Mumbai from the Eyes of a Delhite: Part 6
[This is the sixth in a series of blogs about Mumbai]
Life gradually settled into a rhythm: lazy mornings with tea, days spent at office, evening walks at Bandstand, some cooking and a peaceful evening with a book in hand. The only nuisance in my otherwise serene existence was the incessant, maniacal rains in Mumbai.
Ask a Delhiite settled in Mumbai about his or her opinion on the rains here and you’ll get a “$%#*@^&!”
Ask a Mumbaiya how he stands the rain and he’ll look at you as if you asked him why the sun comes out of the east!
The evidence of this played out best on my office floor. The few of us from Delhi loved getting together to bitch about the rains. We would look out of the windows in horror when it was time to go back, unable to imagine how we would survive the journey home. Locals, on the other hand, jauntily strode out of the office, opened their colossal umbrellas and carried on, unruffled by the wild downpour.
Then one day the city came to a standstill. The rains had started early in the morning and hadn’t ceased all day. Local trains had stopped running, autos refused to go anywhere out of fear of ending up with drenched engines, traffic won’t budge an inch. A colleague who promptly left office at 6pm to get home in time, returned after 2 hours. He had barely covered 200 metres before he ended up bumper-to-bumper in waist-high water. After standing stationary for over an hour, his bumper finally gave up on the ordeal and fell off the car. Turning around, he brought it dragging back to office and went home by taxi after midnight.
I was still waiting in office till 8pm, optimistic that the rains would soon cease. My fellow colleagues who had seen many such (to me, unimaginable) days, warned me against harbouring such hope and advised me to leave. A helpful coworker offered to drop me most of the way. But the 20-minute route to home took us 2 hours that day and I reached soaked, annoyed and dazed. By then the entire country had heard of the situation and concerned calls began pouring in.
Aha! I thought- now these locals can’t defend this madness. This time I was sure, even they would be out of their comfort zone. I tuned into the news to see what Mumbaiyas had to say. As unflustered as ever, even those who had reached their homes, dutifully hopped right back into the rain to assist the traffic police in bringing order to the city. I was aghast, but reminded of the stories of 2005.
Submerged under one of the worst floods Mumbai had ever seen, each citizen of this indomitable city had extended a helping hand to each other in every possible way. Those cocooned in the safety of their homes had risked their lives to reach food out to the ones stranded in cars and buses. Men and women waded through perilous waters to physically pull aside fallen trees. Veterinary doctors stayed up day and night, ceaselessly treating injured animals that were brought in.
Having personally lived through a day that brought back the ghosts of 2005, I bowed down to the spirit of this city and never again have I been able to criticize the Mumbai rains as vociferously.
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.