Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Moonsoon Madness in Mumbai

I've been back in Mumbai around a month and a half now, and it's monsoon season.  We have had a strange end to monsoon with some days bright and sunny (but polluted) and other days with torrential rain.  A couple of weeks ago, at the end of August, Mumbai received the equivalent of a month of rainfall in a single day and the flooding was so bad that I had to spend the night in school with students who were stranded there and could not get home.  Flooding in parts of Mumbai was waist high!  The flooding was part of the general floods that have hit south Asia this year in which already over 1200 people have died.  In Mumbai the situation was made worse by construction on the floodplains and in coastal areas as well as the storm drains being clogged by plastic garbage.

In August I also said goodbye to Sharon, who has been my colleague for the past 5 years.  As she set out for her new adventure in South Africa, we had a farewell drink at the Masala Bar - with some very interesting cocktails!

At the beginning of September it was the yearly Ganpati immersions.  As the flooding was so bad, there was one day where the immersions couldn't happen, which meant that there was a huge amount of idols being immersed on the final day.  The weekend before this Tracy and I went downtown to look at some of the big mandals.  It poured with rain the entire time, but we still had a good time.  One of the Ganpati statues was made entirely of chocolate and another one was only 1 inch high.

On the day of the final immersion we had a half day.  I went up to the Novotel in Juhu with Tara, meeting up with several other ASB faculty there, to see the immersions into the Arabian Sea.  There are always "relics" of previous immersions to be seen on the beach - quite a sad sight - but thankfully some of these are now being made out of eco-friendly materials such as papier mâché which can biodegrade.

I've started to walk - I started this before the summer at Joggers' Park and continued walking at Nowton over the summer.  Generally I try to do 5 kilometres a day.  I'm walking between 6 and 7 pm which is sunset time in Mumbai and I've taken some stunning photos of bright orange, yellow, pink and purple skies.  Last night the entire sky was lit up with colour - and it heralded the most violent of thunderstorms which knocked out all the electricity in my apartment.