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'We Mumbaikars are being taken for granted'

Last updated on: July 27, 2005 16:01 IST
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Wasked readers about how they coped with the torrential rain in Mumbai and this is what the early responses said, verbatim:

I was returning from Kalwa to my home in Prabhadevi by company bus. The bus left at around 5 pm and somehow it managed to reach some place just before Everard Nagar in Chembur at 6:30 pm. There we were stuck in huge traffic. We thought maybe after half an hour there would be some progress. But after 45 minutes we decided to leave the bus. Some people decided to stay back.

What followed will be an experience of a lifetime for me. I started walking in between traffic with some of my company colleagues. But it was raining heavily. Also the street lights had gone.

Soon I was alone walking with strangers. I managed to start a coversation with a guy who was going to Bandra. He was not from Mumbai. But he knew his way around the city. Still I could see that he was shaken by the fury of the rains. The lashing rains were accompanied by bolts of lightning. We found it was no good keeping our umbrellas open. Every few metres we walked felt like a kilometre. We were stumbling along in knee deep water on the divider of the road in order to avoid the exodus of people coming from South Mumbai and heading for their homes in the central suburbs. Still we managed to keep our enthusiasm going.

Somehow we managed to reach Sion. My companion for that journey went on his was way to Bandra. I felt a slight sense of achievement that I saw him reach Sion safely. I was alone on my way again. In Matunga there was waist high water. I still cannot believe what I have seen.

People of all kinds... Old people, kids, women with babies in their arms. Everyone had no option but to keep going. Finally, land showed up again after some time.

Again at Dadar TT circle I had to go in knee deep water, but by now I had got used to it. Somehow, I reached Kabutarkhana in Dadar where I called home and told dad that I was coming in about half an hour. Finally, when I reached home at 11 pm in the night, I was tired even to speak. My family heaved a sigh of relief. But I wondered how many like me were still struggling to reach their abodes.

--Samir Manjarekar

My name is Mira. I stay at grant road. I am geeting married in Delhi on the 30th of July. Tomorrow, 28th was going to be my engagement. We left last evening at 3.30pm to catch the 4.55 pm Rajdhani train to delhi, and i think these were the worst monsoons, i ever experienced. It was a restless wait at the station with no confirmed news of the whether the train was going to depart or not. We were finally informed at 10 pm that the train would depart at 5.25 am next day. We returned home -- exhausted.

Anyway, as of this morning the rajdhani was also cancelled. All my relatives are also stuck in different parts of mumbai and may not be able to come for the wedding.

Current status -- i have booked tics for me and my family for tomm morning's spice jet as well as tomm evenings rajdhani. i have to make it to delhi by 29th maximum -- i request for mumbai to pray for me -- since all arrangements have been made. Keep me in your prayers please!!

--Mira Dalvi

My sister Komal Mehta left from her office in Saki Naka at 4 pm Tuesday evening, but has not reached home (Bandra-East MIG Colony) until now (Wednesday noon). We could only speak to her for a brief period of 20 seconds this morning, when she mentioned she's allright. But we dont know her whereabouts at all. Anyone knowing more -- please let me know (I stay at Ahmedabad) on 098244 11094. Many thanks.

--Parind Mehta

I think Mumbaikars deserves this!!! They do not bother about public life, poor infrastructure in the city, give undue publicity to hungry politicians and take corruption in Government Offices as part of daily routine!

The result: Just one day of heavy rains: Trains stops, Traffic signals/systems fails, Power is off, Mobile phones become silent, sewage system fails .. city becomes a big gutter and so on... You need public infrastructure in emergency situations like this and it does not work when you need it.. but what is most important..... mumbaikars will forget this episode in just two days and do not learn any lessons out of this.. to improve the public infrastructure for future generations to come.

I stayed back in office last night... did not suffer much as I did suffer in the past in a similar situation but I am convinced that Mumbai will never become another Shanghai or Tokyo or London or New York in another 100 years to come. Slap this message on the face of Mumbai's politicians!

--Sanjay C Shah

It is high time Mumbaikars protest to the stepmotherly treatment given in terms of grants to improve the infrastructure. Delhi, the seat of power and arrogance, takes away all the money. All come to Mumbai to earn money and very litlle comes back to the city. Film stars make so much money, why cant they set up a NGO for giving back to the citys infrastructure. The city has made them wealthy and healthy and they must return back to the city a good amount of their wealth and not sing desh and swadesh songs on the silver screen.

