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Home > News

September 05, 2005

We bring you the devastation suffered byMumbaikars-- a people forced into rebuilding their lives all over again after the deluge on July 26. Aspecial series.

My name is Vinod Pillai. I am 34. For 40 years my family has been staying in Kuppuswamy chawl in Saki Naka. We are a family of six -- my mother, brother, wife and two children.

On that fateful day when it rained like hell in Mumbai, I had gone to Andheri for some work and my wife Bindu Pillai had gone to fetch my daughter Rohini from St Jude High School. Only my mother, Nalini Pillai and my 3-year-old son were at home.

At 3:45 pmwater started entering our house so my mother closed the door and went upstairs. Our lower room was filled with water up to seven-and-half feet. Everything in my house was submerged.

Build systems if not leadership

I could not reach my house that day so I went to my factory. My wife had narrowly missed falling into the water otherwise my daughter would have drowned. But one Muslim family gave them shelter for the night in their home and gave them food.

But as my house was in water everything that we made in 40 years has been ruined. Philips television set -- Rs 23,000, DVD player -- Rs 6,000, fridge -- Rs 8,000, furniture -- Rs 7,000, mixer -- Rs 1,500. All the food material in the kitchen also got spoiled.

There waswater and muck in the clothes so we had to throw lots of things, especially the mattresses. We spent two days just cleaning the house but still it smells.

As there was water inside the house for more than 12 hours, my electric fittings also got spoiled. My tube light andgas stove is still not working. I have given a complaint but nobody has come to repair it.

We had to borrow food from our neighbours who were able to save some food material from the rains, otherwise we all our in the same condition.

Half my things cannot be repaired. We have to start all over again. We went to our collector, he sent us to his deputy. We all have come together and made a petition. We got 10 kgs of rice and wheat. Money and kerosene is yet to come.

I will get Rs 5,000 from the government. I will buy bed and pillows out of that money. I am happy that the government is giving us some money even though it cannot take care of all our problems but it will give us relief.

I got Rs 2,500 from my office as emergency aid. I don't think I have to repay it even though it hasn't been not told to us but I think we can keep that money.

Mumbai stop praising yourself

The government never told us about the danger of staying in this area. Every year due to heavy rains there would be knee deep water inside the house but we never complained. No one came to our aid either but we had not seen this type of flooding in this area before.

My salary is Rs 4,000 rupees and I am the only earning member in my family. I have six mouths to feed. It will take me 15 years to rebuild everything. Due to all these problems there are small disputes in my home now.

Vinod Pillai spoke to Patcy N.

Earlier in the series:

Sarup Singh and his priceless loss
'God can't be so cruel'
'We are back to zero'

Terrible Tuesday: Mumbai copes with a calamity

The Rediff Specials

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Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: may be we can help from Ahmedabad

Dear Mr. Pillai, We are sorry to hear about this. We are ready to help you & your family. we will not be able to ...

Posted by Maulik R. Shah

Sub: 15yrs to rebuild it all

It is really pathetic that so much of a family has been destroyed in the rains and it is very difficult to reacquire the same. ...

Posted by Geetha

Sub: 15 years to rebuild it all

Dear Rediff Services, I read an earlier article on Mumbai's floods titled "god can't be so cruel'. And I offered to help the affected person ...

Posted by Sanjay

Sub: Family expansion and entertainment

How come vinod pillai planned to have two children with this low salary! It sounds pity inspite of this low income people go for family ...

Posted by Jatin Bhatt



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