There are two kinds of rain people in the world. One is the woman who runs barefoot through puddles, singing to the clouds and tasting the rain on her face. Then there’s me: Dodging puddles, cursing cars, and praying that Thor returns to Asgard.
If this is going to be your first monsoon in India, don’t worry – okay, maybe worry a little. The rains are a welcome combat to our hot summers as they bring along cool winds and cloudy skies. The earth smells lovely, trees are green, and shirt collars are no longer rimmed with sweat and grime.
But we have to be honest here; our cities are notorious for being ill-prepared for the inevitable annual downpour. Excessive logging, not enough well-constructed pavements, and one too many potholes mean much, much more splatter and splash than you’re probably used to. That said, I also recall the words of Scar, from The Lion King: “Being prepared is half the battle won.”
We know you’ve got the umbrella, the poncho and the Crocs sorted. Here’s a list of tips and tricks to fit in your handbag to stay prepared for the rains. Trust us, we know from sordid experience that these are the things you wish you remembered to pack.
1. Wet wipes
If you’ve stepped in a puddle or been splashed by a speeding car or collected some muddy backsplash on your legs, bring out your disinfectant wet wipes.
Pro tip: I’ve used them to wipe clean my favourite handbag, and cutlery at dive bars.
2. Hand sanitiser
In some cities, water-logging brings with it the risk of nasty diseases. A travel-size bottle of sanitiser is a must-have. Slather it on to your feet and hands after rinsing them of logged water.
3. Hand towel or foot spray
There’s nothing worse than damp feet that squiggle and squelch in your shoes. A small hand towel and/or a bottle of refreshing foot spray will give you happy feet that keep walking.
Pro tip: Free your feet when you’re in transit, and let them breathe. Also remember to wipe dry the insides of your shoes.
4. Hair spray
Unless you can rock frizz (which, to be honest, only a rare breed can), keep a small bottle of anti-frizz hair spray at hand. If you can’t find a spray, pick up a bottle of serum. Stay away from heavy mousse creams and hair oils as they will only weigh your hair down in the humidity.
5. Hair ties
Remember to keep extra hair ties in your bag, so you don’t have to wear a damp one all day long. Also, in case of above mentioned frizz, abandon your visions of the look you assembled in your head. A neat, tied back ponytail is a classic.
Pro tip: Consider hand dryers in the restrooms of malls and restaurants your best ally. Sure, you’ll look a bit contorted trying to fit your head where your hands should be, but hey, we’ve all been there and nobody is judging.
6. Dry shampoo
If you’re caught in a sudden downpour in the middle of your day, take solace in a bottle of dry shampoo. The clay helps draw out excess moisture from your scalp.
Pro tip: Dry shampoo should just be used as a quick-fix, not as a replacement for regular hair washes.
7. Blotting tissues
Tea-tree oil blotting tissues will freshen up your skin up without wiping away makeup. Dab humidity and sheen away without destroying your day look, and you’ll feel like a new person too. If you were to be abandoned on a monsoon island with only one handbag tool, make it this.
9. Plastic bag
Carry a spare plastic bag to store damp items, so that the inside of your handbag stays dry.
Lastly, pack a roll of dry tissue or a hand towel to wipe clean anything you may want (or need) to.
Keep in mind that the rains aren’t really the nuisance but it’s the other factors like traffic, potholes and hawkers that can be. That said, the monsoons bring a breath of fresh air, and nothing smells as nice as the world after a good shower. Keep your tools ready and you’ll sail through the downpours comfortably.
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