And then came the rains

I couldn’t post the blog yesterday. Rainy season has arrived here in Goa. Coastal areas of Mumbai are currently being evacuated.

Cyclone Nisarga, meaning Cosmic, is battering the west coast of southern India. That means infrastructure is creaking; power is out, internet has disappeared and evenings are spent by candlelight.

As the reality of this natural lockdown sinks in, I’m philosophical. The challenge to create, upload and publish a travel musing, idea or ramble is increased, though not out of reach. If I miss a few daily deadlines, so be it.

The beauty of Indian culture at this time is that even as essential infrastructure collapses, descending whole neighborhoods into darkness, local life continues unabated. As I rode home on my first monsoon bike ride, I spotted the mobile baker selling a few bread rolls to a neighbour. That scene warmed my heart.

I took that simple situation as a metaphor for what makes India so honest and real. Independence runs deep in this country. Beyond the systems, structures and bureaucracy, society does its own thing.

Community commerce continues. Self sufficiency is king. Everyone does their bit.

As the systems we’ve come to rely on so heavily in modern life have been exposed for the failing institutions that they are, it’s reassuring to see that there is a way of life outside of it. A simple, hand to hand, face to face existence that garners cooperation, trust and respect.

If I’ve learned anything from recent events, it’s that in times of hardship, people come together to support each other.

And in this way, the future will look like the past because when the rains come, there’s nothing to do but stay local, buy fresh, put the kettle on and wait for the storm to pass.