Cultural Experience | India

10 Tips on How To Survive Monsoons in India

Grey skies, salty raindrops, slippery streets, furious sees, spicy food, late transport and endless opportunities of spontaneous romance- Indian Monsoons are the stuff poems are written about.

Whether it is a farmer living on the outskirts of the city waiting for his yearly crop to yield or a teenager in the heart of the island eager for her first kiss- rain is a vital turning point in every Indian story. Everyone in the city has memories of how once they got stuck in traffic, trapped in their office or stranded from their family because of heavy rain. But they also have fond tales of how they headed with their best friends to taste the sea during high tide, met the love of their life in pouring rain or simply enjoyed a hot cup of tea and pakoras in the comfort of their homes when it was raining cats and dogs. Monsoon season is the best and the most challenging time to visit India and here are a few tips to make sure that you survive them safely.

1)      The rain will be enough to drown Atlantis, so be ready.

Because of global warming the time at which rain clouds arrive in the country keeps postponing. But when they do start pouring they do not leave a street unflooded. Most metropolitian cities in India (except those in desert areas like Rajasthan) are used to massive rainfall. So if you are headed on a trip to India during the monsoons, be mentally prepared. There will be everything from soft drizzling and furious storms.

2)      Always carry umbrella, windbreaker and gumboots with you.

Pardon us Alexa Chung, we will have to sacrifice style for comfort and safety at least during the monsoons. You can remain sufficiently dry if you carry just an umbrella or windbreaker, but if you want to remain 100% flawless carrying the bulk of all the above things is a must. During this season the streets are dotted with dirty puddles and dangerous insects so make sure you wear gumboots.

Avoid the sea

Avoid the sea

3)      Use only public transport.

If you are all by yourself during heavy rain, do not hire a cab or take your car. The public transport might be late and overcrowded but at times like these it is always safe to be along with a lot of other people. Also if there is a storm, railway stations provide shelter and food (if you have money) to commuters.

4)      In times of heavy storms avoid going to beaches.

This year there have been maximum cases of adventurous teenagers going to seashores during high-tide and getting sucked in the sea. Although it is very tempting to take a risk to create unforgettable memories, do put your health and safety before everything else.

 

Grey clouds over the hills of Mahabaleshwar

Grey clouds over the hills of Mahabaleshwar

5)      Always keep a packet of buiscuits  and some change with you.

You can never predict when the weather takes a turn for the worse and before you know you are left abandoned with nothing to eat! Keep a packet of buiscuits with you, if not for you then you can at least give some to someone else who needs it. Also keep loose change because in heavy rain you probably won’t get cell coverage. Use the landlines which are spread all across the country, even the remotest villages.

6)      If the streets are flooded STAY AWAY FROM THEM!

You might see excited and shirtless children from the slum swimming in the flood water like it is a luxurious swimming pool but do not (not even to take photos and instagram them) enter the flood water. It has a variety of oils, chemicals, disposed garbage, animal (and human) feces and dead animals floating in them. Also they are many gutters kept open during the rainy season to dispose off garbage. Many people have fallen in these invisible gutters and never returned, so do not take any risks.

During heavy rainfall it is difficult to see what lies 3 metres ahead of you

During heavy rainfall it is difficult to see what lies 3 metres ahead of you

7)      Choose rubber footwear.

Due to heavy rain or poor maintainence there are many exposed electric wires on the streets or on public transport. Coming in contact with these can result in deadly shocks and chances are it will be very difficult to help you. Rubber footwear and contact with wood can stop your body from absorbing electric shocks. So if at home you are handling any electronics always keep one hand on a wooden surface while putting it on. The rain seeps into wires and causes malfunctions and short-circuits.

8)      Keep electronics in plastic bags.

If you are carrying electronics with you, regardless if it is a heavy DSLR or a small phone- keep it inside plastic bags. Even you are planning to keep it inside bags or your pockets it is always better to take extra precaution.

9)      Do not seek refuge under a tree.

Again due to global warming, thunder and lightning have come closer to earth than ever before and every year the number of people suffering lightning shocks increases. If you are stranded alone and need shelter, do not wait under a tree. Look for a house, a shop or a any other place with a roof. The trees attract thunder and standing under them can give you violent shocks.

10)   If things get completely out of control call 100.

If you are stuck in a life or death situation, call the police number 100 and they will provide help. If you are stuck in public transport every transport has its own helpline so do not hesitate to seek help.

 

The grey skies of rural India

The grey skies of rural India

These tips might make it sound like coming to India is just as dangerous as walking into Mordor. But don’t worry, if you take precautions and remain calm in disturbing situations- you will manage to have a wonderful trip. But don’t avoid the rain completely, whether it is seeing the modern sights of the cities or the breath-taking greenery in villages- the most recommended way to enjoy India is while soaking wet. So make the most of your trip but also keep your safety in mind and you will definitely the time of your life.

Purva Indulkar

K.P.B. Hinduja College, Mumbai | 10 stories

Purva Indulkar is a student of Mass Communications in Mumbai, India. She is a voracious reader, amateur writer, aspiring journalist, movie fanatic, proud foodie and a curious traveller. Not all those who wander are lost :)


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