The monsoon has reached Mumbai and even after so many years here, the first rains bring a special joy! There is something about the monsoon. It is the difference between the economy flourishing or failing. It is the delight of dancing in the warm rain. Children playing, laughing with abandon, splashing about soaking wet. There is a different light in the sky, a different scent in the air, the feel of life pulsing strong, plants and trees take on a lush rich green hue, bursting with renewal.
The signs of the coming monsoon have been visible for weeks with the ubiquitous blue tarp popping up all to offer a modicum of cover to the everyday life on the streets, stores and even hospital emergency entrances. Roadside shops are filled with umbrellas, colourful plastic backpacks and the latest fashions in monsoon chappals (sandals). Thus prompted, I dug out my favourite monsoon footwear (aka flip flops) and flimsy umbrella, ready to venture forth knowing fully well I will be drenched the moment I step out regardless of precautions.
And did I pay heed to any of these preparations when running errands this weekend? Nope! When the deluge came, I found myself in regular shoes not meant for puddles, missing an umbrella and trying in vain to find a rickshaw. Clearly I had company in being caught off guard – every year people and vehicles need a day or two to re-discover their monsoon tactics. For some reason, I not only found my predicament amusing but couldn’t help thinking of how it is essentially no different from the first serious snow in Canada. Drivers especially forget how to navigate icy or slushy roads with all that white stuff falling, somehow surprised by the an annual occurrence of winter weather that lasts, oh around 6-9 months each year.
And just like in Manitoba, soon after the initial days of careening about, children enthusiastically playing for hours in the snow, refusing to come indoors from the cold, after a while winter becomes normal and just another day. Same here in Mumbai, where a mere inch or two of water today causes havoc… in a week, we will all be merrily trudging through a foot or more with aplomb. Rick stuck? No prob, we’ll hop out and push. The road has become a river? Easy! Keep revving the engine as you slowly plow through – just don’t stop and you’ll make it!
Soon enough the city settles into the monsoon rhythm battling internet, cable and power cuts, clogged drains bringing diseases, wet clothes never dry and dry clothes become moist even tucked away in cupboards, mould forming on just about anything, companies functioning at half strength when trains slow or stop and staff can’t reach… yet still business and life carries on. No different than Manitoba where a mere blizzard at most shuts the city for a day, possibly with a record number of “blizzard baby” births 9 months later!
So whether its Maharashtra or Manitoba, mother nature can smile benevolently or throw a temper tantrum. Life will go on, we all adjust and for now, I’m just going to enjoy the early rosy romance of monsoon… relax to the rhythmic pounding of the rain, maybe curl up with a good book and hot cup of tea. Yup – that sounds about the perfect way to welcome the monsoon to Mumbai!
Are there any weather changes that entrance or frustrate you at first only to later become ‘hum ho’ everyday?