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Home » , » Give a brief description of the activities of the rural people in Nirad C. Chaudhuri's "The River and the Rains".
In "The River and the Rains", a selection from Nirad C. Chaudhuri's masterpiece The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, the author describes the river that ran beside his native town of Kishorganj and the atmosphere that generally prevailed during the rainy season. In doing so he also records the activities of the rural people during the rainy season. His depiction of village life as he observed during his childhood period is vivid and striking.
the activities of the rural people

The author gives a very vibrant picture of the river that flew beside his native town. The people drank its water, bathed in it. Even some domestic animals like cows and elephants also took bath in the same river. The author gives a graphic description of the bathing of cows and elephant in the river water ---  "Often we ran after our cow when the servant took her down for a wash. We took up the water in our folded hands and, sniffing it, found it charged with the acrid smell of cattle. We also looked on with delight when the elephant of Joyka, a near neighbour of ours, waded majestically into the river and disported herself in it. She had a young companion, not her own calf though, who also came with heron occasions and had his bathe in the river."

During the rainy season the river became full to the brim, became swift and permitted navigation all the way through. After the first few showers when the water began to rise and soil became muddy, the river became abundant with life. The first visitors were the frogs. They appeared in groups to ravel in the water of the river. The frog kept croaking constantly throughout the day and the night and it was a source of pleasure for the children. The frogs were followed by the leeches. In the next stage came the peasants from the adjacent villages with bamboo fishing cages and small fishing nets. The fishing used to continue until the water became too deep.

The plying of the boats on the river water all day and night rendered the whole scene highly attractive. The gathering of boats at the river bank created like "small plantations of bamboo shorm of leaf". The congregation scene of the boats was eye-catching. It presents a beautiful aspect of rural life. Rural women used to collect water from the river. They appeared with earthen pots out of the jungle to collect water. The author gives a detail description --  "Down this path peasant women with earthen pitchers appeared off and on out of the dark jungle, walked into the water and bent over it, filling their gurgling vessels. We could always see the gurgling although we could not hear it. After they had filled their pitchers the peasant women went away." Rainy season brought about a great change in the total scenario of the rural environment. When the river overflowed with water, all the adjacent areas submerged and that brought the rich and the poor at the same line. "The contrast between the general poverty and the few surviving heirlooms of our river vanished for about four months every year." Rainy season also brought fun and mirth to the rural life. It provided the rural people to have unsoiled fun and enjoyment. Thus the boat race on one day of August or September became a part and parcel of the rural life in the author's childhood. Every year hundreds of boats of different colour and shape appeared in the river to compete in the race. The boat race rendered the whole atmosphere flamboyant and vibrant.

Life in the rainy season was not as pleasant as it was in the water. Everything was wet to the morrow of the bone. Neither the people nor their clothes were properly dry during the monsoon. It was troublesome for the writer and the others to move from one bed- room in a hut to the dinning room in another. Villagers used to use a line of bricks laid at intervals of two or three feet to go from one hut to another and meals were often held up by unseasonable showers. Even the birds, like crows, mynas and others, passed pitiable days during the rainy season because of tremendous drenching power of the rain.

In "The River and the Rains'" the author with graphic details records the rural environment and life that he saw during his childhood period. The rural people led a very simple life. The rainy season made life difficult but at the same time it provided them with opportunities to have diversity in life.

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