After week-long Durga Puja festivities, Kolkata again hit by heavy rain

Kolkatans looking forward to resuming normal life on Monday after a week marked by Durga Puja festivities found their city once again battered by a downpour, with many now saying that rains were overstaying their welcome.

“They are not just unwelcome guests now, but annoying and stubborn ones who simply refuse to leave. Work has resumed today but the rains are a serious bummer. The mood is gloomy and the brooding skies are not helping one in crawling back to work life. As if the pandemic is not the only thing that changed us, the weather too is playing second fiddle,” said Mumbai-based advertising professional Sreelekha Maitra, who has been spending more time working out of hometown Kolkata ever since the COVID-19 broke out.

The Meteorological department has attributed the current rainfall to a low pressure area that has formed over West Bengal and northern Odisha. “Strong southeasterly winds from the Bay of Bengal are likely to prevail over Gangetic West Bengal from October 18 to 20. Enhanced rainfall activity is very likely to continue over the districts of West Bengal [during this period],” a special bulletin issued by the department said.

“I think it’s very worrying and a clear sign that we are all dealing with the effects of climate change and global warming. I almost feel apocalyptic about it. The coastal areas are already bearing the brunt of super cyclones that are hitting them with alarming regularity. Rains are nice and poetic for those who can afford to be indoors. So in a way, I’d say it’s even something that denotes where we stand on the privilege ladder, you know, whether we can afford to enjoy the rains,” said Anupama Maitra, a professor of English at the Gour Mohan Sachin Mandal Mahavidyalaya, located on the outskirts of Kolkata.

Technocrat-cum-entrepreneur Indranil Aich, a resident of Salt Lake City, also attributed the untimely rains to climate change. “It has once again disrupted livelihoods of people after a weeklong closure. Adding insult to injury is the sharp increase in the impermeable surface ratio in urban Kolkata and its suburbs, causing waterlogging and lowering the speed of return to normal work life. Daily wagers and officegoers are a worried lot because rejoining work is going to be challenging if the rain continues — this at a time when the economy already gasping for breath,” Mr. Aich said.

Howrah resident Reshmi Basu, employed as manager (logistics) with Bengal Pharmaceuticals, said: “As a working woman, I am more than disgusted, irritated. Rainy day was fun during school days, now rainy day only means more work — to travel to office, come back drenched, jump into finishing household chores. It seems the clouds were scared of the presence of Goddess Durga and now that she’s gone, rains have hit us again. We don’t seem to have seasons anymore — it either feels summer or the monsoon.”

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