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Journalist, Author, Columnist. My Twitter handle: @seemagoswami

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Monsoon Survival Kit

Some handy tips to keep you frizz-free and stress-free this rainy season

Is it my imagination or do civic services seem to get worse every monsoon? The traffic snarls increase, the number of potholes proliferate, and the flooding – even when the volume of rain is not out of the ordinary – gets more apocalyptic with every passing year.

So, I wouldn’t blame you if you regard the onset of the rainy season with dread and trepidation, wondering what fresh hell will be unleashed this monsoon. I would, in fact, understand completely, and make sympathetic noises even as you moaned and groaned.

But what good would that do you? None at all!

Which is why I have decided to compile my own Monsoon Survival Kit to provide you practical tips and advice to get through this season with your feet dry, your hair frizz-free and your sanity intact.

·       Grant yourself rainy-day holidays: When the rain is coming down so hard that complete and utter traffic dislocation seems guaranteed, call in sick. If you think that won’t wash (pun alert!) then claim to be flooded in and ask if you can work from home. Then you can hunker down on your bed (or sofa) with a nice, steaming cup of tea, and work on your laptop with one eye on the amazing monsoon sky raging and raving outside your window. And when the rain finally comes down, you can take a little balcony break to feel the fresh spray of rainwater on your face. Bliss!

·        Better still, hold over some of your annual summer leave for the monsoon. Then when everyone else is dealing with traffic jams and car breakdowns, you could be walking the beach in Goa or Kerala, getting soaked to the bone as your feet squelch across the wet sand. And while swimming in the sea may be out of the question in this season, you can still enjoy its stormy beauty as you sit at a beachside shack, knocking back some fish fry with a beer or a vodka tonic. (If the beach seems too messy, then head for the mountains to feast your eyes on the mist, the fog, and yes, the rain, from your vantage point in the hills.)

·       If you do have to go to work, then work on making your commute fun. If you are driving, load some nice rain songs on your music system or pop in the earphones to listen to your latest audio book. If you are being driven, catch up on your reading, whether it is with an e-book reader, an actual book or the Kindle app on your phone. Phone a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Check out your favourite feeds on Instagram. If you can fill this empty time by doing something you enjoy, something that makes you happy, even the interminable jams won’t seem intolerable.

·       There will be several days during this season that you will find yourself marooned at home. So make sure that you have everything you need to keep yourself entertained. Subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hotstar, so that you can binge-watch the latest shows. Make sure the liquor cabinet is well-stocked. Keep lots of microwaveable popcorn handy, so that you can replicate the movie-watching experience at home. (Added bonus: at home, unlike at the cinema, you can pair this with a glass or two of wine!)

·       But while there is a lot to be said for chilling in the dry comfort of your home when the monsoon is raging outside, you will be missing out if you just stay indoors. So, when there is a break in the rain, head out for a walk in the neighborhood park. The rain will have had a cleansing effect on all the vegetation, the leaves will be sparkling, the flowers glistening, the grass greener than ever, and the world will seem like a happier, shinier place.

·       This is the season of bad-hair weeks (rather than days). The humidity will make you sweat gallons and you will feel like washing your hair every single day when you get back home. But don’t just stop at a shampoo, pamper your hair with a frizz-free conditioner. And to make sure your ends don’t curl up by the next morning, squeeze on some frizz-free mousse for good measure before you blow-dry it. (Alternatively, you could just embrace your curly-hair avatar. But while there is something to be said for philosophical acceptance, it still smacks of defeatism to me.)

·       Whether or not you have kids of your own, this is as good a time as any to relive your childhood. As a child, rains to me always meant heading straight for the terrace to get soaked to the skin. Then, it was time for a quick shower and settling down to some chai-pakora, served up by my long-suffering mother. Now that she is no longer around, I go through the ritual all on my own. But I can feel her presence even in her absence; and I feel like a six year old again. And I have the rains to thank for that.

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