india drought monsoon
A Shepard on the dry bed of Manjara Dam in the Indian state of Maharashtra (Image: AP/Manish Swarup)

After several weeks of teasing Mumbai with scattered showers, India’s monsoon finally hit with a vengeance last Friday. Within hours, cars and the constant horn-honking conga-line of trademark black and yellow motorised rickshaws were ploughing through rapidly rising waters. The city’s roads, notoriously traffic clogged at the best of times, resembled half-submerged car parks. 

At King Edward Memorial Hospital in the northern business district of Parel -- a sprawling crumbling campus emblematic of the tatty stripped down services in the public health system -- patients were forced to wade through 20cm-high water to get through the front gate and navigate additional ponds if venturing further afield.