Monsoons & a story about disruption in Mumbai because of flooding is simply inevitable.
I’ve heard stories of the ‘heart’ that this city showed on 26th July. I often wondered if this is indeed Mumbai’s DNA or just a one of cases. I got my answer today when water levels were proclaimed to be as high as 26th July (but that’s just WhatsApp heresay).
HR reluctantly sent a message to leave early in the light of rains. Now the risk appetite of people varied – so low risk folks rushed immediately (recently moved too Mumbai), followed by medium risk (been here for some time now), followed by the aapna Mumbaikars (love for work OR just a strategy to avoid traffic??). Anyway, so I left @ 5 pm – 2 hours after the warning was issued. I came out of office with strong winds blowing on a rainy day. I was fully drenched even if I had an umbrella.
Accha Rickshawala (Good AutoDriver): As expected, I didn’t find any Ola, Uber or auto on road. Not one to cave in, I started walking on the 22 km journey where my home lies. I was almost cursing these apps (for not being there in hour of need) & autowalas for being insensitive when an auto stopped on it’s own. He asked me where I have to go & dropped me without charge till our destinations diverged. While driving he explained how in all autos, brakes become sluggish on waterlogged roads. He advised me to take a bus so that I’ll be safer before bidding good bye.
BEST service-best service: With 3 km down & still no auto in sight – I took the first bus that came my way. It was going to take me 13 km towards my place. I felt I could walk faster – such was the pace of this bus! Thinking it would take me 4 hours to reach, I resigned to my fate. I got a call from my colleague who was ahead of me saying he is stranded now as his auto broke down. Just as I was about to hang up, water rushed inside the bus – around the same point his auto broke down. The scene outside sported waterlogged streets, autos/cabs stranded as water entered their engines & the steady drum of the behemoth begrudgingly treading ahead. The crowd in this bus showed how these rusty buses became the knights in the shining armor today!
Inherent safety of Mumbai: I was walking towards the next place I could get an auto. I stopped a man on a scooty to drop me till that point. It’s not that I didn’t want to walk but getting drenched because of water splashing as cars speed by isn’t the best way to enjoy rains! He didn’t think twice & agreed to drop me another kilometer on the highway.
Open hearts & big gestures: The final stretch of my travel was by a car randomly stopping on highway to ask me where I was going & agreeing to drop me. This guy lived near LTT (10+ km from my pickup point) & just took his car out for the 2nd time ferrying people on EEH. My first thought was of genuine disbelief that anyone could do thisb(I don’t think I would). And this thought was followed by may be all this is happening to me because I’m a girl (#sexism). But then I looked around. That point on highway was crowded with people waiting to start their next journeys. Solo bikers were stopping & giving lifts. Cars with less than 4 travellers stopped & asked people to join them. It was heartening to see people being so considerate.
Where there are senseless problem creators, there are selfless resolvers: Water logging, haste to reach home & being sick of traffic could result in some wrong decisions. But haste makes waste & that is so clearly shown in the lockjam below. However absence of traffic cops didn’t stop conscientious Mumbaikars (guy in blue in the picture) to take ownership & solve it. Within 20 minutes, that road turned green on Google maps from red.
The indomitable spirit: Roads are still waterlogged. Rains have eased but not gone. Some of my friends are still stuck in traffic or chilling in office. But, after 7:30 I heard blaring music of ‘Nasik Dhol’ & drums. Mumbaikars left their houses to immerse their favorite God ‘Ganesha’ as the fifth day ends today – rain or no rain!