Part of life in Bangladesh means exotic weather. Having never lived in a tropical climate before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a country that has six seasons rather than four. The seasons are: Barsa (June to August) rainy season, Sarat (September to October) autumn, Hemanto (October to November) late autumn, Seet (November to December) winter, Basanto (December to February) spring, Grisma (March to May) summer. Obviously, each season lasts about 2 months before it subtly morphs into a new season.
We have been here since July and have, therefore, enjoyed only the first season, Barsa. This season is the monsoon rain season and it is really a sight to behold when you are graced with one! Before moving here, I tried to find out exactly what monsoons were like. Were they torrential downpours, which lasted minutes or day-long affairs? No one really seemed to be able to answer the question for me, so I just decided to pack a couple of pairs of rubber boots, an umbrella, a rain jacket and call it good!
The first few weeks of living here delivered absolutely no rain. There were plenty of gray skies, but no rain ever seemed to fall. It was hot and muggy, but never a drop of rain. And then it happened; the skies opened up and poured buckets of water down on Dhaka! It rained for days on end and I finally saw what a monsoon rain looks like! Apparently this is not always the norm during monsoon season, but can be quite common. The streets flooded and cars looked more like boats slowly plowing through the water leaving pedestrians in their wake! An umbrella is pretty much useless on such occasions, I might note, and it’s far too hot to don a pair of rubber boots. Basically, you are more or less defenseless should you get caught in the path of a monsoon! It was such a riot to watch people traveling through the small rivers, which were once the streets of this busy city. We toyed with the idea of rolling up our trousers and joining the locals barefoot in the water, but alas, never got up the nerve to brave the filth that floated along the streets (a topic for another day)!
But not to worry, all the rains since early August have been short, refreshing downpours. Your best bet is to wait them out under shelter of a shop or garage until they pass, and then be on your merry way. The plants are vibrantly green and flowers in bloom during this season. It is a lovely sight to behold, though it is still quite hot and extremely humid this month. I find it pretty much impossible to be outside without breaking a sweat, and that’s before I actually start moving! Aside from being so green, the biggest bonus to this hot, sticky season is the lack of mosquitoes!
We are now moving into Sarat, which is autumn. I must admit it hardly seems like autumn since the trees all keep their leaves and stay green year round. However, the skies have been much bluer lately and there have been breezes to cool down the heat of the midday sun. It is still humid out, but rumor has it, one can catch a “slight chill late in the night… I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one!