Column: No room for rainwater in Mumbai

Before monsoon kick-started in Mumbai, we lived with the fear of getting evaporated and coming down as rain someday. Luckily, nothing of this happened and the summer was gobbled down by the much awaited first drizzle. Dark clouds and a breeze carrying petrichor (the scent of rain on dry earth) reminded us that we needed to buy ourselves umbrellas and rainy shoes. However, the reminder faded away and we were back to the usual life as the rain showed no signs of returning. But we knew it would, and when it came down, it would be generous enough to flood streets and houses likewise.

A week later, we all know what happened. Mumbai rains started hogging headlines in all newspapers and news channels. “Heavy rains could halt Mumbai’s trains”, “Heavy rains lash Mumbai”, “Torrential rains for a second day disrupt Mumbai” — so read the ticker on news channels. But what do you think Mumbaikars did – stayed at home? Hell, no! And it was not just working-professionals who left their houses last Monday morning, school kids also boarded school buses and vans to begin a new academic year. What a start!

When I woke up on Monday, I faced a dilemma of whether I should go to work or not. It was raining cats and dogs and I was worried about getting either a bus or an auto till the station. Auto-rickshaws refused to take anyone to Andheri station because the area was already flooded as a result of the downpour that lasted through the night and now, the morning. A friend called to convey that trains had stalled as the tracks weren’t visible. Water started seeping into people’s houses. And I was still waiting for a bus to reach office! Dilemma once again – should I still wait or should I go home? I took a chance and called a friend whose workstation is in the same building as mine. Luck was on my side! I got a ride to work.

Even though I got a ride, I landed up reaching office at 11:30 am instead of 9:30 am. Why? It’s was not just heavy traffic. Every street was submerged in water. Despite this, cars and bikes were still plying on city roads. The question to be asked is — why is Mumbai never ready for the rains? This was the first overnight shower and the city couldn’t hold the amount of water. Potholes are not covered and gutters are unable to drain as they are clogged with dirt.

Nonetheless, the beauty about this city is that no one sits citing rain as an excuse. Everyone sets out with the same zeal and fervor. Last Monday, trees exposed the green that was covered by dust for one whole year, buildings shed the grime that was sitting on them and everything we could see was shining in this city. The rain just gave the dust a break. It will come back to haunt us soon.

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(Please note: This is my weekly column that was published in The Goan on Saturday)

Categories: Open Letters | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Column: No room for rainwater in Mumbai

  1. peculiarblend

    Mumbai/Bombay certainly needs more such blogs to let everyone else know better side of the Mumbai monsoons. I enjoyed reading your Mumbai rain experience. Besides Andheri I tell you. 😀

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