Thursday, October 16, 2008

Clouds over the city

You may not be able to figure it out from the photo, but it is actually pouring down; well, maybe if you click on the picture, you may see some white streaks. You would dismiss it as being just another of those mild showers that make Chennai interesting. But today was special. Unlike those earlier this year, it was the real thing today. The Met department has officially announced that the North East monsoon has hit Chennai yesterday, within the range when it is supposed to: in fact, it is slightly on the earlier side. That's certainly good news, because Chennai depends on this season to provide it water to last through until the winds come down from the Himalayas over the Bay of Bengal the next year.

Somehow the monsoons are not as much fun as they used to be. With so much construction all over the city, water does not find its own level very easily; and when it does, it is in the middle of that road you want to walk across. Building traffic dividers across some of the bigger roads has stopped the free flow of water into the storm water drains or the canals that would empty them into the Bay of Bengal, eventually. The water stays, obeying the rules, to the side of the road that it has fallen on, doing no good to anyone, waiting for the next spell of sunshine to change it into mud, before evaporating away completely.

A couple of months ago, there was a report that nearly 4 million recharge structures were to be built to harvest the monsoon run-off waters. Surely Chennai city will need a significant proportion of those!

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