Mumbai Memoir ~ Mumbai’s Monsoon Mania!
Drying my hair with a towel, as I stood in my balcony overlooking the first downpour of the Mumbai monsoon, I wondered about the unpredictable nature of life. Earlier in the day the sun was blazing hot when I had left for work, but just as the evening began to ripen, the skies above looked like a battlefield of clouds, all set to attack the people below with its loaded content. Unshielded & helpless, like fellow Mumbai’kars (citizens of Mumbai), I was victim to the menacing downpour that followed. Inspite of the panic to seek refuge under the nearest roof available, there was immense pleasure among Mumbai’kars, to see the monsoon finally arrive!
Usually the summer in Mumbai spans from March to early June, but this year the city had been ‘sun burnt’ on various fronts until July arrived! The first week of July thus brought a sigh of relief to the town as the raindrops induced new energy in a city that was almost on the verge of a ‘burnout’! The summer months in Mumbai are very hot and humid. It is not a pleasant experience for tourists, especially who hail from the western world, to explore the city during its prime summer. Temperature can hike up to 37-39 degree Centigrade, but on
an average the city is gripped with a heat wave that measures up to 32 degree Centigrade. As the summer hits its peak, a glass of icy cool lemonade (Nimbu-Paani) acts as a rescue drink, quenching one’s thirst instantly! Gulping the drink, everyone seems to fantasize about the onset of monsoon and what all they would do to enjoy it to the fullest. I guess, that’s the least one can do to cope up with the scorching heat of Mumbai.
Once the winds, storms and raindrops hit the shores of Mumbai, the whole city is washed clean of its dust, dryness and lethargy that the summer had brought in among its streets and people.
The sound of raindrops rekindles a new spirit of life in everyone who feels it’s magic. Experiencing rain is an annual affair in Mumbai, thus the vibrant changes that the monsoon brings in, usually lasts for almost a year. In India,
generally the duration of monsoon lasts from June to September. The fertility and freshness that takes birth during the monsoon is a gift from Mother Earth to its ‘earthlings’.
Because of its urban dynamics, Mumbai is not a very picturesque place to experience its monsoon magic, but Mumbai’kars still find simple ways to enjoy it. There is everything for everyone to pick up from the ‘Things To Do’ list during the Mumbai monsoon. Kids love releasing paper boats in the puddles that form around. For the adventurous ones, getting
soaked at Marine Drive is sheer bliss, as the waves from the Arabian Sea hit the Mumbai shoreline. Playing football in the pouring rain is a fun activity for the athletic ones. For the foodies, it’s a treat when hot lemongrass & ginger flavoured tea is served with fried snacks like ‘pakodas’. Roasted corn sprinkled with salt, lemon and spices stimulates the taste buds, as one witness the rains while munching it. Holding hands of one’s beloved and walking in the rain under one umbrella is a supreme ambition of every romantic Mumbai’kar. For most art lovers the arrival of monsoon acts as a catalyst in bringing out the best from within
themselves. Hindustani classical music has a specific sub-genre named ‘Kajri’ which categorizes folk songs that describes monsoons and all the goodness that it brings along. Click here for experiencing a Kajri rendition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuF2H482_h0 Hearing Bollywood rain songs while enjoying a long drive, adds to the glamour of the monsoon. The ‘urbanized’ birds, insects & animals of Mumbai too enjoy the arrival of the monsoon and seem to have their own way to seek safety and enjoy it to the fullest.
Generally most Mumbai’kars plan a ‘monsoon picnic’ on the outskirts of the city. The rain soaked natural country-side beauty around captivates one’s senses. The smell of wet soil, the touch of raindrops, the sound of waterfalls & gushing rivers & the spectacle of lush greenery, synchronises one’s finite soul with the infinite energy of nature, thus feeling recharged to
take on the rut of urban life when one returns. Monsoon in Mumbai can also be occasionally distressing, especially with the train and road routes getting waterlogged due to a nasty downpour. This usually happens if the downpour coincides with the high tide timings of the Arabian Sea that surrounds the Mumbai coastline. On a wet rainy weekend, sipping hot cup of ginger flavoured tea & hearing ‘Kajris’ on my music system, is an event that I look forward to experience during every monsoon. It’s my way of celebrating mother earth’s festival that sprouts life and prosperity in the world that nurtures us universally!