– Written July 15, 2013
I’m going to be honest with you… I agreed to spend 3 months in India, during the rainy seasons, with a limited understanding of the monsoons. And, when I say “limited understanding,” I mean, “I had no idea what to expect,” as my concept of the monsoons was based off of the film Monsoon Weddings and it rains for a total of five minutes in the last scene. Leaving Boston, I had no idea what to expect and over the last 6 weeks I’ve come to realize there is a disconnect between my personal monsoon essentials and those of the people who actually live here.
My monsoon must-haves consist of a Barbour coat or a hot pink raincoat paired with Hunter Wellington Rain Boots, sunglasses and oh yes, can’t forget, an umbrella. In short, I look a little like this…
Albeit, sans dog.
Some may scoff at my decision to wear a Barbour coat in scorching heat of India but when torrents of rain fall from the sky at an unrelenting pace and the wind starts to rush by your face… It gets a little cold. Sunglasses may also raise a few eyebrows but don’t let the word sun deter you from rocking your shades because the previously mentioned wind gets a little nasty and who knows what might fly into your eye. (Also, I’ve developed the habit of wearing sunglasses in all types of weather.)
Expat or native – an umbrella is a must! In addition, I’ve seen many people place their cellphones in plastic bags, akin to Ziploc baggies, and use them as such.
Now, regardless of what I wear in India I will draw stares but it is my knee-high rain boots which really steal the show. Whenever I don my Hunters, I will notice men and women alike staring at my feet. My shoes, I have realized, have the ability to elicit baffled expressions, friendly smiles and much to my dismay, even a few snickers. Just as my footwear is such an oddity to Indians I am equally surprised and amazed that no one in India, unless they are an expat or incredibly stylish, wears rain boots in the rain. Instead, sandals, flats and even crocs are deemed acceptable footwear. I’ve even seen many ladies wear heels or sandals with wedges!
It baffles me. But, there are pros and cons to both options. Unlike the exposed sandals and chappals, my feet remained comfortably dry and mud free. But, while I clunk around in massive, cumbersome rain boots everyone else is walking around without massive bricks attached to their feet.
Kiran Gill spent the summer in Mumbai interning at Vogue India. Read more about her time in India on her blog: http://musemumbai.wordpress.com/