Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In the eye of the storm

The monsoon season in India is a unique experience especially in an urban center such as Bangalore. September is supposed to be the highest rainfall month and as the resident expert here, I can certainly vouch for that. While Bangalore rains do not come close to Bombay rains, they come down hard.

I have written numerous times about the traffic in Bangalore so my regular readers can imagine the impact of the rain on commuting. Without a decent drainage systems, roads are generally flooded within minutes of a heavy downpour. The traffic clogged streets get further congested and the vehicles (except for bicycles and 2-wheelers) come to a virtual halt. And of course, this is precisely the same moment when the drivers of vehicles on the roads (especially the large buses) take leave of their senses and rather than heading for their destination, start moving in the direction of any empty space that comes in their sight.

You must have the ability to set aside your anger, frustration and other negative emotions and learn to enjoy this (unless you are an hour late for an important investor meeting). If you can do that, it is quite entertaining and in some ways uplifting! The fury of the rains is insufficient to quash the human spirit here. It is amazing to see children playing in ankle deep waters or pedestrians bravely making their way to their destinations with minimal protection against the rain. And the patience of the drivers – to my knowledge there has not been a single incident of a person shooting some one else due to road rage.

Now that is Nirvana!

1 comment:

Debbie Ann said...

I love the monsoon rains - I have never seen such heavy rain and it is just amazing to me.

I am generally a person that gets everywhere on time, but now that I live in Bangalore that is no longer true - I have been anywhere from 40 min late to 60 min late, which I never was in SF. The traffic is more unpredictable, everything is more unpredictable - will the driver show up, will the car battery die, will traffic be worse than it ever was. So to be completely honest, I thought it was Indians that were always late, now I think it is just the nature of Bangalore, and maybe everywhere else too. the unpredictability is fun in lots of ways, more alive, but harder to control. You have to surrender!