Monday, July 5, 2010

The Monsoon Arrives

In India, they say things like, "the Monsoon will arrive in Delhi on June 29." And yes, I capitalized the word because the way people describe it, you'd think they were expecting the arrival of some long lost relative. Since the country gets around 80 percent of its annual water from the Monsoon, it almost seems appropriate to turn it into a proper noun. In the states, we have general seasons (i.e., hurricane season, tornado season) Yeah, I know, we tend to get specific with hurricanes as they form and get close, but it's nothing like this.

Apparently the monsoon has stalled a bit this year or isn't producing as much rain as typical. If things don't pick up it could, at best, lead to higher food prices and, at worst, spell utter disaster and drought, so you can understand why it's kind of a big deal.

In Delhi and Gurgaon, the Monsoon first hit a couple days late on July 1. For the most part, it rains for a very small portion of the day but when it does, it's complete armageddon, with quickly darkening skies that dump and blow sheets of water into an environment ill-equipped to handle such an event. The net result is localized flooding because the drainage simply can't handle the volume of water and some streets turn into shallow streams. The streets turning into streams has pretty much the effect you'd expect on traffic. It took the driver approximately 90 minutes to get from our apartment to Lindsay's office, which is about 6 km and typically takes ten to fifteen minutes.

When you think about it, it's a small inconvenience given everything that's at stake but another gentle reminder that even with the amount of development and increased infrastructure in India over the past few years that it is very much still a developing country.

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