Monsoon Season


People have misconceptions about what the monsoon is. Maybe they confuse it with "typhoon." Of course we hear news reports about disasters in India during monsoon season, and assume that monsoons cause non-stop disasters. I arrived in Chennai, India 4 days ago in the heart of the monsoon. Earlier that day, it had rained heavily for 3 hours. There were puddles, even lakes, everywhere. but life was going on. Chennai is in the arid state of Tamil Nadu. There is very little rain throughout the year until the monsoon arrives. People watch weather reports with anticipation, but it is hope, not fear that inspires their interest. A good monsoon means a good year ahead. There will be water to meet their needs. The later the monsoon arrives, the greater the chance of water shortages.

So, what is the monsoon? It's an exotic sounding name for "rainy season." The season is more well defined than in many parts of the world, but most of us live in regions  where rain is more likely at certain times of the year. In Denver, we talk of our own monsoon, which usually is most of the month of July. Like India, Colorado derives great benefits from the monsoon. Ours is weaker, flooding is less common, and sometimes it hardly materializes at all.

Besides the essential water that the monsoon brings to India, people also relish the cooling that it brings. May is scorching in India, but when the South West monsoon arrives in June, the temperature drops to much more bearable levels. If you are visiting India or Nepal, you might be concerned about the monsoon, but remember, this is the rainy season, but it doesn't mean there will be rain 24/7. Your daily activities may be effected from time to time, but there will be many days where there is no rain at all, or when it rains over night, not effecting you at all. My first 4 days in Chennai have been humid, but relatively mild. The monsoon has actually made things easier. Of course, there may be days that are washed out by rains, but unless yours is a very short trip, you should be able to work around these.

Here in Chennai, the news is dominated by stories about the monsoon. Endless stories about potholes. Like media everywhere, they milk it for everything they can. Of course, driving around the city, I have to admit that they have some world-class potholes. I read in the news that the other day a man stepped into one that was filled with water, and appeared to be a puddle. He died from a heart attack that resulted from the fall. Everyone will complain about potholes for the next month, and then they'll forget about them until next year when the monsoons return.

By Kevin O'Neill


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