It’s raining, it’s pouring! Can’t step out? Fret not. Chill, relax, and have fun by yourself or with the family with these things to do on a rainy day.
Dark, dense clouds, rhythmic drumming of rain on roof-tops, the croaking of frogs all day and night, the twinkling of fire-flies at night, slimy snails everywhere; the thoughts of picnics on lush green hills, the fun and frolic in rains and under waterfalls, card sessions and lip-smacking food. As the rain comes pouring down, the nostalgic moments from yesteryear come flooding back.
Monsoon brings along many memories and so many simple pleasures like these. At times however, the murky weather, the muddy puddles, the musty smell of clothing and raincoats can make us feel just a little gloomy not to mention forcing us to stay indoors.
However, you can choose to make the most of this season! Here are some fantastic activities you can do on rainy days; to keep you cheerful, be enjoyable for the entire family while keeping everyone positively engaged.
What can be more pleasurable and peaceful than curling up on a window seat or a rocking chair with a blanket and a book (romance, suspense or any book you always wanted to read) sipping a mug of steamy masala chai /hot chocolate and listening to the sound of the rain lashing at your window pane.
When it’s raining and stepping outdoors does not look too promising; a simple deck of cards or board games can come very handy, giving hours of entertainment and amusement for the entire family (kids, grandparents) besides boosting memory and being great for family bonding.
Some traditional card games that we enjoyed thoroughly as kids were- Gulam Chor( Jack Thief/Snatch Jack), not at home(or go fish as called by some), match the card pair game(we had a set of cards with Jungle book characters to match). Once you are done playing, you can build card towers or delight the kids with card tricks.
Similarly board games like scrabble, carrom, chess, snakes and ladders, tricky jigsaw puzzles, pick the stick game, monopoly, Housie, Pictionary, name place animal thing game, memory games like guess the dish/ person game, Chinese whisper, a game of ping pong (after clearing the dining table) or a Rubik’s cube can provide equal entertainment. These indoor games can also be an excellent after dinner night game or otherwise during long train travel.
The paper from these games can be re-used to make paper boats. Take the kids out later to float and sail them in puddles or little streams of water near your house.
When you need a break from these games how about treating everyone to the most perfect monsoon snack? A plate of piping hot dal vadas with pudina chutney or crispy pakoras – onion, corn, paneer, or a vegetable of your choice like potato/cauliflower/capsicum/mirchi or even bread/cheese will do.
Use the leftover mint to make pudina chai or try cardamom coffee. If you like monkey nuts, soak them in salt water and pressure cook them. While they cook away, sit together chit chatting, enjoying the aroma; then settle down for a round of mouth-watering snacks.
Rainy days don’t need to get you down. You can make them colorful and celebrate them by hosting a theme party for the children and their friends (do invite the maid’s kids too). It need not be anything fancy. Simply ask them to put on their rain gear! Colorful raincoats, ponchos, boots or lend them some umbrellas.
Get everyone together in the kitchen and have some fun baking. You can teach them how to bake a cupcake or chocolate chip cookies. The kids will love mixing the batter (and taste it!). Once you are done with the cake frosting, get them to decorate it with fresh fruit/ chocolate buttons/ softy candy. Alternatively you can make simple fairy bread (sliced bread spread with butter and colorful sprinkles), make yummy assorted brown/ multi-grain bread/ sandwiches or even a healthy bhel (sprouts, corn, puffed rice). Get a little innovative and stuff the bhel in mini ice-cream cones! Another option is to cook some macaroni and cheese and fill up the little cones. They will love it.
Next, surprise the kids by giving them a camping experience! Pull out old blankets/ sheets and drape them between chairs/ couch. Get them huddled under the blanket tents, feast on their snacks and play to their hearts content.
If the rains have stopped, get them to put on their raincoats and flip flops. Take them down-they will love jumping in the puddles on streets.
One of the best ways to keep boredom at bay is to get everyone to help cook (and clean the mess) and have a little ‘food and movie’ get-together with family.