C'Mon you rich cinemawallas and rich industrialists give back to the city. About the central govts callous treatment to Mumbai, Mumbaikars should protest non-violently, by using the media , street theaters, and rallys in Shivaji Park. Why not make films on this subject of robbing Mumbai and paying to other cities.

Mumbai Thula Salaam.

-- Gajanan

Yesterday the myth of the Mumbaikars of living in an almost there World Class city was shattered when they were provided a crash course in survival tactics, courtesy BMC. I, myself, took just four hours to walk all the way from VJTI to my residence in BARC, Mankhurd which included half swimming, jumping over the dividers, avoiding the open manholes but yes! I survived and well i plan to try my luck at Olympics in Beijing now.

I totally agree with BMC that they couldn't do anything about flooding, but i would had requested them to keep at least the streetlights switched on so that no one would go for an quick underwater exploration through the numerous open manholes. And if they wan't to say that it was to reduce the risk of short circuit, i would just tell them grow up boys, we live in the age of nano technology and if u can't find a better use of the tax payer's money better return it to them, find a hole for yourself (anyways there are plenty you people have left ) and jump in.

Also it is my firm belief that heavy rain or light rain the capacity of our sewers has exhausted maybe two decades earlier, but we have to suffer coz we have elected some morons who don't have the heads to see what the future needs.

Anyways i hope that whatever maybe the faults with BMC at least right now they should try helping the people stranded.

May God help all those who are in need.

--Sudheer Ballare

My uncle has been in his car on chembur bridge since yesterday afternoon 3 pm. it is now 1045 am on 27th july !! the last we spoke to him was at 830 pm last night and he had said there were 200 cars in front of his. we have lost total contact with him and we are absolutely frantic. He is an 80-year-old senior citizen ..if there is anyway people on that stretch of road can be helped please please do it.

also, i want every single tax paying mumbaikar to STOP remitting tax money to delhi and we should all use the money for then next 3 quarters to build a better public transport system. let the people of bihar and bengal fend for themselves.

we mumbaikars are being taken for granted as a bottomless source of money. public infrastructure is improving all over the country and here we are left with 100 year old systems.

even television news yesterday was all about some industrial dispute in haryana of some few 100 people whereas millions of people spent the evenign and the night in the open in mumbai. and the news coverage was pathetic. scores have died in maharashtra and doordarshan news channels are showing some army day parade in the news bulletins!!

Finally, a big thank you to all mumbaikars -- rich and poor who have upheld the spirit of this city. i have not heard from my uncle but i am sure god has been with him in the form of some helpful mumbaikar.

--A Gandhi

I write this mail in praise of the city's governing body for having worked 'hardly' hard to protect its citizens from trouble if such torrential rains were to pour any day.

Yesterday's rains made me recollect my previous experience when I was only 10 yrs old and was caught in a similar situation in my school at Dadar East and my parents had come to pick me up literally swimming their way out. Today I am eighteen and this time I had to swim all by myself from college to home.

In these eight years people have changed, the city has changed, the leaders have changed but I still believe nothing substantial has changed in the city's governing body. All my way from Khar to Matunga, I saw some real heroes as well as irritants.

One one hand there were rowdies who were running topless for no rhyme and reason splashing water on ladies and college girls in the process for reasons best known to the world and on the other hand a group of four people were tying a thick rope around a tree and a street lamp to prevent people from tripping in the pothole that lay between the two.

A poor old lady was being escorted through her journey by a young lad who lived nowhere near her. One of my friends saw a little kitten taking shelter in the underbelly of a car which was about to start. He immediately rushed to stop the driver and took out the kitten and put her in a safe place. These actions certainly gave me a breather which makes my belief in the city's ethics even more stronger.

The city stands tall today because of its citizens like these. I salute these heroes and hope that the the authorities take lessons from them and strive hard in future to protect the citizens from such jeopardy. (The last sentence of my tale being the only stereotype remark).

--Karthik Philip Thomas

It was good to see people in high spirits in spite of walking huge distances in water.

