As I sit to write this, dark clouds blanket the Mumbai skies and a soft, clear drizzle is slowly filling up the tiny pothole that I can see from my window. I know my three-year-old son Kabir will be happy to see the puddle and I pray that it doesn’t dry up before he comes back home from school. It has rained so much in the past few days that the puddles are not murky anymore. They are translucent, have tiny ripples and reflect the tall apartment buildings that surround them. Life in Mumbai in the monsoon has its own rhythm. Every living being dances to it because they know its wiles and charms. We, recent returnees from the US, are slowly learning.

Seasons are hard to understand. Well, actually, change is difficult to fathom. For a three-year-old why should there be change? Why can’t things just stay the same? No additions and no deletions, just a constant hum.

Summer was exceptionally cruel this year. While we sweated and groaned through the oppressive heat, Kabir was unfazed. He felt right at home. It reminded him of the Texas heat. Summer playtime in the school playground, daylight until late, long walks and bike rides. He felt like nothing had changed. While we chose to stay at home, he yearned to go out and play. “It is too hot to play” made absolutely no sense to him. While our Labrador Clouseau ducked for cover and ran into rooms with the air-conditioner on, Kabir chose to have a long drink of water and run outside.

But then the dark clouds gathered. It rained and brought with it wet balconies, muddy swing, and strict instructions to not go to the park because of the slush and grime. Children in the building already used to the monsoon stopped coming out to play in the evening but stayed at home and played indoor games.

“What are indoor games, Mamma?” asks Kabir.

“Games you play at home when you can’t go outside,” I reason with him.

“Like boring puzzles and cards?” he muses.

Splashing in the puddles

So I sat down with him and spoke to him about the rains and the clouds. I tried to be scientific but he particularly liked a silly story about the clouds being too full and airplanes and birds poking holes to make rain. We went shopping for a raincoat. I wanted a plain, yellow Paddington Bear raincoat for him, but he chose a garish, red and blue raincoat with characters from the movie Cars on it. We are still looking for galoshes or rain boots and will only buy when we can find ones that match his raincoat. After all, they belong together. We now take Clouseau out for a walk everyday in the rain, as a family, so everyone can get used to that wet feeling. We carry umbrellas and raincoats and most importantly jump in every puddle we see. Of course, we check for frogs first.

“How much longer will it rain Mamma?”

“Three more months…” I say reluctantly.

His face falls but perks up instantly when he thinks of all the splashing he can do in puddles. I can’t resist and offer to make some paper boats. We grab some paper and head downstairs.

That then will be the way we make our peace with the Indian monsoon. One puddle and paper boat at a time.