Barefoot Notes: Kaans

Such fairness have I ever seen,
On tender stilts and blades like steel
Of greens and yellows, of red-tipped reeds
Standing boldly in rain, gently swaying in breeze.

What name do they call you,
Whose song do you sing,
Do you speak of the aging seasons,
Have you a message in your wisps woven?

They call me Kaans, or Kansh, and Kasha
I sing of the clouds that retreat beyond
And I speak of the sun, glaring over the plains
And I rise to bid farewell to the last shimmer of rains.”
Kaans - Saccharum spontaneum
Kaans (Saccharum spontaneum) is probably the most beautiful grass of central India. One can see fields of their fair-spikelet swaying in the cool monsoon breeze in meadows and paddy fields, as if someone planted them there to adorn the green monochromes of rice.
The flower-heads of Kaans fly through the air as the season ages, dispersing seeds and claiming new territories
Their blooming is said to indicate that the end of monsoon is near. By the beginning of September, their fair-heads will loosen, and soon after fertilization, their seeds, one by one, will single out and fly aimlessly, guided by the wind, to find another place to settle in.
Kaans is a symbolic way of nature to express the end of a season
Their blooming right at the beginning of August this year is said to be a sign that monsoon is almost at its end. Already. We experienced periods of hot climate lately that is unusual for August in this part of central India, with bouts of severe rains often after extended intervals. There’s El Nino to blame for this year’s poor rainfall, but if this trend of severe rains and prolonged hot periods continues, then this is it: this is indicative of changing climate. And that is what Kaans seems to be saying, albeit subtly.
August has seen longer hot days and shorter intense showers, putting crops at risk of drought and disease
The paddy of central India received a respite only in mid-July, when we were the happy recipient of preposterously intensive rainfall, and just when the farmer had given up on rain. It had rained so much and so loud that our residence was threatened by flooding twice within a week. By the beginning of August, rain literally seemed to have faded away, and only a distant rumble and lightening kept us awake. Today, although fields are green and soil moist, monsoon seems to have taken a respite that is most dangerous for crops.
Play of sun-and-rain were also a frequent norm of monsoon this August, something witnessed only during the retreating
season of September-end
Temperatures are on a rise, and so is humidity, and every hot day saps away the moisture from earth, and exposes young saplings to disease outbreaks.

Only the end of monsoon will make the picture clear, but Kaans has already hinted at what’s to come.


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