Monday, 4 September 2017

Flooding Through Life! (Daily Commute #1)

Hello Readers! This is the FIRST post of Daily Commute!! Needless to say, I'm beyond excited! I had a lot of thoughts about what the first post in this series should be, how it would go, what would be the most interesting. And a lot of thoughts came flooding in until actually the Mumbai Floods came in! So here goes, first post of Daily Commute with an adventure!

It felt just another day of monsoon on the morning of 29th August. Instead of wearing comfortable formals, I decided to wear Indian clothes (a long kurti without pockets, leggings & new bellies.) Unfortunate choice on the day of flood, but little did I know. At 10 AM, the trains were delayed by around 15 minutes. But, given railways, that's more or less normal. So it still felt all right. I took the first train from Thane station. After the usual time, I got down at Ghatkopar station to take a metro to Andheri. As I went up the escalator to the Metro platform, it was gloriously chaotic. It was raining since morning, but at that time, I realised the intensity of it! Since the height between platform and ceiling is huge, there is no cover from rain as such, so the rain just comes flying with the wind to splash against your face leaving you in either a smile or a frown. Fortunately, I had it in me to smile as I got in the metro a couple of seconds later. I reached Andheri and after many rejections from autowallas, I finally found one who took me to my office; safe haven for the day! Or, so I thought...

I worked on an urgent requirement for a few hours, not knowing when time flew by. Soon, I started to hear all sorts of news, checked my phone, which later ringed continuously with calls from family!
"Central Railway has stopped working."
"All roads are jammed due to water logging."
"Power cuts to be expected if it continues to rain."
"Holiday declared on 30th August."

I realised that it was time to take some action if I wanted to reach home today, but I had no idea what to do! My office is far too away from home. I had only one colleague who lives nearby. So, finally, finishing off important work, we both left as early as 4 PM. We were trying to book an auto online from our office for 10 minutes with continued failed efforts. While it poured outside, we decided to just take off with no plan! Only after we reached the main road, we understood why we couldn't get an auto. The entire road was filled with traffic as far as we could see! Metro station is about 15 minutes from our office, so we started walking. And as we walked, it was like walking on a beach, the level of water kept rising and rising! After one point, vehicles weren't allowed to go further, entire area was water logged and you wouldn't believe, but water had reached up to my knees! The umbrella had proven useless as I was already COMPLETELY wet; given my poor choice of outfit. And yet, for no apparent reason, I still kept it open. Soon, some volunteers asked us and a bunch of other wanderers to cross the road unless we wanted to swim through it!

A rope was tied connecting 2 ends of the street..
Water had reached till above my thighs..
One hand holding the upturned umbrella and other clenching my bag..
Flow of the water combined with impact of rain and wind..
I was wading through the force of the water with the help of that rope..
And then, I was finally on the other side!

As much as risky it was, I was totally ENJOYING it! After all, you don't get to live such experiences often! After this adventure, nothing really surprised me. Along with my colleague, I reached Andheri metro station. We breathed a sigh of relief to have tackled one mode of transport. Thankfully, we got a metro immediately and reached Ghatkopar by 6 PM. Once we stepped down, we knew it was only going to become much worse and we were right. Central railway was CROWDED, in the worse possible manner! There were no trains! There were only people! They were awaiting for trains since 2 or 3 hours. I did not understand what was the point of it at all!? I took an easy way out and decided to stay at my relatives' place in Ghatkopar. So, my part of the adventure ended there! But, I can tell you what happened to some of the people I know. And 'adventure' is the opposite of it.

My colleague with whom I came till Ghatkopar met a friend there and they luckily got an auto which took them home by 11 PM. She reached after 4 hours of painful travelling; a journey which under 'normal circumstances' takes 25 to 30 minutes!

My father just stayed at his office for the night and came home the next day!

My nephew, at whose place I stayed for the night, had earlier stayed at his company guest house, but he came home by 2:00 AM!

Another friend of mine had to walk one entire station on the railway track because the train didn't move for hours! And had to walk many more hours until she reached home!

My brother, too walked on the water logged track and reached home with few of his colleagues who stayed at his place for the night!

While some took advantage of the situation to have fun, some had to deal with a lot of hardship. On my part,  it was a memorable experience. Not too good, not too bad. Things could have gone haywire for me, but I'm very sensible. Many of my friends and family members called to ask if I was okay. That really meant a lot to me. This is when you realise your worth, I suppose.

After 26th July 2005, this was another day when history repeated. Probably not as intense, but still it sucked. There are many things we could do on an individual level to prevent a few matters, so lets just do our part, at least for ourselves. Because we sure have established the fact that we're all too selfish when we're not stuck in a calamity. In this disaster when we were left bereft by all transport channels whom we blindly trust, not forgetting my personal favourite cab services, I was alone, and I had to find a way on my own. The only ones who were there for me in this disaster in Mumbai were other Mumbaikars as I'm sure is the case with many of you. So, here's to that! Let's keep that spirit alive, Mumbai!!

What was your #MumbaiFloods experience? Tell me in the comments below!

(Photo Credits: Patricia Galea. She has an amazing sense of photography! Thank you for sharing your click! You can follow her on Instagram)


  1. When weather disasters strike, it's always a memorable occurrence, and you just hope that you and all your loved ones will end up safe. I was there when the tsunami wave came rolling in on Dec 4, 2004 here in SE Asia--that's certainly one day I will never forget. The one bright light was seeing how the community came together to help each other rebuild homes after the destruction.

  2. That was an eventful first entry for your Daily Commute! I've read bits and pieces about the flood in Mumbai. Glad to hear you and your family were safe!

  3. Congratulations on your post! Quite an adventure to start with! I can't imagine - it could have been so scary and you seemed calm and able to get through it!

  4. Loved this first post in your Daily Commute series! I'm sorry this happened to you - but I'm so glad you took it as a great experience.

  5. Wow--what a day!! Flooding is so, so scary--glad you're safe! And good luck with the blog! :)


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