As I write this, its raining heavily in Mumbai. Rains are lashing Mumbai and it seems that Mumbai has really become an island. Its cut of from the rest of the country literally. Long distant trains have stopped coming in. The Airport is closed. The local Trains have stopped and BEST busses are very few on the road.
As I write this, Many people have stayed more than 24 hours in the office. They could not go home because there is no mode of transport to go home. Even the taxis and rickshaws have stopped plying on the road. The taxis and cars are stuck in big traffic jams. People who stay near the office have resorted to walk to their homes, risking their limbs and life to reach home. Children have not managed to reach home because of the flooding.
As I write this, the people in power have failed on their promises. The drainage is chocked and it does not look like the water will recede in the near future. The planning that was supposed to give Mumbai a flood-free monsoon has completely failed. The story is the same as last year. This year is worse because it rained more than expected.
As I write this, people on the road are helping each other. I hear reports of people trying to help complete strangers reach their homes even though their own home continues to remain submerged. The Mumbai cops who would have already done more than 24 hours of duty, still working on the road to keep the traffic moving. The Local railways trying hard to start train service. Some of the services have already been started. The Fire brigade have been working relentlessly to help people.
As I write this, the BEST buses are operational although the progress they make is slow. The BMC employees are trying hard to unclog the drainages. Unknown strangers try to guide people to their destinations warning them of the gutters and manholes. There are reports of people offering food to stranded people. Most of the taxi divers still brave the rains and ply. Of course they also try to earn more.
As I write this, people are on the street enjoying the rain. People are getting wet and singing songs. The journey for the others trying to reach home is tiring but these people singing in the rain uplift their spirit. Strangers discuss the rain like long lost friends. Strangers keep each other company and give hope to each other.
As I write this, I hear almost everyone has come in my friend’s office. This may be the case of many offices. Shops are open because people will come for food. Medical stores are open because people will need medicines.
As I write this, heavy rains are predicted for another 24 hours. The city is down but not broken. It is crippled but will stand again. How much can it rain? The offices will be full tomorrow. The children will be back in school. The trains and busses will run again.
As I write this, there is still hope. The rain may have crippled the city but not the spirits of the people. Tomorrow they will wake up again. Sometimes it looks that the city is dead. People have forgotten how to feel. And when I look at the same people today, I know I can hope. On a day when everything from the telephone network to trains to electricity services break down, the mumbaities keep the city alive.
As I write this, I feel proud of being a mumbaikar. I feel proud of living in a city that never gives up.
Note: Even though I am currently in Amsterdam, the above is from the telephone conversation I had with my friends and family in Mumbai and from articles on the Internet