Bombay is a great city; but unlike the other "great" cities of the world that experience the different seasons, Mumbai experiences just two: Hot & Wet.
So be it New York,Sydney, London, Paris or even Delhi and Bangalore; all these cities have different temperatures festivals, wardrobes and lifestyles for every changing season. Mumbai unfortunately enjoys varying degrees of heat and mugginess through the year. Beginning mid-June are the Monsoons that go on all the way till the end of September and now with the global weather crises, Mumbaites might enjoy a sprinkle or two of November Rain as well. Although, I have been seeing a lot of Monsoon Fashion trying to get popularised, I don't see the fun of it at all. Staying water-proof is top-priority and there arent many stylish ways of doing it! Besides, until the drainage and sewage is contained, nobody would think of wearing any thing nice and walk about...
The rest of the year, the mercury hovers around the mid-30's. Last year however, we had a cool and crisp "winter", dare I use that word to describe the 3 blissful weeks of shawl and cardigan time! People here were so delighted that they used this opportunity to bring out their woolies and have winter-themed parties, serving raclette and fondue as though we were all suddenly in the Swiss Alps!
What I began to say was that it is fun to have different seasons because that means we get to dress up differently, eat seasonal food items and basically, the city offers a whole series of new things to do, that simply cant be done at other times of the year! Summer is all about eating outdoors, playing in the parks/maidans and lots of different outdoor cultural and music festivals. Its all about enjoying ice-creams and golas and trips to the beach. Autumn is a season of surprises as one moves from the hot to the cold. It is unpredictable weather. In India, it is the most culturally and religiously stimulated period. Every part of the country is reveling in something. It could be the New Year, the visits of Ganpati, Laxmi or Durgamata, Dandiya Raas, Diwali...I could go on and on! People are usually dolled up in new clothes and new jewellery and brimming with positivity. Then comes Winter. In India, winter season is better known as Wedding season so it is usually a very hectic time for all those getting married as well as those attending the marriages! This season continues where the festivities of the previous season ended, and finally moves in to the ultimate party week of Christmas and New Years.January, February and March are usually the most difficult time of the year with the burden of the "winter hardships" on every one. Finally, March and April is a time of hope and happiness, light and longevity. The ice is thawing and the green is sneaking in.........and there we go, that's the 4 seasons for you!
As much as I love Mumbai and the predicatibility of the day, it would be lovely to have the seasons (although I am perfectly happy with a brief spell of the real winter - brrr!). We rarely get to exploit any outdoor city life. If its not a necessity, we don't walk around the city, nor do we keep the windows of our cars down, we rarely hang out at terraces or enjoy a chai on the street.
It is a city with very vibrant people and I am certain, we would have devised great activities to match the weather. Think about it: Ice Skating at the Oval Maidan, walking through the (non-existent) gardens of Mumbai exploring the summer blossoms, bonfires on the beach- toasting marshmallows over the fire crackle, boating, cycling....the possibilities are endless!
I am sure every one has their own wishlist for an Ideal Mumbai life....feel like sharing a few of yours?