Friday, 18 July 2008

Monsoon Madness

"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes," said Benjamin Franklin. If you are living in Mumbai, you will doubtlessly add one more to the list: the certainty that Mumbai will be paralysed, with all public transport including BEST buses and suburban trains suspended, for at least couple of days during every monsoon. So it was 25 years ago; so it is now.

Some of the most delightful recollections I have about Mumbai are waking up to the noise of a heavy downpour and quickly making the decision to snuggle under my blanket and go back to sleep, because one instinctively knew the train services will be off and there was no point in slogging it to the station anyway.

But it is a nightmare when the skies open up in the afternoon and the train system closes down just before the offices close. The buses are jam-packed and trying to flag down a speeding taxi is an exercise in futility. Wet, hungry, and tired, you are lucky if you manage to reach your home in the distant suburbs by midnight.

One such day, Katara and I decide to go against the grain and not go home. With most of our colleagues milling about in the lobby discussing various means of transport to reach home, we wait for a lull in the raging thunderstorm and make a quick dash to the cosy and warm interiors of Grand Hotel nearby. We sit in the near-empty bar and start drinking slowly and methodically, munching on the delightful finger-food the barman keeps replenishing, listening to the storm raging outside and talking about nothing in particular.

Close to 11 pm, we walk back in the drizzle, none too steadily, to the office which is empty save for the watchman, who informs us the train services are still down and finding transport home at this time of the night will be difficult. We nod cheerfully and walk towards the conference room. Rearranging the furniture, we spread newspapers on the soft, two-inch thick carpet, set the thermostat of the air-conditioner to a comfortable 25 degrees and are out like a light, almost instantaneously.

Next day morning, when I reach my apartment, there is a surprise. Sunitaben exhibits some real emotion seeing me back safe and sound and comes up with a hot, steaming cup of tea followed by a real, sumptuous breakfast.

Photo Courtesy: Sakura's Public Gallery, Picasa Web Albums


Vijay said...

Been in Mumbai during the monsoon once (one day morning to evening)... must really appreciate the mubaikar spirit

padmaja said...

Good strategy to chill at office!! I've never experienced mumbai rains, though heard so much about it..
My personal favourite is to perch on the window sill to watch the rain, munching some hot pakodas & sipping tea!

Velayudhan said...

Can you imagine having a bath in our pond at 0530hrs during a heavy downpour? (Brisk effervescence).

Ravi said...

In Florida when it rains -which is almost everyday in the summer-it gets even more beautiful. It is exactly like Kerala just more cleaner and not congested or artificial like California.

It is during such times that Raji and I love going to the beach to gaze at the fury of the Atlantic or drive on highway A1A, listening to good music.

A far cry from the mess of India in the rainy season just another perspective,...

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.