I walked from Wadala station, Dadar T T, then Parel on my way home (Byculla). People were walking in the opposite direction in groups, making merry, having a blast.

There was a guy trying to float atop a chopped off tree trunk, like he were riding on a horse. People were playing water-volley ball, some young dudes were also treated us to ala SALMAN KHAN with bare-chests and all.

I felt read sad when after crossing water logged Parel a middle-aged man came up to me -- totally exhausted asking me how far THANE was. All I could say was that "If you continue walking you might reach tomorrow morning." When i told him we was only at Parel his jaw dropped, but he quickily returned with a huge grin saying, "Oh! what the heck" and carried on walking.

Residents at Parel, Dadar, Lalbaug were very helpful trying to steer people away from manholes.

All i can say is Mumbai is down underwater but not OUT

Cheers Mumbaiiyas... keep up the Hi-SPIRITS


Well.... its 11:00 pm here in San Jose, California. Am tracking the mumbai tragics for last 3 hrs. Its been worse conditions mumbai ever faced. I lived in mumbai for last 29 yrs. Not seen such a havoc due to rains. Saw some pix on rediff. And was shocked to know so many incidents. Dear mumbaities, don't even try to make to the office. Doesn't really matter. Those who are still stuck, pls be careful enough. Hope the rains will slow down soon. Man... this is gonna be certainly unforgatable.

--Nikhil Ernade

By 16:30 hrs on tuesday, the panic spread in the city. My driver assured to drive us in my Honda City to Sion. I checked up the water logging and traffic situation from Ballard Estate to Sion with Inspector Deepak Kathgade of the prosecution branch of the Traffic Police at the Worli based headquarters. Inspector Katgade phoned up various places. For half and hour he kept on phoning. He then informed me not to take a chance and asked me to stay put up in my office at Ballard Estate. He also informed us about the 13 feet high tide at 15:50 hrs on Tuesday. This showed that it would have been foolish and suicidal to try to reach Sion from Ballard Estate.

Luckily I had the company of a young MBBS doctor, Vishal Marwah. The roads in Fort area were navigable. The young doctor brought eatables from the Big Mac at VT. We slept peacefully. We are still in the office, well cushioned and relaxed, but deeply anguished by misery of lakhs, more so because most of it was avoidable, given the technology today.

I am writing this to let everyone know that before they venture out they should check up from the traffic police/Meteorology, whenever it is possible.

If there are people who wish to throw stones at the meteorology department and our Page 3 print media, I am willing to join them. The Mumbai Municipal staff, paid by the tax payers money, deserve a watery grave atleast one thousand leagues below the sea. And so also the arrogant staff at the fire brigade. And what about our MPs, MLAs and Corporators -- again paid by us, the tax-payers?

Let us not forget the flooded Tuesday, when they next come with a toothy grin for seeking votes!

My eternal gratitude to Inspector Deepak Katgade of the traffic police, Mumbai for his efficiency, courtesy and kindness and the most timely help and guidance.

--Shrikant Bhat

It was 3 pm yesterday afternoon when my husband and I left our workplace in Goregaon to head for our home in Powai. We decided to take the highway instead of the Aarey Road. No sooner did we reach the highway, we got stuck near the foot of the Jogeshwari flyover. To our utter dismay we found that both the highway and the flyover were fully jammed with cars. There was absolutely no room to move anywhere and given the divider on the highway, there was no possibility of taking a U-turn either.

We sat helplessly in the car for half an hour amidst the torrential rain and to our horror saw the water levels on the highway rising at an alarming rate and in no time we found the wheels of our car submerged. The only option we had in front of us was to abandon the car and go to a higher ground. It was at that time that we saw God in the form of three good samaritans. They had managed to get an iron rod from somewhere and were trying to break the divider to enable stranded cars to take a U-turn. They were successful in doing so, and literally with their bare hands lifted cars to enable them to cross the divider.

I do not know who these angels were, but we thank them from the bottom of our hearts. Because of their selfless act, we were able to get back to our workplace and stay safe, although we had to spent the night away from our children.

There were several children who go to Bombay Scottish in Powai from Goregaon. These children were stuck on Jogeshwari Link Road throughout the night in pitch darkness and with practically no food and water. They reached home at five in the morning. Kudos to these little bravehearts and to the bus driver and cleaner who kept up their spirits throughout this ordeal.