Food tastes so much better when it’s raining! A couple of unforgettable monsoon memories I have is my mum’s tasty prawn pickle and the other is having thinly sliced onion with vinegar and salt at my cousin’s along with my aunt’s freshly made chivda (traditional Indian snack) off a little kerosene stove and her delicious egg curry and bread (while it poured).
You can typically make any curry dish – mutton or fish. If you have barbecue grill/ skewers nothing like it- the sizzling barbecued food ( chicken, sausage, paneer) would taste awesome in this weather. Even idli-sambar, rice rasam, Chinese dishes like manchurians, fried rice, momos (if you are an expert) with schezwan chutney would make for a good monsoon meals.
It can even be kept simple– a pav bhaji, egg bhurji, instant noodles (topped with boiled egg/ omelette/cheese) bread pizzas, comfort food like vaaran bhaat (daal chawal), masala khichdi, varan phal, a pot of healthy soup or stew or mashed potatoes.
After dinner, snuggle up with a razai (quilt) and watch a movie of your choice – comedy, horror, old black and white classics or laugh away to the old comedy series – Didi’s nonstop nonsense, old Doordarshan programmes you may have grown up with like Malgudi Days/ Vikram Vetaal series on YouTube.
Going back in time, when we were kids, whenever we got together with relatives at our grandparents place, we always had an ‘after dinner assembly’. When the lights were dimmed, everyone was invited (maids, neighbors, too!) to enjoy old family pictures slide on the wall off a slide projector. So, get your old treasured family albums out and take a trip memory lane.
Rainy days are best to catch up or learn new hobbies – push yourself out of your comfort zone and write a story, sketch, paint, knit, do crochet, try sewing, gardening, playing a musical instrument, do free online courses, learn craft or some DIY tutorials for hair, make-up. All these are so easily available online.
If there is nothing else to do clean up your house – bathtub, organize your closets clear clutter, give yourself a soothing pedicure, call a friend. There is absolutely no dearth of entertaining yourself once you decide to.
Picture this – a thunderstorm, flashes of lighting and thunder, you are watching your favorite T.V show and there is a power failure! Fret not; you can liven up the atmosphere instantly-light fragrant candles, make shadow puppets with your hands, play a game of Antakshari, have a candle light dinner followed by storytelling sessions(ghost stories if you are brave) Go ahead, use your imagination and you can make the most of this time.
This season gives you a reason to head to the nearest hill stations to enjoy nature at its best. Go for a nice long leisurely walk. Leave your phone and worries behind. Focus on the weather, not on everyday life. Enjoy the nippy weather, breathe in the fresh air, stop and listen to the sounds of nature – whether it is a rusting leaf, a bird singing melodiously, the gurgling of stream water or the spray of water from a waterfall. This is also an opportunity to flaunt your rainy day wear – like those crocs/wellies or a trench coat which has been gathering dust over years.
There is something so special about rain and romance. A favourite topic/ scene in so many of our Bollywood movies (think of the Raj Kapoor- Nargis song- Pyar hua ikrar hua hai) and currently also seen even in our popular TV serials.
Can there be anything more romantic than going for a long drive with your loved one, listening to your favorite rain songs and then stopping by the roadside to have bhutta (corn on the cob) made on a hand-cart and roasted on a charcoal stove. The gust of wind, the divine smoky smell of charcoal, the spray of rain-water can be so magical. The thought of roasted corn on cob – drizzled with butter, sprinkled with lemon juice and with spices is so salivating. Imagine munching on it while walking under an umbrella, and then stopping at a roadside tea stall for a steaming hot cup of ginger tea. Yet, another simple pleasure of life.
All this writing has certainly got me hungry as well as excited. I can’t wait to do many of these activities myself. I hope you are just as excited. I am off to make myself some nutmeg coffee and then get my knitting needles and yarn to pick up on my latest hobby.
I would love to know what your favorite rainy day activity is. Enjoy the rains and Happy Monsoons!
Image source: wiki commons