14 June 2010


Wow. They are NOT KIDDING about this monsoon thing.

It rained all last night, and most of the day. I left my apartment around 7 to get some dinner, and when I left, it was coming down, but not unreasonably so. I brought my umbrella and caught a rickshaw towards 16th road.

By the time I got to the corner of 16th and KFC road, it was pouring. I got out of the rick and made it to the restaurant, which had some covered outdoor seating. It was dry and cool, and I could watch the rain from there, so I stayed and ate. Even it was an amazing meal, by the way, masala baby corn (breaded spicy baby corn appetizer), paneer makhni (cheese cubes in a tomato/butter sauce), buttered naan (doughy bread cooked over an open flame), and a fresh lime soda (lime juice, soda water, and liquid sugar). Very delicious, and only 350 rupee ($7.50).

By the time I had finished, it had been pouring the whole time, and the world was covered in water. The streets were flowing, and it was still pouring from the skies. People were fearlessly slogging through ankle-deep water. I sat for a while and then headed out of the restaurant and into the weather. My first step completely submerged my shoes and bottom couple inches of my pants. My umbrella was useless within moments. It was amazing how quickly I was soaked. I crossed to street to catch a rickshaw home, and that side of the street was even deeper. I stood in the rain trying to hail a rick as they passed by, all full. Finally, one stopped. It was a 12 rupee ride; he offered to take me for 500. I talked him down to 30 (mostly because I know the Hindi word for 30) and got in.

The ride was absurd. Motorcyles and scooters were being walked by their waterlogged drivers. Some streets were okay, some were little torrents, 2 or 3 feet deep. The driver and I were laughing the whole time, and singing a little song we made up, an ode to water. "Pani pani pani, pani, pani", over and over.

We got to my street, and I needed to make a left, but that corner was particularly flooded, and he wanted to stop. Fortunately, just then a couple other rickshaws came rolling by, water up to their axles, but I encouraged him, pointing out the other ricks, telling him he could make it. He gave it a go. The traffic was crawling, and we inched closer to home, still singing our little pani song.

Finally, his poor, long-suffering rickshaw stalled and refused to start again, so we called it quits. It was close enough for me to walk, even in the rain. I helped him push his rickshaw to the side of the rode, gave him 50 for his trouble (still about a dollar), and started walking.

you have to give up any notion of keeping the tops of your feet dry. They were just submerged. My clothes were soaked. I was cold outside for the first time since we were in the Himalaya. I think I prefer my shirts being soaked because of sweat than rain. Still, I could do nothing but sing and laugh. And life went on; the chicken shack was still selling chickens, the wada pav shop was still frying and selling wada pavs. I stopped at a little shop and bought some gems (cadbury's version of m&m's) and made it home. Stopped to talk about the rain with the neighbor kids, went inside my place, peeled off my clothes, and took a hot shower.

As I sit here, it seems that it's stopped outside, but it could start again at any moment. It was fun for a while though.

I'm seriously considering heading out of town for a few days.

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