Thursday, October 16, 2008

Start of the Monsoon

We have now entered the Northeast Monsoon season, typically taking place from October to December. It is the major period of rainfall for southern India, with 48% of annual rainfall for the state of Tamil Nadu occurring during this time. For coastal areas such as Chennai, this figure is up to 60% of its total precipitation. Although the heaviest downpours are normally at night, we have had some torrential rain while at school.

Indians seem to take the rains with stride and joy, even though it can be quite disruptive on daily life. With the downpours, the large numbers of outdoor vendors, tailors, and other laborers are forced to seek shelter or get soaked. If the pedestrians and bike/motorcycle riders aren’t soaked enough with rainwater, they get an extra douse of dirty road spray. Due to inadequate drainage and the amount of litter, roads quickly block up with water, forcing pedestrians and motorists alike to either maneuver around the filthy flood water or go right through it. It doesn’t smell too pretty either! Of course, mosquitoes thrive in this staid water.

Despite all this, Indians welcome the monsoons, as it provides needed water for drinking, farming, and electricity, as well as cooling things down – a bit. I prefer watching the rain from inside and would rather not have to drive an auto rickshaw through the dirty water, but who am I to complain? I have a dry roof over my head that is on the 2nd floor, mosquito netting, electricity, and an occupation that doesn’t depend on the success of the monsoons.

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