Bombay (yes, that’s what I still call it) is my home and always will be, no matter which part of the world I live in. It’s sights and smells, the chaos, the sheer insanity that rules its roads, the noise of incessant honking, the smell of drying fish along the seafront. I love this city for its contrasts. A steaming hot 7 rupee vada pav or chilled cocktails on the 34th floor of luxury hotel – here, you’ll find it all.
But what’s extra special about this country is its monsoon. I live in Singapore now, where it rains through the year, almost every day. I’ve also lived in London, a city known for it dreary wet weather. But there’s just no comparison! When it rains in India, it really does rain! The skies open up and the resulting downpour lends the city a newly washed, sparkly air. And the smell of wet earth? Unmatched!
As much as I love the monsoons, I’ve also hated them. The train rides on the 08:04 Bandra local to college carrying a heavy backpack were made quite tricky on days when the rain just wouldn’t stop. Or when I’d get caught in a sudden shower while walking my 4 month old baby along the seafront. Ever tried looking for a rickshaw or taxi when it’s pissing down? Seriously, medal worthy!
Here’s a list of thing I’ve absolutely love about the rains in India. And just so that you don’t think I’m an impractical, hopeless romantic, I’ll balance out each point with something I really really don’t like about my beloved monsoon.
1. Home And Abroad
Love: Sitting by the window, watching the rain, curled up in a blanket reading a book or watching a romcom on TV. Some serious ‘me time’!
Hate: Being stuck indoors when all you want to do is go out for a run, or finish off errands or have an important meeting that you just can’t be late for.
Smart tip: Ditch the run and try some surya namaskars at home instead for a great full body workout. If you can’t avoid stepping out, make sure you leave earlier than you normally would to budget for delays.
2. Rainy Day – Holiday?
Love: We all crib and cry about the city flooding, but who doesn’t wish for those few days of super heavy rains with high tide warnings to boot. Day off from work, yay!!!
Hate: Getting stuck when it’s flooded and having to wade home in knee deep gross water. Remember the nightmare of 26/07 when Bombay came to a standstill because of the insane floods?
Smart tip: Watch the news for weather forecasts. If high tides are predicted, make sure you’ve got an easy route home or an alternative back up plan. A fully charged phone battery, a spare set of clothes will come in handy if you do get stranded somewhere. A couple of small ziplock plastic bags will help save your phone, wallet and cash from the rain in case getting soaked is unavoidable.
3. The Romance Of Rain…And The Aggravation!
Love: The romance of the monsoons. Shared umbrellas and sneaky little moments and a bit of a jig in the first rains of the season. Somehow the weather just makes everything so much more romantic, doesn’t it?
Hate: Everyone is always late for everything during the monsoons and you can’t really say much when they say “Madamji paani bhar gaya thaa” or “train cancel ho gayi” or “Sorry, my car broke down”. We’ve all been there!
Smart tip: If you’re running late, make sure you call and notify and apologize for being tardy. If you’re the one waiting, take deep breaths, look out of the window, grab a cuppa joe and enjoy the beautiful monsoon!
4. Raindrops On My Face
Love: Rickshaw rides in the rain!! Or long drives out of town. And walks along the sea face. Ever experienced the waves crashing against the rocky shore and spraying jets of sea spray on your face? Aaaah!
Hate: Walking home from work and get splashed by a passing car. There’s very little that can be as annoying as getting soaked from head to foot by a speeding driver. And the laundry bills just seem to sky rocket during the monsoon, don’t they?
Smart tip: Let the clothes dry out completely. It is easier to brush off the muck when it is dry. Once you’ve scraped all you can off, make a thick paste of Vanish Stain Remover and rub it into the fabric and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Now wash as you normally would in the washing machine (preferably in warm water) with an equal mix of your regular detergent and Vanish. Tadaa!
5. Chai Aur Pakoda Time
Love: Crispy, crunchy pakodas, piping hot masala chai and a bowl of steaming khichdi! Comfort food at its finest, courtesy our ever indulgent mums!
Hate: The flies that get everywhere!!! OMG, just leave us alone now, will you!
Smart tip: Put 3 whole lemons in a glass and top up with water. The flies seem to seriously dislike the smell that this emits and you’ll be rid of the pesky flies. Though this only works in the immediate area that the glass is placed in so you may need a couple spaced over the room.
6. Hop, Skip And Splash!
Love: Splashing in muddy puddles! Oh c’mon, admit it!! As much as you deny it, splashing in puddles on a rainy sunday morning brings back such strong childhood memories and nostalgia, you really can’t resist!
Hate: Ruining a fresh pedicure every time we step out! Bright pink nails to cheer up the gloomy weather, great! Mud stuck everywhere, yuck, not so great!
Smart tip: Soak your feet in a mix of warm water, a little soap liquid or shampoo with a squirt of conditioner every couple of days to keep your feet clean and mud free during the monsoons. Don’t forget to throw on moisturizing balm and socks before you go to bed for baby-soft feet in the morning.
7. That Chill In The Air
Love: How the weather just cools down and you somehow just forget the long hot summer. The scent of the earth after the first rains is just magical, isn’t it?
Hate: What the monsoon does to our hair! Frizz, frizz and more frizz!! The humidity is our sworn enemy!
Smart tip: Use a gentle shampoo to wash out your hair regularly. Conditioner and deep treatment hair masks are your new best friend for these few months. Remember to seal your hair with a shot of cold water and avoid blow dryers to make sure your hair shaft stays smooth and silky. A coat of finishing spray, leave-in conditioner or Moroccan oil are a must.
*This is a sponsored post for Vanish. Don’t miss the chance of creating some beautiful monsoon memories just to avoid the nightmare of mud stained clothes. With Vanish at hand, you’ve got no more worries! #StainsVanishMemoriesRemain!