When the night rain soaks the ground past the soaking point, when the earthen walls around the paddy melt away, when the rice plants are sucked out of the earth one by one and washed down the slope, there should be a sound, a noise announcing that something is terribly wrong.
Instead there is a ghostly hush that tells us we have lost everything. (25.WhatDisasterSoundsLike.1-2)
The rice is Lakshmi's family's life—it is their food and their livelihood. So when it washes away, they're not just losing food—they're losing the ability to work and make money, which means this loss is both practical and emotional.