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Only Happy When It Rains July 26, 2008

Posted by KG in India, Mumbai.
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There’s only one thing about this year’s monsoon that makes it worthy to write about — the fact that it has barely happened.

We’re more than half way through the traditional monsoon season. A surface description of the usual weather sounds bleak — tropical storm type rains, flooding, the occasional typhoid outbreak. In many ways, it’s like winter back home, when people expect to get ill, bunker indoors, and wait the weather out. But it’s also a bit different, because in addition to encouraging folks to stay in, the monsoon also gives Maharashtra and the rest of India the vast majority of its rain. A light monsoon means that farmers’ crops fail, water levels drop, the pollution hangs in the air, and everyone suffers more. This summer has been particularly bad; we’ve had three or four days of completely insane downpours punctuating long spells of dry, hot, humid weather. The same weather that has given us the chance to explore the city has been very bad for the country as a whole.

Today is day two of some change — long, sustained rains as opposed to the blustering downpours we’d previously seen this season. The rains have dashed our plans to go down south and explore some new neighborhoods. But personal desire-scuttling aside, the weather is really welcome. I’m happy sacrificing a weekend out if it means this city gets some fresh water.

When I was a kid, I never understood why my family in India welcomed and celebrated the monsoon. After being here during a time when the monsoon didn’t come, it all makes much more sense.

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