I’ve been pretty unimpressed by the monsoon so far. Sure, it came in with a bang. Then again, the flooding has happened mostly in the suburbs, not in the city.
In fact, the weather in Bombay has been mostly overcast with occasional sun and sprinkles. The locals said that the rains had “regularized,” meaning that they were coming mostly at night instead of haphazardly during the day. There was a time last week when a colleague of mine was convinced she wouldn’t really need an umbrella for the rest of the season.
Monsoon is really just another name for a weather pattern, a storm. Even when it pours, it never really thunders. I was inappropriately worried about the monsoon shortly before it came, but now I realize that it’s nothing to be scared of.
“Thunder never happens when it’s raining…” Today, that changed.
Okay…today wasn’t that bad for me. I don’t live too far from work, so I don’t have to depend on public transportation. But, it poured so hard, and for so long a duration, that it rendered the buses, trains, taxis, etc. useless. (Actually, at the time of this post, it has been raining for about 12 hours continuously.) People from my office began heading home early to catch the last train out. The roads were flooded – a co-worker returned from a late meeting with his suit pant legs rolled up above his knees – and cars were getting stuck in the enormous lakes that developed at the bottom of hills.
It was like a snow day! Only, it was about 80 degrees, very humid, and there was no media onslaught telling me about school, office, and street closings. Where’s StormCenter 4 when I need it?
I was told that one reason for the massive flooding was that the heavy rains were coming during the time of high tide. In order to keep the tide from mixing with the vast amounts of rainwater, and thus creating an even bigger mess, the city closes the, well, floodgates. Of course, once the gates to the sea are closed then the rainwater can’t flow out. So then you get areas flooded with 2 or 3 feet of water. Or more.
I’d also like to posit that perhaps the flooding occurs because there’s too much sh*t in the gutters! I know that it’s hard to keep a city of 12 to 17 million people (figures vary) clean, but a little education on trash disposal could work wonders. I really do love this city, but the littering drives me crazy (and, yes, the rich also do plenty of it, tossing their cigarette boxes out the car window or crumpling up their food wrappers after a wada pav snack).
A city (or a country) shouldn’t have to warn its citizens about malaria season. I know that India and Bombay are still developing, but I do think a little clean-up of the drains and gutters during the nine months of sunshine could do some real good to prevent the flooding during the monsoon.
Wading through filthy water is not fun for anyone, so I hope this rain doesn’t continue this way for too long. On the bright side, I kinda like monsoon. You did read the part about the nine months of sun, right? I think three straight months of gray, rainy days is a good trade-off.