We have now been here only a few days, and the rain seems just to keep coming. People are saying this is the worse monsoon for 10 years, typical. It’s like being in Manchester, only with heat!
Michelle struggles to get home in the rain, it takes her 2 and half hours, where usually it only takes 20 mins. We are getting a bit worried, the traffic stops, the roads are waterlogged. Michelle is stuck at school. Later in the news, we hear that 100 die in the floods, a famous surgeon falls down a uncovered manhole cover to his death and 1.8 million children don’t go to school for two days due to school closures.
I say to the boys ‘I know it is raining, but do you fancy a run?’
‘Why not’, is their reply, ‘it’s only a monsoon’.
Running in the rain is something that we do all the time in the UK and in Spain. It is something that us three just take for granted.
But here it is different. So we are all ready to run, but the biggest problem is where. The street is an impossibility: cows, dogs, rickshaws, people and whatever else you can imagine makes this a no-no. That’s without the amount of rain coming down.
So the boys’ obvious question is: ‘where are we going to run, Dad?’
I think that is a good question, and it reminds me of the sad story of the Chilean miners, trapped underground. They were trapped for months without light. One of the surviving miners said that the only thing that kept him sane was the fact he could run, even in the dark.
I am thinking ‘whatever else happens, if I can run or walk somewhere safe, I feel a lot better’. The Chilean miner said, “if you can run, you are free”.
But here, so far in Mumbai this simple freedom doesn’t seem easy.
First we are advised we could run of the roof of the hotel, but after inspection this could be a possibility but not in the rain; the surface of the roof is ceramic tiles, making this option again a no-no.
Opposite the hotel I see space. “There” I say to the boys, “that’s where we can run”.
Dad, that’s a building site isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah, but it is space”.
We have to be careful, to avoid metal pipes, bricks, massive manhole covers that are not covered. But, at least I think to myself, these obstacles are not moving.
It is now raining really hard; so hard you could hardly see in front of you.
I say to the boys, ‘how many people get the chance to run in a monsoon, and furthermore, run in a monsoon on an active building site?’