I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Mumbai Monsoons. And anyone who knows me at all, would know it’s a little more skewed towards hate than love.
I guess I’m lucky then that it only lasts almost half the year.
But with each year in this city, came more learnings – of what to expect, and how to deal with it, and how to feel confident that you can get through this (even if that confidence was shattered the very next day). Buckle in, this is gonna be a long one.
- Don’t put off your to-do list waiting for the rain to stop. This might sound obvious to a Mumbaikar, but back in Delhi, everything used to come to a halt when it rained. Like literally. Two-wheelers would wait under flyovers. You’d wait inside your houses. Because of one simple fact – there, the rain would, in fact, stop.
- Don’t fall for the tiny folding umbrellas. They’re cute and they fit in your purse. They also get blown upside down in two minutes of a windy rainy day. Go for the big ones. They’re ugly and uncomfortable as fuck, but they’ll do the job.
- Everything that can catch fungus, will catch fungus. Specially if you’re living in an old construction. You may not always see it, but you’ll surely be able to smell it. We once came back from a two week vacation, to find every surface in our house covered with fungus. From our clothes, to our mattresses, pillows and the dining table. I’ve had friends cars grow fungus on the steering wheels and car seats.
- Your clothes will never feel completely dry. That’s it. Get used to it.
- Invest in a good pair of rain-shoes. In my first year I lost a good pair of sandals. And my flip flops. Then I bought these plastic shoes full of holes in them. I have no clue what the purpose of the holes was, except to ensure that all the water that gets in, goes out. But why did it need to get in to begin with?! Two years back I graduated to gumboots. And it’s been the best investment ever. No icky water, no slipping off the feet. I felt pretty invincible. So of course monsoons made me wade through knee deep water instead, so my gumboots filled up with water and became like these buckets I had to drag along. But 99% of the time, they’re still a great investment!
- If the city is flooding (which it will), stay put. I know the instinct is to run for the safety of your home. But the truth is, you’re probably safer where you are. We made this mistake a few years back, and drove back home. It took us over 5 hours. Our car filled up with water multiple times. It fought like a brave soldier and got us home, but never started again. All this could’ve been avoided by us camping at work that night instead.
- Know that rickshaw-walas will reject you, and cars will splash you. There’s no getting away from this. Unless you have your own transport that takes you from point to point, you WILL go through a mucky season full of rejection and wading. Just remember, that at the end of the day, you’re waterproof. And nobody can really see your tears in the rain.
- BUT if you’re lucky enough to be spending monsoons indoors, settle down next to your window / balcony and enjoy it. It’s the one good thing to come out of this stupid pandemic. For the first time, I’m enjoying this season from the safety of my home. Rainy drives to Lonavala or Marine Drive were never this magical. I’m very aware of this privilege, and don’t want to waste a minute of it. I hope you don’t either.