoon, they pour their heavy voi­ce into me as if my ears are made just to usher the husky, yet loud, noise they make, now only in memories and nostalgia. As a kid, I thou­ght frogs sang and had a band of their own, like my own school band with a bandmaster in atte­n­dance. With the overcast sky and the dark clouds in the milieu, they would get into the act. The master would initiate, and would soon be follo­wed by the band of disciples, all singing in a synchronised voice. Their noise wobbled at first, changed scales, and then we got accustomed to it, as they too fell into the same pitch, volume and intensity, like that of a marching band walking past the ceremonial dais. The song seemed their way to welcome the first drop of rain on the parched land. I did not know if they practiced, but one felt they too were deep into riyaz, like vocalists practicing Megha Malhar.

Our mohalla was sparsely populated back then. It had lots of lowland and marshes that would turn into some provisional puddles during the monsoons. Come rain, and those bodies of water were acquired by the frogs. Literally, thousands of them. It felt as if we lived in the kingdom of frogs. They came in all sizes and hues. Many of the male frogs would turn yellowish from the dull olive-green colour while mating, to attract females. Back then, we thought as they grew old, they cha­nged colour.

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