It’s taken me quite some time to finally put these words here that you’re reading on to paper (or screen, whatever medium you’re using). I promised the cool dudes who run this website I’d contribute to their wonderful initiative and if I don’t, these gentlemen would probably go out of their way and ring my neck. So after a month of postponing, pondering on what to write on and finally getting my fingertips to move, here we go!
I’m from Mumbai, to many a city of dreams and to an equal number a living nightmare. I think of it as neither. Home is home, and it is lit as #censoredcusswordwhichgotcensored. One thing you can never get used to here though, are the rains.
If you’ve ever wondered why the Indian Meteorological Department has such a low score on the “successfully predicted the onset of rain” meter, Mumbai has a major hand to play. We’ve seen cloudbursts in 2006, monsoons where the sun dominated the skies more than it should have over the next few years. Not to forget the near 24 x 7 rain last year, when all the non-Mumbaikar classmates of mine begged for it to end (it did with October), only wishing for it back when the summer from March became too much for our clothes to handle.
I think the only sort of rains we haven’t seen are snow and hail, and since the latter did happen in a country like Kenya once, I’m sure it’s a lovely thing that can happen here too.
Contrary to most of the hypocrites I know who beg for the skies to come down when it’s hot and for them not to when they do, I love and live for the monsoons each year. The overcast skies almost guarantee a cool breeze, a (more than) welcome change from the summer winds which feels like solar fart on our faces. I don’t think I’ve missed a single occasion of getting drenched in the first rains of each year, at least for the past 6-7 years.
Every time that happens the scene at home is something like this:
Me: Mom, I’m gonna take a nature-sponsored shower. I’ll be back in ten minutes!
Mom: Nothing doing, you have school/college from next week. What if you catch a cold?
Me: (no reply because I’m already on the ground floor, running at 19 kmph and jumping down the last three steps of every flight of stairs)
Mom (ten minutes later): What if you fall sick at this rate?
Me: Aww Mom, who falls sick after having a bath in the most purest source of H2o in existence?
Happens every single time. This year I sort of snuck out when she was busy in the kitchen.
Rain is like a psychological steroid, and not the sort that wanes you out after the effects wear out. There’s always something in the air apart from concentrated water vapour that just kind of amps up my brain. Thoughts become clearer. Focus and mood extensively improved. Willingness to do something substantial gets a shot in the arm. Mutant power activated.
If Cherrapunji ever gets moderately developed, I should make it a point to shift base there. I’m sure there’ll be someone who needs a good lawyer to work through the rain and get them through whatever legal pain they’re in.
I mean seriously, how can you not like rain? It comes with so many numerous features that put iPhones to shame (they suck anyway). A mild, pleasant weather. A cool breeze that’s ever flowing. An unlimited supply of water. Occasions when one is forced to sit at home. Perfect conditions when you can all sit down and have nice hot, spicy meal prepared by your MasterChef mother (she can put all those TV chefs to shame). Or to order the similar kind of meal from out (but why make the poor delivery boy get drenched for your selfish interests?). Of course there’s chai and pakodas for those indulging in excessive tea and besan addiction, which describes most of the national population aged 30+.
Not to forget an inbuilt dual-stage warning feature, giving you ample of time to get to safety- popularly known as lighting and thunder!
Sure, it gets painful sometimes. Trains get delayed because the tracks get converted in mini canals, with the benefit that one’s lack of punctuality, and if the situation gets really bad then their presences itself is excused (fukat ka chhutti, that’s what we call them). The streets start mimicking those of Venice, which is actually a bummer since for most people here “convertibles” are still Maruti Gypsies and Mahindra Jeeps with a removable soft top (I’m not even going to mention autorickshaws) rather than a four wheeler that turns into a boat. Sure, shoes get dirty, socks get wet. The best part is, you don’t sweat! (I’m not going to make so many rhymes from next time, pinky promise.)
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Please tell us in the comment section about your experiences in Mumbai's rain.