An expat's guide to Mumbai's rain

In the UAE, it rains. But in Mumbai, it pours. In this weather, a bloke holding an umbrella would probably fly half-way down to Goa.



Petrichor means smell of the earth after rain. That's the first word that struck home when I stepped out of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, on to the busy, chaotic, beautiful and most importantly, rainy streets. In Sharjah, where I come from, rains are as uncommon a treat as my grandma's homemade sweets. Tempted as I was to stick my head out of the window and scream with joy, not unlike our Bollywood heroines, I restrained myself to enjoying the droplets that splashed onto my face from the half-open (to the pessimist: half-closed) window. Allow me to explain something.
In the UAE, it rains. But in Mumbai, it pours. In this weather, a bloke holding an umbrella would probably fly half-way down to Goa. We drove on, our taxi regally splashing water on innocent bystanders. As the lower-lying areas began flooding up, the traffic was reduced to a slow trickle (pun intended). I was afraid things would come to a complete standstill. Our cabbie, however, laughed at my fears, dismissing it off with a casual 'Madam, baarish mein yeh to roz ka hai' (During monsoon, this was a frequent occurrence). As we inched down the drenched streets, I began admiring the people of this resilient city, who despite the ominous downpour, went about their daily routine almost obliviously. Peddlers and street-hawkers continued to sell their ware. Little children boarded their school buses, wearing their tiny raincoats.
 Youngsters were out on motorbikes, having donned their colourful windcheaters. People went to work at the same fast-pace that city life commands, not letting the rain cause any delays. That day, I realised two things: rain was as loved by Mumbaikars as any festival; and be it rain or storm, the city never stops.
Sanjana Prakash, Sharjah


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