Living in a monsoon belt is a guaranteed way of understanding the concept of moisture. For several months of every year, the heavens would open, and let loose their blessing and their curse. The Indians might be used to it, but to us foreigners, it seemed like an impossible burden, an excuse to hide out until the weather changed.
The rain was a ceaseless thing, filling every pore until we feel that we, too might rain. At times it let up, and it seemed as though hope, or light might be near, that the dampness creeping into our bones may have a chance to dry up, and then it would come again, sheets of soggy wetness, an impossible amount of water, as though a great bucket was being perpetually dumped from the sky.
Every article of clothing seemed perpetually damp, and nothing ever dried out. The concept of a ‘clothes dryer’ is unheard of in India, short of a laundry line, and it didn’t take long for mildew to take over every nook and cranny. Everything took on that musty smell of newly formed life, waiting to erupt into something larger.
There were also great moments of beauty, when the sun would peek out from behind the clouds, and the radiance would fill the world like the gossamer strings of heaven. In those moments, we would feel as though the world was a place of infinite possibilities. We kept waiting for those moments to stretch out.
One by-product of the monsoon rains were the seasonal services. It seemed like only 1/10th of the stores and half of the restaurants were open. Most places seemed to stay perpetually closed, locked away behind steel barricades, waiting for all the throngs of people to show up for ‘the season’. I wasn’t looking forward to 20,000 Europeans descending on these eager natives, but I’m sure they appreciated all the extra cash that would come flowing in.
Another side effect of the weather were the frequent power outages. Any time it looked like lightning might strike, or if the rains got too heavy, or the man who controlled the electricty was bored, the power would go out. Some days it would go out just once. Other days, it was once every hour. This didn’t faze the Indians, and I can only suppose that most of them were used to living without power anyways, as their lives are not based around living with such conveniences as electricity.
I felt that if civilization were to collapse, India would be scarcely affected. Sure, the tuk-tuks and taxis would cease, and nobody’s cell phone would work, but the vast majority of people would carry on living as they had for thousands of years. It seems as though they are so far behind the west that they are almost ahead…