The weather can often trigger our mood to make us feel certain things about whether we want to head out, and how safe we feel. In cities like Mumbai, where precipitation can cause a lot of damage, the reactionary mechanisms built within our minds are pretty well-wired, because of how used to the rain we are. The minute a heavy deluge begins, we all tend to text our loved ones to say ‘don’t head out today!’ or ‘it’s best if you stay home rather than venturing into the sea that has formed on the street!’ While conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder affect areas with gloomier, more erratic climates like London and Scandinavia, there is a link between weather and our emotions that is more based in the notion of ‘safety’ rather than happiness or sadness in cities like Mumbai. It’s pretty clear that these ideologies run supreme every time the rain kicks in with full-force each year.
This association between the rain and staying indoors or rather, finding it more ‘safe’ to stay indoors when downpour commences is something characteristic of the people in Mumbai. The 2005 floods, and the recent deluge has set people into a phase of precaution. As a 22 year old college student with parents who live abroad, I do think that I possess a certain level of responsibility when it comes to handling my own safety.
However, this year, when he deluge kicked in, I couldn’t help but notice the constant texts from my parents telling me to avoid getting outdoors and venturing out into the city. ‘There’s no point!’ they said. ‘Why are you putting your own safety in such jeopardy when you know that the rain gets this bad?’. They did have a point, because I had a friend bunking over for over 2 days when the power-cut and the flood occurred. But this sort of led me to think that there is some link between the rainy season and the way people think about their own safety and the well-being of their loved ones.
Even the Elphinstone stampede that occurred in the rain points towards the sheer chaos that ensues when people commute within the rain. The angst starts to verge on irreparable, and people mishear things, causing there to suddenly be a crowd of individuals running for their own safety. Granted, there was a lot of rush at the station the day that this occurred. But what led there to be a full-fledged stampede? The angst arising from the large volumes of rain improbably what led people to think that a bridge had collapsed at the station, causing them to run amok, killing and injuring several people in the process.
Thus, it is pretty clear that there is a display of heightened stress levels in Mumbai’s torrential rainy season. The only way we can probably real with it is staying indoors, or understanding that being calm is the best way to deal with the chaos that ensues. Rather than incensing people to react in a volatile manner, we should take it upon ourselves to give off an aura or a demeanor that calms other people down. This is probably what will lead to the best, safest outcome in situations where the weather gets the best of experienced commuters in bustling metropolises like our very own!