…almost. It rains sporadically and is interspersed with huge stretched of bright, hallucinatory sunlight after all the smog gets washed down. The monsoon is a season that has been particularly dear to my heart, despite the muck, the filth, the chronic woes of getting drenched in the middle of the road trying to hail down them snapperdashers of autorickshaw drivers who seem to have the sole mission to pass one at top speed and hose one down with a spray of mucky water. Of course, with leptisporosis and other sick making germs happily proliferating in that conducive culture.
The monsoon in Mumbai is a cruel beast. One enjoys the romance of it all for approximately two grey days post which the lines of never drying laundry start getting entangled in one’s hair in various rooms of the house, and one looks wistfully for a crack in the clouds to suggest that the sun is coming peeking out.
And then there is the very real question of what to wear. Jeans are a plus and a minus. For a cold blooded person like me who shivers through the slightest hint of a chill, it keeps me warm. But sodden jeans do not feel good. When completely drenched, walking in wet jeans feels like you have a dwarf clinging to each leg, weighing you down.The good shoes and the bags have to be packed away regretfully, and the ones tottering on their last legs brought out to be finished off. Tshirts that dry off easily and don’t do the Ram Teri Ganga Maili waterfall sequence tested for transparency factor and only then pressed into service. The windcheaters brought out of storage, checked for wear and tear and after much rolling eyed “What Was I Thinking When I Bought This Colour” aired out for particularly wretched, wet days.
Then there is the hair. Which generally flops around miserably and refuses to hold a style, given that the humidity in the air makes it a frizz out completely.
These niggles apart, there are some things I love about the monsoon. And yes, they primarily fall in the category of edibles. Roasted bhuttas from street side sigris smeared with salt, chilli and lime. Chai Pakoras with friends over a long gupshup session. Boiled groundnuts, to be shelled and eaten over long rainy evenings when you have nothing to do. And yes, there’s all that time you don’t spend bustling around the city because it’s raining cats and dogs, that one can now devote, without guilt, to that ever growing pile of books by one’s bedside. Yes, much reading will get done. And a fair amount of writing too, one hopes. Weight will be gained because the walks stop. Comfort food will be eaten. The house will smell musty from being closed most of the time to prevent the rain from coming in with the gusts of wind and drowning all the electronic goods. Weekends will be spent wiping the mould from the woodwork.
Do I love the monsoons. Not really. I used to once upon a time. My romance with the season is done. I’m older and more practical about things, and I worry about the kid catching a cold, and clothes not drying. About the roads flooding and getting stuck enroute. About cloud bursts happening and drowning my city.
Maybe, I should just sit by my window and watch the majesty of the clouds roll in and get overwhelmed by their magnificence. Maybe I should go out and buy cheerful rain gear. Yes, maybe that would help me get back my love for the season.