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September 05, 2005
We bring you the devastation suffered by Mumbaikars -- a people forced into rebuilding their lives all over again after the deluge on July 26. A special 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 pm water 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.
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 was water 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 and gas 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.
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:
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