Mumbai’s relationship with the rain is filled with joys as well as some tears. People in the city share their monsoon musings
It’s been raining and pouring in the city as July has brought the rains in full sway after a largely dry June. While there is the change in weather with coolness and greenery there’s also the mucky and potholed roads that one has to deal with. A few people in the city share their love-hate relationship with the Mumbai monsoon.
Schoolchildren making the most of the rains. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Slippery and dangerous
For 68-year-old Kesarben Gala, Matunga resident the monsoon is a time when her neighbours come and ask her if there’s leakage in her house. She says, “We live in an old building that is in urgent need of redevelopment.
My husband and son go to our shop and generally I am alone in the house, rushing from one room to another with a bucket in hand trying to ensure that my house doesn’t end up getting flooded. I dislike the rain as it causes leakage and a threat that our building may fall. I am also afraid to venture out as the roads are slippery.”
Umbrellas overturning are an everyday affair when it pours. Pic/Bipin Kokate
A good memory of the rain for Gala is of the time she spent with her husband taking her children to school almost 40 years ago. She says, “My husband and I moved from Gujarat to Mumbai and we always took our children to school together.
He would go to work after that and I would come back home. My children loved making paper boats and playing in the rain. The monsoon has some of the best memories associated with my life and younger days.”
Andheri resident Albert D’souza has had a number of bike mishaps during the monsoon and so doesn’t like the season at all. The 23-year-old says, “I love riding my bike but during the monsoon with the potholes and wet roads I have fallen and met with many accidents. I have had a fracture almost every monsoon.”
His hate for the rains started when he was in school, D’souza adds, “Many of my friends loved the rain in school. I always disliked it. Getting wet causes a fever which forces you to stay at home. I hate being in the house and so the rain and the illnesses put me off. What I like about the rain is that it makes you feel sleepy and when it rains I get sound sleep.”
Walking in the rain
For student Disha Gala, 21, the rain is all about Bandra Bandstand and time with friends. She says, “I love walking along the sea face and stepping in the water during the high tide when it rains. Yes, it is dangerous but my friends and I always go there to enjoy and so far nothing has happened to us which is testimony to the care we take while enjoying in the rain.”
Getting splashed with muck by cars is what Gala hates as she says, “These car drivers always like driving fast on water-logged roads, drenching people walking on the road with the dirty water. I hate walking on the roads in Mumbai during the rain. I wish I could just stay at home and sleep rather than go to college.”
For 40-year-old Yuganand Shetty treks and picnics in Karjat and Kalyan during the monsoon makes the rains a great time for him. The Mulund resident says, “I love the greenery all around and as a person who loves nature I rush on the weekends for picnics with my friends. I love collecting different kinds of leaves and sticking them in a scrapbook that I maintain. The monsoon is the best time for me to add to my collection.”
Water-logged roads and wet clothes is what Shetty dislikes about the rains. He says, “I am a cleanliness freak who hates dirty clothes. The waterlogged roads make clothes wet and dirty which I hate. I keep a spare set of clothes and shoes at work so that I am neat and clean. The rains get on my nerves because of the muck and dirt in the city.”
Kishor Jain, 46, a businessman at Zaveri Bazaar, says, “I love making batata vada and pakodas when it rains. My family really likes it when I prepare these hot items. Generally, I don’t like cooking but when it rains, the chef in me is awakened. I also make hot tea to go with these snacks.”
Jain doesn’t like the multi-tasking that the rains force a person to do. He says, “I listen to music on my way to work from my house at Lalbaug and when it suddenly starts pouring I have to juggle my phone, briefcase and umbrella which irritates me.
A few times my phone has slipped and fallen, getting damaged in the process. I now use a cheap phone during the rain, preferring to keep my expensive smartphone at home. After suffering losses due to damage to my phone, I prefer to be safe rather than sorry.”
Shweta Gada, 23, an interior designer, loves water and calls herself a water babe. The Matunga resident says, “I love the water, be it the sea face or water parks, so no doubt the monsoon is my favourite season. I love getting wet in the rain. There are times when I fall ill because of my love for getting wet, but I have a way to get round that now, which is having a nice warm bath.”
The rain hasn’t been an entirely happy time for Gada, as she has fallen a number of times during the monsoon. She says, “Four years ago, when it was raining heavily I had this really bad fall which resulted in a hairline fracture. I wear rain shoes even if it drizzles a little as I don’t want to get hurt again. I walk very carefully and slowly now when it rains, to avoid slipping.”
Chembur resident Nitish Suvarna has a rain phobia after he lost his brother in the July 26 deluge nine years ago. He says, “My brother was working at Saki Naka and drowned in the water. I still remember that day; I was in school at that time and when I came home my parents were very worried about my brother who was unreachable.
The next day, we were called by the police and informed that my brother had died in the rain after drowning. As a result, I get very scared and rush home every time it rains.”
Suvarna likes eating hot corn in the monsoon. He says, “A little rain is good and makes the weather pleasant. I like eating corn with my friends. The taste of corn with the pitter patter of the rain calms me; even though I hate the rain.” Liam Rodrigues, 15, doesn’t like the rain as he is scared of the thunder and lightning.
The St. Xavier’s College student says, “As a child, I always hid under the bed cover when I heard the thunder. Now I have outgrown that habit, but rain with thunder and lightning still gives me goose-bumps. However, I love to play football in the rain and when I am playing the game my fear goes away.”
The rain means football time for the Andheri resident and his friends. Rodrigues says, “Even though playing football in the rain often ends up with us falling ill and getting fever, the fun we have makes us rush out with the ball in hand as soon as it rains in the evening. I don’t mind falling ill, as football is my passion and the rain makes the game better and more fun.”
Human resources professional Samruddhi Pawaskar loves the rains when she doesn’t have to go to work but hates it when she gets caught in a downpour. She says, “As a child I could spend hours looking out of the window as the rain fell.
I loved writing my name with the water droplets, and still do it sometimes. When I have to go to work I hate if it rains as I get wet and have to wade through water-logged roads.” Lalit Jain who lives at Charni Road says, “I love going for long drives in the rain. But the rain also makes my car mucky and dirty.
Keeping my car clean and dry during the rains is a major problem. My family gets really angry with me as I do not allow them to enter the car unless they are dry, as I am very particular that my car’s interior doesn’t get spoilt. During the rains, ensuring that is tough.”
Pulama Bose, a media professional from West Bengal who lives and works in the city now, says, “I love the thunder storms in Bengal as the rains there make nature come alive. Here in Mumbai, the rains are nothing but a nuisance.
The roads get flooded, there are traffic jams, the trains are never on time and getting a bus, rickshaw and taxi is troublesome. I was a lover of the rain but now I hate the rains.”
Now staying in the United Arab Emirates, but back in Mumbai for a vacation, Priyanka Chopra, a media professional, says, “I love the rains, ever since I was a child; I had a huge home with a lot of greens around me, while growing up.
It often used to feel as though the rains used to light them up. Over a conversation, the smell and sound of rains used to feel great while sipping some chai with my family members.
Now that I have been living in Mumbai, over few years, it is the same memory that comes back to me when it rains here, while adding to some newer memories as well. I don’t think I am a bright-sunshine person, I love the rainy, cloudy weather of Mumbai, and it brings joy of another inexpressible level.”
There isn’t much rain where she lives now, and so returning to the city during her favourite season, the monsoon, makes Chopra extra happy. However, she laments, “The rain woes of the city infuriate me. Life getting disrupted due to the rain because of inefficient drainage systems spoils the monsoon charm.”