Floating Through the Streets
In a cab during Monsoon season
People avoid India during monsoon season.
It’s not the rain so much, though it does rain every day. It’s everything else. The super humidity that makes everything steam when the sun comes out. Heat that feels hotter thanks to the moisture in the air. Frizzy hair. Puddles like miniature swimming pools filled with naked boys. Swarms of insects. The various diseases and ailments exacerbated by the weather.
Winter in India can be wonderful. Summer, not so much.
Yet I still have pleasant memories of my one summer in India.
One of the best is of a taxi ride with my brother and mother. I was 12 at the time and had only recently recovered from pink eye, one of the painful and irritating diseases that spread through the community despite every precaution. I was finally feeling better, and was therefore unrestrained and uninhibited.
I traded rude comments with my brother as we traveled through streets covered with mud, grime, and water.
Then we hit a rampant stream.
In America, the driver might have stopped. American drivers are cautious. They may think twice before braving several feet of raging brown muck. Then again they also do untypically Indian things like yielding the right of way, stopping at red lights, and not keeping a hand constantly on the horn.
Our cab driver braved the fetid rapids.
And the cab floated like a paper boat heading towards a gutter.
My brother and I shrieked with delight. My mother, on the other hand, panicked. Of course she was far wiser than her idiot children. She’d grown up in India. She’d seen the detritus caused by careening cars encountering forces of nature.
I’d like to say my sibling and I showed empathy for Mom. Perhaps one reason I haven’t had children is a fear of karma.
Fortunately, no one died. After several minutes of rapidly floating down the torrent filled streets, we made landfall in front of a temple close to our destination. We disembarked and walked the rest of the way.