I have always been in awe of this city of dreams! No, it’s not the perfect place to live in, but it’s imperfections make it unique. By the city I don’t mean the roads or the system, I mean it’s people. Always on the go, the Mumbaikars still have much humanity in them, which adds to the city’s charm.
It’s been 2 days since Mumbai witnessed heavy rainfall, water clogging and people being stranded wherever they were. Fortunately, things have recovered now and local trains, the lifeline of the city, are working as usual. Making it a good time for me to share my experience during the tough hours.
When I left my place for the day, it was raining but not heavily. By the time, I managed to get inside an auto, my umbrella had broken. I stay close to my office so I wasn’t much worried or even noticed anything wrong with the weather. In fact, I was enjoying my playlist of Bollywood rain songs. By the afternoon, we were asked to leave from office after checking that routes we’d travel were safe and functional. I was like, hmm, I’ll just walk home, I had my lunch peacefully, then I also packed some food for my flat mates and sent some important emails.
Finally, when I reached the gate of my office building, I realized what a mess it was. There huge puddle of water and the rain was scary. So many people were just standing there probably waiting for autos or busses or may be just deciding whether it was safe for them to go. I overheard conversations where people were informing their family that they might not come home that night. They decided to stay inside the office. It was safe. Again, I was like, it will just take me 30 minutes to walk home and I started my journey with my broken umbrella.
The moment I reached the road, I saw groups of people walking on the road, drenched and worried. Because it is usually a busy road we have good frequency of busses and plenty of autos but that day vehicles were not moving on the road and people kept coming from all directions. During my walk, I had to cross a knee-deep puddle of water. Did I tell you that I was carrying a laptop with me?! I was more worried about it getting wet. Somehow, I managed taking few steps in that water but the force was so strong that I was about to trip but a girl walking behind me saved me. And the one walking ahead of me was alarmed too. We finally held hands and helped each other cross that part. That 5 minutes of walk taught me about survival bonding.
I saw a man saving a kid from falling into a man hole from a bike. The person, probably the kid’s father, couldn’t control the vehicle from getting stuck in another pot hole. And, right in the next moment, I was saved by another man from coming under a falling branch of the huge tree. I was terrified. By the time, I realized what had happened, the man who saved me had walked past the fallen branch making a curve on the road. I couldn’t even utter a ‘thank-you’. Some others inspected the tree and made sure that other branches were not going to fall. I was made to walk otherwise I would have blocked other’s way. The girls and I were accustomed to each other by now and some of their friends had also joined us from the station nearby. They were planning t walk all the way till their respective places, about 2 hours, because the local trains had stopped working. The tracks were clogged with water!
By this time, I had walked through muddy, dirty water and hit myself by the unseen bricks or stones on the road. I couldn’t even stop and see the bruises. I couldn’t see my feet under that muddy water. But, thankfully, I reached home after an hour of an unplanned adventure! I was a picture-worthy thing when I reached my place. Had leaves and tiny branches tangled in my hair, had mere a cloth and some wires hanging in the name of an umbrella and holding my laptop bag like a baby in my arms.
In spite of all that fear, pain and disgust, I loved the experience. Not that I want it to happen again to me or to anybody. But had it not been the people around me, I would have got hurt more badly and would have been more traumatized! That’s the spirit of this lovely city. You always get a helping hand when in need.
So, love you, Mumbai!