I was an extremely shy child. Something which is hard to believe now or if you have met me anytime in the past 10 years. Anyway, back then rains fuelled a great amount of my day dreams and imagination. They seemed like the perfect backdrop to any scenario; Playing with paper boats made me dream of real yacht, All the greenery around made me want to go to the hills in my cottage and sip tea (My Mountain roots) and of course the romance associated with Monsoons. This was also when I lived in Delhi where Monsoons were a 45 day affair of a few hours of rains per day. Move forward a couple of years and 3 years back I moved to Mumbai. All the childhood fantasies rains held for me were a thing of the past. After the initial few days right after the mucky humid weather where you can’t wait for rains to begin, I begin to lose my cool and am cursing the rain Gods. All I can think of is the traffic and the water rising up to my calves,walking in dirt, being paranoid that shoot stuff will get ruined and the days of no sun which can be oh so depressing. Anyway, this year for the first time in years I am actually enjoying rains. It could be because a) I am currently not doing any shoots so I don’t need to be worried or b)That the monsoons still haven’t come our way in a major way i.e. no 24 hours of rain with no sign of sunshine.
So, since I have made peace with rains this year, I decided to list out a few things I love to do in the rains and completely recommend (Including how to take care of your homes during this weather)
1. Eat, Drink and be Merry– Yup! There are certain foods and beverages which have their own unique charm during the Monsoons. Whether you are a rain lover or get depressed because of the general lack of sunshine (Like I do!) these comfort foods are absolute mood-lifters. Pakoras or batter fried snacks made with onions, paneer, potatoes and a whole lot more vegetables. Masala Chai, tea brewed with a combination of spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Bhutta or corn, which is roasted over hot coals. In fact when you see vendors on street corners, you know monsoons are here.
2. Get Cozy– With the rains pouring down and falling against your window panes, nothing is more relaxing that lying in bed all day reading your favourite books while listening to your favourite songs or even watching your favourite movies. Though I would not call myself a romantic my pick of books, music and movies leans a bit towards romantic during this season. Books I read during this season are 40 Rules of Love- Elif Shafak, Unbearable Lightness of being Milan Kundera, One hundred years of solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Movies; Serendipity, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset. Music well my taste usually runs from Hindi Movie Love and Break up songs to classic Rock. A few of my favourites which play on repeat especially when I am all cozier are Linger- Cranberries, Ain’t no Sunshine Bill Withers, Tere Bina Zindagi se- Aandhi.
3. Take a Hike– I mean that literally. Going for walks during the rains is supposed to be very therapeutic. It could just be in the park near your house or you can actually travel depending on time. For me personally Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala and just astounding in the rains. I have heard so are Sikkim and Assam but never been there. So if you happen to be around these areas atleast try for a short two-day trip. Like I try to go to Lonavla atleast once each monsoon. It is a weekend destination for us living in Mumbai and is absolutely stunning. Apparently there are more such destinations around but I have never gotten down to visiting, maybe this year who knows!
Well as I was saying at the beginning of the post, rain does play havoc to our homes especially the interiors. So here are a few tips to keep your homes looking spic and span and safe during these months
1. Electronic gadgets are most affected by rain and humidity. So even though we know this we tend to get lazy or sometimes just take it for granted. Like I live on the 12th floor, so the wind is so strong that rain actually blows into my house. It is best to keep all electronic devices away from the window and covered as much as possible. Same goes for all electrical circuit. Get them checked once and covered for open wires in the rainy season cause alot of accidents.
2. Upsholstery needs to be given special care during this weather. Heavy materials like velvet, Jacquard and Silk are affected the worst. Since the weather is so humid it collects dust which seeps into these fabrics. If rain water seeps into these it leaves a dark stain especially on silk. These heavy fabrics also attract and trap moisture hence leaving a mucky smell in the room. It is best to change to lighter more airy fabrics and blends like Polycot. If you can’t change your upholstery get covers made. These are easy to maintain and clean. Also since the days are quite dark they let the rooms remain well-lit. Same applies for carpets, they need to be cleaned everyday as they attract alot of dust during rains. It is best to remove them during this season.
3. Furniture especially wooden benches and cupboards seep moisture and start splitting. Keep them away from windows as much as possible and put camphor balls in cupboards to remove dampness and neem leaves work really well to keep insects at bay. For wooden doors and frames, specially the ones facing outdoors, coat them with varnish or other weather proof solvents before the monsoons. Iron to can rust so its best to keep it greased prior to monsoons.
4. If you have outdoor areas like balcony’s or gardens, see to it you keep your plants outside during the rain, as they attract alot of insects. It goes the same for water tanks and coolers, keep them clean and if not in use remove all water. Don’t let rain water stagnate on balcony’s as it can seriously discolour the stone. Also check outdoor drains regularly so that leaves and other things which get flown in with the drain don’t clog your pipes. These too can lead for the water to overflow onto your balcony.
5. Besides these monsoons are perfect for us to do a little bit for the environment. Use buckets to fill up the rain water which can be used for watering plants, cleaning clothes and utensils. Avoid having a bath or cooking as it is not completely safe to do so, infact if you enjoy having a shower in the rain I suggest you take a bath when you get back.
So well here are my few easy to do tips during the monsoons. do share any tips that have worked for you would love to post them here. But do enjoy the monsoons as much as you can especially those of you in Mumbai. For like I always say Mumbai has two seasons Monsoons and Pre monsoons so might as well enjoy them, I am definitely going to try to do that this year.