Thursday, June 12, 2008

Living in Mumbai in the rains

While thinking about what to write in this blog today, it suddenly struck me that I have so many thoughts about the rains that have hit Mumbai city since the past seven days, so why not write about that?

As any reader knows, Mumbai is located on the western side of India and is an island city connected to the mainland just below the Gujarat projection on the map of India. Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra, and is called the urbs prima Indis, or "India's first city". The western coast of India comprises coastal areas of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, as also Goa. The Konkan belt of Maharashtra is the most famous of all after Goa; it is famed for several things, but mostly for Ratnagiri and Devgad Alphonso mangoes. The Sahyadri mountains lie to the east of the Konkan belt and shield the parts of India to their east away from the buffetting rains that come to the Konkan belt, thanks to the South-westerly monsoon winds. Mumbai lies in the Arabian sea, and the winds that hit it from the S-W region bring with them the famoues Mumbai rains.

These rains have been immortalised in movies and literature. Hindi movies, made chiefly in Mumbai's famous "Bollywood" have always had a love-love relationship with rains, because, after all, water makes women more sensuous and desirable. Zeenat Aman, Smita Patil, Sridevi, and several other heroines of the silver screen have all danced in the rains while belting out melodious songs. Who can forget Sridevi's dance "Kaate nahin katte din ye raat" from Mr. India, or "Hai hai yeh majboori" of Zeenat for Manoj Kumar's Roti Kapada aur Makaan" ... both excellent songs picturised in the rains.

My personal take on rains: they are great when one is indoors, and is looking out at them; they are horrible when one is at their mercy - outdoors without proper rain-protection. This year, they hit without a clue to their arrival on the 5th of June. Since then, rains are pouring relentlessly ... 7 days later. I usually travel on a two-wheeler, and rains make it necessary to wear a rain-suit while riding a scooter. This makes the whole thing very inconvenient and problematic.

One thing that I am already enjoying thanks to the rain? It has to be "fried foods" which are considered a bit safer to eat in this climate and season as compared to other seasons.

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