Friday, November 09, 2007

Mumbai Floods and me...

(This is a write up I had written almost two years ago, a little while after the Mumabi Flood happened... Please read on and relive the experiences along with me!)
Day 1…26 July 2005, Tuesday
The day went on as usual till late in the afternoon. I had class from 11 am to 6 pm. But, during the lunch break, we noticed that it was raining heavily in the city. (We sit inside a closed room, a studio, so there is no connection with the outside world for us till we come out of the classes). Little did we know that the rain is not going to stop that day and the almost the whole city is not going to sleep that night!!!
It was at 4 pm break, the college management announced that the classes would not be held furthermore because of the incessant rain in the city. It is quite natural in Mumbai (previous Bombay) that at least once in a year the city grinds to an uneasy halt.
5 pm…
I came out of the class, decided that I will catch the Local Train as soon as possible, otherwise the service will stop. But, by my good luck or bad luck (I am not sure about that, still), the service had stopped already in my route (that is Central Railway (CR) from Chathrapathi Shivaji Terminus or CST). I had to go to Kurla, from where; I had to take a bus to Kalina, which is almost 15 minutes journey on a normal day. It was 5 pm then. I waited there for one hour. The terminus was jam-packed with people. The train service had stopped at least two hours ago. Later I got to know from someone that the Western Railway (WR) service had not stopped until he heard about it. The station of the WR is at least 20 mins. away from CST (the station is called Church gate Terminus) by walk.
6 pm…
Now I start going to that station, but I come to know that the WR is also closed long ago and all the people are going back to their offices and staying there until the rain subsides and the train service resumes.
I decide to go back to the college, which is on the same route. Almost all my classmates were there in the canteen, waiting, just like me. I feel happy for a moment that I am not the only person from my class! We wait there for a while and decide to go to a coffee shop to pass the remaining time. Nobody knows how long is that remaining time is!!!
9 pm…
Decided and started to go to ________ Restaurant. By this time some had already gobbled something in the college canteen (including me), or in McDonald's or had gulped something in Barista. It was almost half hour walk from where we were to the Restaurant, situated near another theatre, Regal.
Slowly the group started to realize that the either the rain or train is going to change its course of work, one to rest, the other to stop resting.
11 pm…
Everyone starts to decide on where to stay that night. The girls disperse into groups of two or three. Two guys suddenly disappear, another classmate of ours comes to help two of us get shelter for the night. Finally the new friend (of the other course) and
I get a shelter in an apartment of the classmate's friend. We spend the night there. By this time the rain had not yet stopped.
Day 2…
27 July 2005, Wednesday
7 am…
We get up and the morning seems really normal and leave the house almost at 8. We get a bus to Shivaji Park (near Dadar). Reach the stop by 9.30.
The duo you are following knows little about all this.
We waited for the bus to either Bandra or Santa Cruz. But there was no bus in the scene for a long while. So we decide to walk the rest of the distance. (Imagine, it is almost 7 to 8 kms). It was almost 10.45 am when we reached Bandra, where my friend lives. He takes the route to his home and I continue walking. Soon, I encounter a new problem in front of me, which we never did in the path till Bandra. The S.V. Road right after link road of Bandra was submerged in knee-deep water. I have a big decision to make, I thought. Either I have to walk through that water for almost 300 meters or should take a long way through link road, which is a very long route.
Now I continue to walk through the knee deep water along with hundreds and thousands of people along with me.
As soon as I feel relaxed that I have come out of the water clogged area, within fifteen minutes, I encounter another such situation, this time between Khar and Santacruz. This area did not have as much water as the Bandra area had. So, I move further. Immense show of cordiality and hospitality was seen in the local residents. From children to aged, a housewife to office-goers, everyone had been instrumental in helping either the jammed traffic to move or with distributing the biscuit packets, water, or any aid to the troubled public. The cops never came in picture, even when they did; they were busy shouting at a group of people apparently for no serious cause. Probably they thought that their work is just to jump at the public and nothing more than that.
I finally reach Santacruz and cross the railway over bridge. I hear the news that the Vakola area is totally submerged in water and nobody can cross. Though bewildered and worried, I move on to take a chance. Crazy, you would say! Still I go further, and find that the road is not in as bad a position as the people told me earlier. But, the previous night the Vakola road had chest high water.
12.30 pm…
I successfully reach my room in Kalina
Well… this is the story that happened in the distress period. The city has come a long way since then. I also have grown my knowledge about this enormous city, or the Brihannagari…. The show must go on for Mumbai, and is going on, as usual………..

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