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Water and no traffic...

August 01, 2005 13:18 IST
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After watching the news for almost five hours (in between overs of the one day match between India and the West Indies), one went to sleep with a bleak picture of a rain-ravaged Mumbai. The prospect of returning to work on Monday looked glum.

I stay in Andheri; my office is in Mahim. 

Turned on the television at 6.30 in the morning today. The newsreader was translating into words what I could see outside my window. The same rhetoric, same water-logged roads, same wet reporter with hair glued to the scalp. 

The police commissioner and the BMC head honchos were busy spewing their spiel asking residents to stay indoors unless they have to really get out of the house due to an emergency. 

Me, I was unimpressed. I was like a chained hostage desperately looking for the first opportunity to run. The grey skies seemed like a mosquito net hanging over my head with zippers chained to the bed and the noise of the rain falling on the tin sheet outside my window sounded like someone has left the tap open on an empty sink. I have had enough cups of hot chai and plates of pakoras to last me till the next monsoon. 

After having waded through chest high water last Tuesday, this water logging looked like a cakewalk. Started getting ready to leave, much to the chagrin of the wife. The 'dont-tell-me-I-didn't-tell-you' vibes were heavy in the air. Called the HR head of my company -- he lives nearby -- and he agreed to take me along in his car.  

Wifey came along to drop me to the car and mostly to give a piece of her mind to the HR guy (her company had declared a holiday, you see). Anyway we headed bravely into the rain-soaked roads at 8.30 am. From Lokhandwala to Mahim can take you an hour on a regular day and a lifetime if you are stuck in the kind of rain we witnessed last Tuesday.  

Reached the first signal without any event. Called the wife to tell her. As soon as we turned the Juhu signal we were confronted with the dreaded brown muddy waters we were warned about. Started driving on the wrong side of the road. Made it past Juhu beach.  

It is funny how rain can turn all of us into fishermen... we all knew when the hi-tide would hit the shores today. When was the last time we took such a keen interest in tides? 

Reached Linking Road. Called the wife and told her again. Didn't tell her about the rising water level though. The only traffic we encountered till then were a few rickshaws and the BEST buses who were having a field day -- imagine having the complete road to themselves... 

The other thing I noticed was that the BMC guys were breaking the road dividers where there was water logging on one side of the road.  

Reached Mahim causeway and lo behold!... water and no traffic. Felt like calling my favourite FM station and reporting the traffic. Reached the office in 25 minutes flat. Called the wife and told her. She did not like it... after all, this time I had the last word. 

It is now four hours since we reached office. Got a call from the wife. Water has clogged the roads, she says. Routes are getting blocked one by one. Did I hear the familiar ring of triumphant satisfaction in her voice or is it my imagination? Looks like I will have to start planning the return journey soon.

- Jasmeet Gandhi

I stay in Bandra-Kurla complex and commute to Mahim to work. It was fairly pleasant for me.

I left home at 10 am. Took the route from Dharavi and Raheja Hospital to Mahim.

There was mild water logging opposite Raheja Hospital, on the opposite side of the road towards Bandra.

The only worry is the 10.30 high tide and impact of incessant rain post that.

At the time of writing this -- 11.56 am -- its raining milidly and the roads appear to be draining out...

- Arvindra Kanwal

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