--Dr Jayati Sarkar

Our office declared the half day, i e to leave at 4 pm, all of us were happy, we thought we would enjoy the rains. But the moment we went outside, we faced knee-deep water, i was just waiting at the gate of my office and was looking at people on the road flooded with traffic jam moving towards bombay central station,inspite of empty cab's none of them were ready, i wanted to go to borivali, even on the request of traffic police those cabs werent ready to go. i saw people drunk and were walking on the road, got lil'bit scared, i thought, i will try to manage to get it to the station, but in vain, i was completely drenched.i decided to go back to office,which would be a safer place for all the women(s)', am worried about my colleagues who have left for bhayader kurla, dombivili, it seems a double decker bus in kurla is submerged till the first floor, how scary?

my nephew [4th standard student] are stuck in the school bus, i can't find out thru mobile and landline phones, i feel lucky that i am in good state of mind and condition @ my office, when i think about other people who are facing this natural calamity. God bless all of them and give them power to fight.

--Kavita V Joshi

It is 11 in the morning. I am in office :-(. Nothing strange about that. Only thing is I have not been able to leave my building since yesterday morning.

It is raining heavily and cant see when it will all end. And the trains have stopped. For mumbai that means death.

So I tried going to sleep, playing some games... what else nothing. Suddenly I feel so empty. Looking at the window .. the clouds not finishing their quota, the cars on the road moving 5 metres / hour, People who havent walked across their streets are today hopping out of cars and willing to trot / wade for 10 kms to reach home. I cant do that I work 35 kms away from home.

I cant call home yuck phones jammed. Mobiles are unreachable. The cable operator is unreachable too. But the only solace is I still have the internet. India Shining eh?

-- Ram

This has been the first rainy season for the Delhi Guy who has recently shifted to Mumbai!

Some of our colleagues left office, at Nariman Point, early when the management decided to call it a day at around 4 pm. Some people left in their vehicles immediately, were stuck midway in Worli and Dadar even after 6 hours.

So the other staff, who had to catch the trains and some 20-25 in numbers, decided to stay put in the office itself once we learnt that there are no trains till 8 pm.

We went to Churchgate first to assess the situation of trains but there was no hope of them running. We decided to have dinner at a restaurant near churchgate stn. After one hour wait at outside we manageed to get inside. We were somehow half full, as everything in the place went out of inventry.

Then my family members in Delhi informed me that the Central line is operational after they saw the news. I rushed to VT along with my colleague Kumar and found no there was chance of trains running. We decided to come back to Nariman Point and went to a bus stop outside VT. Kumar stays in Thane and insisted on going and took a Vikhroli bus and since there is no news of him.

I took a taxi back and reached office and spent the night on a table. There is no high tide today but don't know when we will the trains operate.

I have enjoyed the experience but concerned about Kumar's whereabouts.

--Pramod Thapliyal

Its 6.30 a.m. and I'm still in office. Stuck as there are no trains. I stay in Bhayander. Luckily for me and my colleagues working with HLL, our company has made all provisions to see that we have comfortable stay at night at the office as well as food. But, i'm unable to call my home and inform my mom that i'm safe and in office. My residence no is dead. I couldnt sleep at night due to this. Its still raining heavily and i'm told there is no hopes of trains starting in the immediate few hours due to rains and high tide. Looks like another night in office.

-- Rajitha

Dear Friends in distress,
Am writing this mail from US, after reading and getting to know from other colleagues about the lashing rains in amchi Mumbai. Since, we are in the onsite-offshore model for a major IT initiative here in US, we have a dedicated team back in our offshore centre in Navi Mumbai who work hand in hand with the onsite team.
We sincerely appreciate the efforts of our colleagues back home who stayed late yesterday (as per the regular office hours to match some overlap hours with US time), inspite of the knowing fear about getting delayed or stranded as time passed by in the evening. Project deadlines are crucial and this being a time critical deliverable, I presume, motivated my colleagues to put in the regular hours during an unusually irregular day. As noon approcahed US Eastern time, had it been a regular day in Mumbai, my colleagues would have started for home and the company shuttle would have dropped each of then (around 20) at their respective locations. 

