I have had an adventurous time yesterday. For people staying in Mumbai, inundation during monsoon is not breaking news at all. We are quite accustomed to it. What we witnessed yesterday was really strange and unusual.
I was in a lecture and after it was done, we got to know that we were the only ones left in the building. It was deserted. I had never seen something like this in so many years it was scary out there. I could not see anything beyond a certain distance.
I was amazed to see so many missed calls on my phone. Something was seriously wrong. I called up a few people to know exactly what was happening. That is when the epiphany struck me that within a matter of hours, Mumbai was in a deluge and people are stuck everywhere. I was oblivious to all this until then. I decided to stay back in a friend’s hostel.
Mumbai was in a crisis. All the public transport was abated, obviously. So now, we had to walk all the way down to the hostel. That was not the real challenge. We had to trudge all our way in a pool of water, which was almost reaching our waists. There were places where people had actually arranged for ropes to hold and walk. We weren’t alone, there were 100’s of people on the road, just wading through the dirty water mixed with sewage. It wasn’t fun, trust me. People had now started hoarding food into their house.
Here are two videos:
Scenes from the Mumbai floods, 2005 kept flashing right in front of my eyes. This is exactly how it had begun. It had been raining for 2 days now and it seemed as if it wasn’t going to cease any sooner.
Life turns into havoc in Mumbai, if the local trains stop functioning even for a day. It was a mess now as the train stations were clammed with people, highways were jam packed owing to the traffic, public transport was dysfunctional, there was no electricity, shops were shut, food was unavailable and people were hungry. There was no way they could reach home.
In crucial times like these, you get to see the spirit of this beautiful city. People reached out to everyone stuck without assistance over social media, offering them to stay at their place and have food. Address and contact numbers of people who were willing to help and accommodate public stranded on roads were being forwarded on WhatsApp. I was really humbled by the fact that people other than my family and a bunch of close friends as well kept messaging me asking me if there was something, they could do. They cared too and were concerned.
Everything is functioning well today and yes, Mumbai has gathered back all its broken pieces. However, did the authorities who had the responsibility to pull people out of this distress actually do anything about it? Yes, continuous updates over the social media were helpful. But the situation of chaos couldn’t have been brought under control had the people not reached out to each other’s rescue.
Sometimes it just feels as if every one of us is fighting a lost battle. It’s been 10 years since the city had to witness a disastrous flood and still the waterlogging condition in Mumbai hasn’t improved. Why does the drainage system here work the other way around? Drainages are useless here.
It is very easy for some people or a group of people from the authorities to claim rights over the state. However, where are they in such crisis? Burning buses, spreading terror over a commonly spoken language, asking people to leave the country, and ‘dadagiri’ is something anyone can do. Where are these so-called children of the state people when terrorists attack the city? Where are these people during bomb-blasts and train derailments? Where were these so-called protectors of the state yesterday?
The only one who shone as the real hero was the local community and its spirit, which reflected humanity. I am giving no share of credit to anyone else. It is this asset that Mumbai possesses, which makes it stand out. You can just not feel helpless in this city and I love it for this very thing. Yes, I do hate you at times when you act so messy. But you never let me down and I love you for that, Mumbai!
– Shreya Dubey
Shreya Dubey is a student of the PG Programme in Public Relations at SCoRe. She has completed her Bachelors in Mass Media from S.K. Somaiya College of Arts, Science and Commerce.