2.5 World Country Weather (for the Newbie)
Seattle is apparently the most depressing city in the world, with the highest (recorded) suicide rate. One of the reasons attributed to this is the weather. To quote most Seattle-ites – “This Year’s weather will be overcast, with light showers (except on the 4th of July)”. Slight exaggeration, but not off by too much. ‘Cept for one or two summer months when you get to see how beautiful Seattle is – There is the Puget Sound in one direction, tall shiny glass buildings in other, the Glorious Grand & Dormant Mount Rainier to the South, and…more buildings and civilisation to the North. Anyhoo it’s really good looking, ‘cept when it’s raining when all is mostly grey and gloomy…..
Approximately halfway across the world lies a pointy/peninsular landmass, which was once a part of Africa some gazillions of years ago. Eventually this land mass broke away, and hit Asia pretty hard. Real hard. Thus the Himalayas were born. Apart from acting as a natural barrier to prevent China from invading India, they also contribute to an annual event which most Indians anticipate anxiously. Having the Tallest Wall in the World to your North, 2 seas, 1 ocean to the South, and some mostly-flat plains in the middle gives rise to the Indian Monsoon. Loosely translated as “Our Water Supply for the Year”. But take pity on a 2000/5000 year old northern city by a river. Everytime March-June rolls around, the inhabitants of this ancient city (Delhi) curse their ancestors and wonder why the $!@#!$$!@#!$@ they had to pick this particular area to settle down in. It may have been nice and comfy 5000 years ago, but these days the Great Indian Desert makes its presence felt in Delhi by sending a few dust storms and hot winds (known as The Loo for some reason) in our direction….these storms are further compounded by temperatures ranging from 45-47 degrees Celcius*. This carries on for a while, and in the meantime, the newspapers decide to rub it in by mentioning how Aqua-Bangladesh is 50% submerged, and there are floods in other parts of the country. All Delhi gets is a thickening of the air, as the humidity rises to an unbearable 90%. Finally, once everything is covered in a layer of dust (or melted due to heat), a huge dark cloud approaches (much like it does in the ‘Ghananana’ song in Lagaan). Then cool winds start blowing and the first drop of Monsoon devastation strikes. Pit pit, pat pat, pit………KABLAAM! KAPOW! And before you know it, you’re going for a swim on the Ring Road. Travel times rise. The 25 Kilometre stretch of MG Road* which connects 5000-year-old Delhi to wannabe 2-Year-New Gurgaon takes 4 hours instead of the usual one. New potholes arise, to replace the old one which were patched up pre-election. The government-run telephone company’s phone lines go bust allowing the pvt-run companies to advertise how reliable their services are. Old trees that couldn’t handle the heat finally collapse and close up a few roads, taking a few power lines with them. Kids run onto to the rooftops, for an impromptu bath, and also to start their kite-flying practise for Independence Day
But most important – Everybody’s spirits rise with the rain.
*The MG in MG Road, doesn’t stand for Mahatma Gandhi, like other various MG Roads throughout the company. Becuase this is New Delhi, the MG stands for Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road. Mehrauli being another ancient semi-city left over from Mughal times, which is now a part of Delhi….