To our surprise, after around 4 hours past noon, we get a message on our internal chat that the team has returned back to the office -- at around 1:30 at night India time  - the reason : they could not manage to get beyond the Vashi bridge and it seemed a far more difficult task ahead to go even a mile further. As a result, the whole team spent the entire night in the office - some trying to doze off, some chatting with us, some making use of the available time to put in some extra work. Also, as they started back (or rather tried starting back) at around 10:00 hrs India time, few of colleagues said that if required, they can try to be back in the office in the evening. Unfortunately, not many IT professionals in India have the luxury to work from home, which unlike here in US, under the same circumstances, almost 70-75% of the workforce would have adopted and the remaining possible taken a day off!!!

The team here in US sincerely appreciates the work ethics and the dedication as shown by our offshore colleagues and we do understand and emphatize the conditions at present surrounding them, since, although spent few years here in US, we came from the very same place and at some time experienced/shared some similar stranded-up stories -- but maybe not as much to the scale as witnessed yesterday in amchi Mumbai.

Hail Mumbai!!!
-- BT

Am writing from Cochin -- the land of monsoons. We have seen rain and thought that we have seen it all -- water is not new to us.
But yesterday I really realised what the power of God is -- though we are only watching the news we realise how powerful the perils of rain are.
My boss and colleague Mr Shaji Varghese and Mr Jaideep Nair who are ironically from the land of monsoons itself, are stuck in Mumbai. They waited the whole night in the car at Dadar and at 8 am this monring fearing that the position they were stuck in is not safe are walking towards Andheri east even as I am writing this mail.
God have mercy on Mumbaikars and all those who are stuck in the streets especially little children.
-- Jaya Subramanian

Yesterday I had a distress call from my parents  residing in Borivali (East), Shantivan that incessent rains in the city has caused a lot of water logging in their area.In fact she was in a state of shock as the entire ground floor of their building had been submerged and water was just 2-3 feet below their first floor apartment. If the rains continued for sometime then even the first floor flats in our building would be submerged. Then the phone went off.

I tried desperatly to call on the BSNL landline network to no avail. Fortunately they had a reliance wireless landline connection which was still working (thanks to them) and I could finally contact them at 4 pm. My parents were literally crying and informed me that almost all the 10-15 buildings, shops and numerous houses in the surrounding area were submerged in under 10 feet of water (imagine 10 feet , I experienced the Gujarat floods but this was unimaginable). All the ground floor residents, mostly senior citizens were literally carried from their apartments to the safety of the upper floor flats and there was a lot of commotion and crying. My brother had gone to the airport and had not come back. Everyone was worried.

I again called at 7 pm and got the news that the water level had gone down and they could see the belongings of the hapless ground floor residents floating in the water. There was no electricity and the ground water tank had been flooded with the rain water.

The news channels were beaming information about the rains in Mumbai, which I did get across to my parents. My brother finally arrived at 8 pm. Another call at 11 pm and I was really worried as it was still raining hard.

It was a restless night for me and I called home first thing in the morning. After several attempts I managed to get through. I got the message that they had to go through the harrowing experience all over again as the water levels rose dangerously close to the first floor levels at 1 pm.

I am in office right now but I cant help but think of my parents, neighbours and all the people stranded in Mumbai. I hope and pray that the rain and water levels recide soon and Mumbai will be back to normal.

-- Ajit Aranha

It was a horrible evening as I left my workshop at Sion at 4 pm. A route which normally takes 20 minutes to reach my home, took me 4 & 1/2 hours. I exhausted all possible transport means before I decided to walk from KEM Hospital to Sewri Depot(where i stay). I took a train then a bus then a cab then walked a bit and then took a lift from a biker and then again walked.I would like to thank that man who gave me a lift from Wadala to KEM. all i know about him was that his name was Samir. 

Amidst all this there was one thing which was proved strongly once again and that is the Spirit of Mumbai. The way strangers were helping each other was just heart-warming. Even in heavy downpour some PCO vendors had kept their machines working because they knew that the mobile system had failed and there was no way to contact ur family. It was just amazing to see people moving in groups making sure no one was left stranded, be it even a stranger.

To make a long story short...Mumbai will always live on! high spirits

-- Aamir Natterwalla

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