SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: The largesse of the rain gods above. Bountiful harvest, joyous faces, mirth, laughter, prosperity and happiness. Farmers would do anything to have the good times rolling.
In more parts than one around the world, agriculturists have been known to appease the gods above, those gods who have been mythologically allocated the portfolio of rain management (or womanagement lest you think us sexist)!
A range of prayers are offered, flowers and fruits are laid at the holy altar, and frogs are brought together in matrimony. And in some cases, donkeys too!
Songs are sung and dances performed. All to please the god in question; to impress His Holiness! After all rains have such a direct bearing on the lives of farmers and their families.
But have you heard of anything remotely resembling an attempt to stop the rains from falling? (Unless of course you’re imagining that there exists a breed somewhere that is so anti-farmer and hence anti-life that it would make such a dastardly attempt.)
Well, some farmers of Mandya district are known to follow a practice which is aimed at ‘intimidating’ the rain god to stop showering his copiousness on their area, especially when it is not needed, like say, at the time of harvest!
And how do they do it?
A man is handpicked by the village elders to walk ceremoniously to the outskirts of the village on the appointed day. He is fed the choicest of mutton dishes after he has had his quota of the best toddy available. A group of men, and only men, mind you, is given the responsibility of accompanying him on his assignment.
The man, adequately fortified by long swigs of toddy, sways and weaves his way to the designated place on the outer boundary of the village. And what does he do?
He bares his bottom to the rain gods above!
The belief is the rain gods get repulsed at the obnoxious sight and cease the showering of rain on the area! Thereby facilitating a proper harvest without the produce getting water logged and damaged!
And… the bottom-baring flasher is considered the man with the ugliest looking derrieres in the village. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have got the assignment!
The rain gods have to be given a rather high dose of repulsiveness for them to vacate the area after all! And it has to be a man. Always. Not a woman.
Well… you wouldn’t want more rain would you? With someone up there getting very impressed with the sight and all that!
Statutory Warning: The headline and contents of this piece may be injurious to fragile feminists.