Sunday, July 31, 2005

postcard from j: water water everywhere, but...

it was supposedly only the 10th rainiest day in the history of the indian monsoon. tell that to any mumbaikar and s/he will give you a cold stare.

my arm hurts even as i type this. its been more than 97 hours since i reached the safe confines of my home. the experience of taking more than 19 hours to get home from office on 26-27 july 2005, two bleak and forgettable days in the city that never sleeps (and probably one that will not sleep for a while), is going to haunt me for the rest of my life. honestly, compared to what so many others went through, my ordeal was nothing. but i was scared to death. the reason: i can't swim and i'm not much of a water fan!

so here goes my story:

tuesday 5 pm - i left office with 5 others in somebody's car. B whose car we were in, lives in Bandra... so we got a ride till the Reclamation Flyover (this we reached at 11:oo pm). then DN (my other colleague who lives in Vakola, close to my place) and i walked towards the highway, but we heard that the water level was too high. so we went towards Linking Road. it started raining heavily while we were walking - there were so many people on the roads. we reached a spot close to SV Road (where the lane connects to Sacred Heart Church), but it was so dark (no lights) that we didn't know we had even reached there. we got into a BEST bus and waited for a while. one girl fainted in the bus. mobile phones had no network. one lady had MTNL Dolphin service and it was working. i tried calling the home landline and my brother on his mobile from her phone, but it was of no use. so i only managed to call my other colleague in Dadar and told her where we were and to inform home, if possible. after that, my cell lost all network and the battery almost died.

wednesday 12:15 am - then DN and i walked in that lane - there was knee-length water, but the problem was that the tide was coming in, so the water had very strong currents. it was getting difficult to walk in it. finally, we crossed it and reached Santacruz Station, where there was no flooding. we met two other people who DN knew. but the worst spot was under the Vakola Flyover. the water was waist-high and people had abandoned their vehicles submerged in the water. some people were in a BEST double decker bus. not many were walking in the water. upto St. Anthony’s Church in Vakola, we had to wade through the floods.

wednesday 3:30 am - it was horrible and i just wanted to go home. but there were no lights anywhere, so D said we better stay at his house and move in the morning. so we camped at his place for the rest of the night.

wednesday 4:00 am - his wife gave us food to eat and some dry clothes to change into. we slept till about 8:30 am. but the rain had not stopped. after some breakfast, DN went to check the situation and came back saying that Kalina, where i live was ok. he dropped me home by bike and i was so relieved to just be home alive. Kalina was badly hit; it was all over the news. Kalina is now world-famous for all the wrong reasons.

this harrowing experience only increased my disgust towards the government and public utilities. anil thakraney, one of my favourite columnists, really hit the nail on the head in his sunday column.

i only wish we had people in power who cared. let's say a prayer for those who were not so fortunate.

5 Replies:

Darth Midnightmare said...

Glad to know you're's been freaking awful being away actually. Wasn't able to contact anyone. I only got to know about things a couple of days later. Heard there have been more bad rains there today. Hope you're ok..... I don't blame the power department so much though. Read that they had to switch off electricity in parts of Bombay due to electrocution fears as in several ares, ground floor flats were flooded....

The people I do blame are the people in charge of the drainage system. Sure, these rains were worse than most years, but anyone in Bombay knows that flooding and water logging happens every year.....anmd yet you see no action taken to improve the drainage system....or to even clean it......

Ellipsis said...

Great to know you're safe :)

Srinath Rao said...

what to do yaar JC..
there was water everywhere but the taps during that fateful week.

anyways life has never stopped in mumbai & it never will just hoping that some concrete measures are drawn up at the soonest.
today i read in the paper that govt plans to ban plastic bags which was heartning to read.. hope it comes thru sooner than later


tabs said...

everbody seems to have had a bad time. btw , the post on men was hillarious. just read it.

Just Me said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

I was in Chennai when the Tsunami struck. There was widespread devastation. Some people might never recover from the shock of having lost everything to a single wave.

Me thinks we can't blame the Govt. and the Machinery alone. I like this city and its people for their spirit of surviving against all odds.. Even if the elected Reps (that they themselves elect) have brought them in this mess in the first place!

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