A Non-Mumbaikar’s Guide to Mumbai Monsoons

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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.

Oh.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Your clothes will never feel completely dry. That’s it. Get used to it.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

7 Reasons to Adopt a Cat (Maybe instead of having a baby)

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Yeah I know I’m going to get flak for this one.

Take it with a pinch of salt, okay?

And maybe with a kitten.

  1. Cats pee & poop in one designated spot. No crazy diaper messes. No clean up emergencies. And the waste disposal is definitely more eco-friendly.
  2. They literally clean themselves. Of course you should bathe them once in a while, but for the most part, they need you and your bucket of water to stay the hell away.
  3. You don’t need a babysitter for them during the day. Just leave enough food and places for them to sleep. They might not even miss you. Daycare? What’s that?
  4. You can feed them the same two flavours of cat food every day, and they’ll still scream for more. No tantrums about not having khichri or veggies. Just a lot of big-eyed-I’m-so-hungry-even-though-you-literally-just-fed-me meowing cuteness.
  5. No rebellious teenage stage. You know all those worries of what your kid is up to outside the house? All those lectures against drugs and alcohol and unprotected sex? Your cat… blissfully asleep on your lap through it all. (Though, please do get them sterilized for their own health’s sake).
  6. They’re much more economical. You don’t need to pay for their education. Or their expensive destination weddings. Or bail them out of jail.
  7. They shower you with purrs. This isn’t a comparison to a baby. It’s just one of those beautiful things that you look forward to every day with cats. It’s such a common misconception that cats don’t show love. After fostering more than 15 cats over the years, I can tell you for a fact, they shower more love on you than you can ever imagine.

P.S. Jokes apart, have as many babies as you want (because who cares about our population issue, or impact on the climate or… okay, I’ll shut up). But if you find it in you, give animals a chance as well. Monsoons have started, and it’ll soon be raining rescued cats & dogs. Open your homes, and see your lives transform.