Growing up in Pune, June meant monsoons, the start of school and a new raincoat. In college, we were too sophisticated to wear flowery raincoats, so we all wore wind cheaters, never mind that our legs got wet.
Fast forward to Mumbai and I found I was the only one in a crowded bus wearing a jacket and dripping onto everyone around me. Umbrellas are more suited to travelling in Mumbai as most people rely on cars, buses, trains or rickshaws. And the volume and power of rain in Mumbai meant that an umbrella was better protection. Small shoe repair kiosks repair the bent spokes of umbrellas.
In Mumbai, I found that I required multiple umbrellas- a cheap compact one to leave behind in a taxi in the first week of June, to propitiate the rain gods. Then a sturdy large one that doesn’t fold, to swing along jauntily on dry days. And a compact one to carry in a bag in October for that unexpected retreating-monsoon shower. One thing I never understood about Mumbai's rains was the prevalence of open or meshed rubber footwear. There's leptospirosis in those puddles people, why aren't you demanding knee-high boots?
Now that we’re in Goa, we are usually walking, cycling or on a scooter- all of which are unsuited to umbrellas. After trial and error with jackets (I’m the only one in the room with wet legs), stylish polka-dotted raincoats for the ladies (zipper breaks and buttons gape open on the bike and I’m again the only one in the room with wet legs) I have latched onto the poncho- keeps me and my bag warm and dry. Available in Margao new market, these babies will last for multiple seasons.
Although some of us prefer to go out into the rain in our swimsuits!