And it is that time of the year again in this beautiful city of Bangalore. The sky gets darker, the air gets cooler and our warm clothing comes out. But wait it’s not December but it’s July and it’s the monsoon or rainy season. Umbrellas are out, nice comfy and durable chappals are in and pretty clothing go back in the closet. Bouts of cough and cold make the rounds in schools, colleges and offices. Cups of chai (tea) and pakodas (veggie fritters) eating while huddled under a roof when it’s pouring lions and tigers (like my mom says) These are some of the things that we look forward to when it starts raining.
Now what is interesting in India is that while most of the country experiences its monsoon season between the months of June to September, some places/states like Tamil Nadu experience it during the winter months of December to February. What is really awesome about rains in Bangalore is that the weather is the single most cool fact about this city along with the abundance of trees (now reduced by the construction and development of the Metro lines) which only make the climate of this city cooler and rather cosy every time it rains. This is the weather that the people of Bangalore are used to and are very proud of. No matter which time of the year, the weather is always bearable. Very rarely have people complained about the special Bangalore weather and are often perceived as ‘weird’ or ‘stupid’ for complaining.
This is because of the vast tree cover that is present all over the city that contributes to this unique cool temperatures. Over the years, with the boom in development of the city associated with the IT revolution, many long standing residents of Bangalore have complained about the rise in temperatures associated with the felling of several trees to make way for Metro lines, high-rise offices and apartments and flashy malls. They say that the development and urbanisation of Bangalore has come at a price – the loss of Bangalore’s unique climatic conditions. The city was used by English residents who were unable to cope with the harsher temperatures of Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. Bangalore, with its cool climate throughout the year and smaller roads, reminded most English of their capital city.
Having seen Bangalore progress through these 20 years and being a part and parcel of this development process, I felt the change in the climate, especially last year. 2012 was not only one of the harshest summers this city has ever experienced but also one of the driest monsoons ever. It was very novel to see Bangaloreans in shorts and tanks because these clothes are unseen in this city simply because of how cold it used to get. When the temperatures would go above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) we would start complaining. Now we jump when the temperatures hit 30 degrees Celsius. It has come to that stage and now I can no longer brag to my friends living in other Indian cities about the coolness (literally) of Bangalore.
When the summer of 2013 began, we didn’t expect any different. But little did we know that we were in for one of the most (ummmmmmmm) monsoons of all time. By the time May rolled by, there were atleast 4 summer showers in Bangalore dropping temperatures down to an average of 30 degrees, IN SUMMER!! When the monsoon started, it started with a bang, on time and recording the highest rainfall received in the state in 122 years odd. Wow! What a change from the previous year. And this was just the beginning. It has rained like clockwork at 5pm and 12am every day from that day till today. The reservoirs in the state are close to full capacity and with the exception of a few districts, the state of Karnataka has received great rainfall this year.
Me? I’m just happy that it’s raining. It means fresh air, awesome smelling trees and grass and a coolness to the air that is reminiscent of my childhood visits to the Garden City! And of course, “Raindrops keep falling on my head…But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red…..Crying’s not for me….’Cuz I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining!”