July 10th: Yesterday, there was a very brief downpour in Kanpur. I hardly noticed it. But apparently it really screwed up parts of the city, according to the local paper:

"A nagging drizzle, interspersed by light to moderate showers, totally disrupted normal life in the city on Wednesday. Attendance was below normal in many government offices and banks. Most people remained indoors. Though the changed weather conditions lowered temperatures and brought some relief to the citizens from the summer heat, Kanpurites now have to contend with waterlogged streets, overflowing drains and filthy water flowing into their houses through the water pipes. Overflowing drains compounded the citizen's woes, and revealed the hollowness of the Nagar Nigam's claims about de-silting of drains. Sources in the Nagar Nigam told The Pioneer that the much-touted de-silting drive launched in the beginning of this month has come a cropper with the sweepers engaged for the purpose abandoning the work after a few days itself due to nonpayment of their daily wages. The problems caused by the light showers and drizzle gave ample clues that worse would follow once the monsoon sets in, in all its fury."

Best place to check is Sarvodya Nagar: Getting to Sarvodhyanagar should take fifteen minutes. It was only a few inches of rain. And that was yesterday. But the main road is now a succession of muddy lakes. Why is it that Indian streets always seem to be planned without any idea of camber? So that any water collects in the middle and can't run off? The broken-bricked earth between the one room shacks in the slum is wet but no more than that. Leela is up and about. She's had the baby the previous week.

"Hello, Leela. So how bad is it? Just one night's rain, and it's like this!"
"Yesterday was horrible. The rain was very bad. And as we told you last time, this is just what we were afraid would happen. We were waiting for the wall to come down. And it did yesterday"

I have more prosaic questions: "Where exactly does this water - it does go somewhere because it is flowing - where does it go?"

"Yesterday, we dug a channel and it was flowing out on the road. Last year we'd built some toilets and we put in a sewer line: somebody had opened a hole into the sewer line for the water to drain into. But now that sewer line is jammed because of all the dirt from the road. We have to have somewhere for the water to go, after all! So we dug it yesterday night. Otherwise, the water would come into the house."

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A Monsoon Diary

by Julian Crandall Hollick
page 10