Readying For The Rainy Season
Planet Goa|Volume 9 Issue 7

IN the seventies, the monsoons meant a big, momentous event mainly due to the sheer intensity of the rains. So why did one have to prepare for the monsoons? Because once it rained, it simply poured and poured. And it stayed put for four months, hiding the sun behind a blanket of thick grey clouds.

Pantaleao Fernandes

Tiny gaps in the roof meant that the water would come pouring in making puddles all over the house. Sometimes it would leak right over the bed, wetting the mattress or over the firewood or even on provisions stacked up! One can only imagine the disastrous consequences of such an occurrence.

So immediately after winter ended, the biggest worry was to secure the roof above our heads and gangs of men descended on the Mangalore tiled roof and checked for broken tiles, snapped battens or rotting rafters. Once in three years, the entire roof was dismantled, cleaned and refitted. On the rear end of the house – above the bathroom and toilet, locally made clay tiles were placed over a grid of coconut rafters and bamboos. This section had to be overhauled completely. Use of nails was avoided to prevent splitting the bamboos and a spool of string was used to fasten them. It was almost akin to a stitching job, thereby earning the name “Ghor Shivop”.

Once the roof was settled, the men turned to the thatched roof a small outhouse which required complete replacement. This outhouse was specially built away from the house to store the corrosive sea salt. It was placed in a cow-dung coated bamboo basket and small quantities were carted in as and when required. The salt was bought in bulk as it was not available in the market during the monsoons. Remember these were the day before the table salt became popular.

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