Friday, September 24, 2010


This is a year that everyone around the world has become more aware of the monsoon season in South Asia, due to the terrible flooding in Pakistan that has received wide coverage. My Tuesday post showed some of the pictures I took on the way showing flooding between Delhi and Mussoorie.

What is it really like to live in a monsoon? We are arriving at the very end (so we hope) but it has brought back many memories. During this time the power supply can be frequently interrupted (as happened in our apartment Wednesday most of the day until early evening). School property is now on a grid backed up by generators in all areas. So the majority of staff know that if their power goes off, it will most likely return in just a few minutes. The power outages can also affect the water supply, which is powered by pumps. Even when the rains are heavy, there can be problems getting water into the homes. Fortunately, the school now has been able to assure a constant supply to residences and homes.

Inside the house everything is damp during the monsoon. Some homes have wired the clothes closets so that there is a light bulb burning near the bottom. This keeps shoes from getting moldy and clothing from feeling damp. Beds feel damp when you crawl under the covers. Towels do not dry and begin to smell sour after a few days. Laundry can be hung for days until it is fit to wear. Seat cushions on chairs make your behind feel damp when you rise. The thick cement-and-plaster walls feel damp to the touch. The positive side? It is incredibly beautiful, everything is bright green, and the views when the clouds part are amazing.

Today (Friday) a dehumidifier is being taken down to our apartment. Running it constantly for the next few days should help a lot. I’ve moved my clothes from shelves in the wall to the wooden wardrobe, which could keep them from feeling even more damp.

On Wednesday the clouds were heavy all day and it rained more or less continually from late morning onwards. Thursday morning there was a crack of blue in the clouds and throughout the morning the sun shone. Around lunchtime the clouds rolled back in and the dampness returned. It didn’t rain at all, although the clouds came and went. We had supper in the bazaar and on the way home the full moon was shining brightly and the sky was clear. Today the break in the clouds was even wider, with lots of blue sky. The forecast looks promising.

This season can make people edgy and depressed. When you are continually socked in with clouds and fog, with endless hours of rain (frequently very heavy), you begin to feel that it will never end. In the past, when a nice sunny day appeared in mid-September, hopefully signifying the end of the rains, the Principal would declare a Fair-Weather Holiday. This was always a favorite of the students (not to mention staff). I remember one year that we hiked to the village of Suokholi (about 7 miles out Tehri Road) with another family. Our kids were all very young but they enjoyed it. Most people took the day to be outside, take a short hike, and just be glad that the sun was on its way back.

Entry to our road from Tehri Road; the poles keep out large vehicles

Monsoon mist on the path up to Fern Oaks; Dan ahead of me (as usual!)

Ferns on the trees, beginning to turn brown

Harvest moon from Tehri Road Thursday evening; this makes me want a better camera!

Friday morning skies!


  1. OK, I'll stop complaining about our rainy season in Vancouver. At least our clothing stays dry in our closets. I really appreciate this information. We also hear a lot about the rain in India because of the difficulties associated with the coming Commonwealth Games, one being the weather. We're hoping Dan will attend to give a report?

  2. We'll be seeing all the news (and there's been a lot in the papers about the complaints) but we are staying far away from Delhi during the Games period. It will be a madhouse.


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