For the uninitiated(you shouldn’t be, and should read ALL my posts), I am from Pune, Maharashtra, India. Mumbai is 3 hours away and is quite easy to get to by trains, buses, shared cabs, and even flights. Yet, I avoid going there if it’s in my hands, which usually is not. I have to take a lot of my flights to and from Mumbai, and a lot of my visa work happens there. I just got back and had crazy Mumbai experiences in just one day. Everything was annoying and irritating, except the people. The people of Mumbai save the city, while the people from Pune(including, yours truly) are what takes the city down. All because of the torrential downpour and all that goes wrong with the city right away.
The rains! Holy moly! Now, I have mentioned earlier about how my feelings have turned around about rains, ever since I left Lonavala. I miss them, and when it rains the little bit in SD, I enjoy them. But Mumbai rains, are not rains. They feel like a punishment. I am not talking about the Sealink, Worli seaface, South Bombay kind of rains where people instagram rainy pictures with #mumbairains #rainandchai and all that fancy stuff that goes with it. I am talking about the ‘plastic bags floating in murky brown water and the constant feeling of something brushing against your leg’ kind of rain.
We had to go to Mumbai and reach somewhere right by 10 am, and so we left Pune well in time by 6 am. We were on the expressway and it was gorgeous everywhere! Lush green mountains, foggy valleys, milky waterfalls cutting the landscape in stripes, painted a beautiful scene and made for a wonderful drive. I was quite excited about the drive with that kind of a scene. That was, until we got to Mumbai. Our cab slowed down to a snail’s pace, and the rain that was rain earlier, turned into splashes of buckets. Within a couple of kilometers, we got stuck in knee-deep water. It was 9 by this time, and tempers were flying high, all mine. I was starting to panic and I was folding up my pants to get ready to walk the last couple miles if I absolutely had to! We could see some cars, bikes and a bus dying in the water and starting a terrible traffic jam. Somehow, we got through that terrible stretch and managed to reach our location in time. After a while, my mom called and told us about a bridge collapse in Andheri. And this driver forgot that he was driving a double decker bus and rammed it into an overhead horizontal barricade, thankfully without injuries to anyone.
My question is, HOW? How does this happen to Mumbai year after year? Every year the corporation claims that they have worked on the drains, the potholes, and consulted the meteorological department to plan well in advance for the monsoons so that they don’t wreak havoc on the city. Yet, that is all that happens. The authorities have an equal hand with the crazy monsoons to ensure that public life is disrupted. Specially after the deluges every year that claim lives, and the horrible footbridge collapse incident from last year, the blame game that goes on between state government, railway department and Mumbai corporation, is pathetic. Until tonight, rail officials and municipal corporations have been busy passing the responsibility to each other. While all this goes on, the common man suffers. Due to the closure of a lot of train tracks due to the bridge collapse, millions of people haven’t reached home yet.
This is a sorry state of affairs, and nobody knows how to solve it because the people responsible for solving it, don’t give a damn. Until they do, Mumbai people will deal with the rains in their amazing creative ways and their extremely helpful natures. I have heard powerful stories of human chains, and strangers coming together to help people through the floods. While the authorities slumber, the common man sweats.
Until then, good luck to me fishing for my floating flipflops, each time I go to Mumbai during monsoon. Well, atleast my feet did not get dirty in Mumbai. There was constant flowing water to wash them clean. 😉