Sunday, June 08, 2008
I cursed under my breath,as I stood in the bus,struggling hard to pull the wallet from my pocket which was covered by layers and layers of armour (Read rain-jacket and 'rain pant'). The wretched thing showed no signs of coming out and slipped deeper each time. The onlookers a.k.a the seated people watched on as if I was the chief clown performing at the russian circus and it was show-time.One more addition to murphy's laws: The closer the bus conductor is to you, the more time it will take you to dig the damn thing out of your pocket. And by the time you shell out the notes, they are already dripping wet!
Well,the rains are here with the usual bang. Been a week of action.
"Please Dont be santhusht. Thoda aur wish karo", thats what the rain-gods seemed to say as the skies opened up.And we have already got a trailer of what we'll be seeing for the next 4 months. Same story though!
The showers come with pin-point accuracy every year something that the Met dept here is not noted for. And they have been a source of much-needed respite from the near unbearable drip-drop,sweaty and humid conditions that the city experienced during the summer.Mumbai's murkiest, dirtiest, mushiest(pun so obvious),slushiest and perhaps its most romantic season is back.
I had my first drench on my way back from work. Felt nice. It felt so blissful, even after numerous rain-baths, year after year. Mom dint think so.
In most flood-prone areas here, stuff like ropes, boats, nets etc are kept handy days before,to face a possible flood situation 'baywatch ishtyle'. Most people who reside at the lower floors of buildings in such areas vacate days before, to escape a watery grave. Ask even a 4th grader here which places would perenially be under water and he would rattle a dozen names,faster than his geography lessons.
The BMC is at the recieving end yet again for the slippery roads, pot-holed roads and roads under construction which are dug up exactly a day before the rains come. Perfect timing!
And the mother of them all: The American consulate sounded an advisory to all americans who are in mumabi or who plan to visit mumbai in this period. No, not a terrorist strike or blast scare.
It reads "When in mumbai,Beware of open manholes. Dont venture out too much." Ok, agreed that each year the notoreity of the monsoons assumes dangerous proportions. But this is ridiculous man!! Hahahaha, travel advisory!
In Mumbai everything goes down the drain, except for the rain water. True.Very true during the high tide.
.High tide + heavy rains = full-too flooding + you having to swim in flood waters.
High tide timings are important. Dont venture anywhere near the sea, unless you are serious about suicide.
.Open manholes. Walk in a chain, if you are a group. If one falls, the others are there to pull him/her. If the others fall, not your fault.
.If you cant form chains and you cant see ahead while wading through the water, then play " Follow the leader." If the person before you goes missing after some time, then choose a different path.
. For heavens' sake keep yourself clean after coming home at least! Leptospirosis is now becoming a common word, although people can't spell it. It's caused by rat urine. Obviosuly, you cant stop the rat but you can care for yourself.
.Most importantly, keep off the Eastern Express highway as much as possible,especially the vikhroli-ghatkopar stretch (now nicknamed the 'road to death'). The reason: 136 accidents in just 5 days. A certain chemical called 'mast' turned out to be in surplus while laying the road. Add to that the rains which made sure that the vehicles on the 10 km long stretch were in for a slippery, skiddy ballerina show.
.Try to minimise travel. (I know its its next to impossible)
. When stuck in a traffic jam, dont get too frustrated. The guy in the posh Honda Accord is also feeling the same pinch. See, the monsoon is a great leveller; it teaches you to be patient. (I know, by now you have made up your mind to kick me)
. People who own cars: Carry out pre-monsoon checks of batteries, tyres, maintenance of your car including wipers and top-up the fuel of your car during the monsoon
.Hammer is a handy tool: To break the glass on the driver's window from the
middle/centre, in case of an auto-lock system failure if you are stuck in a car say for about 8-14 hrs.
.Thick long nylon rope at least 20 metres long with a hook to be kept in
the dicky.Just in case..
.Keep dry and non -perishable food items in a vacuum container in some quantity. Dry fruits are recommended for pet-pooja.
.In a disaster- like situation instead of trying to reach home,first reach the nearest acquaintance.
.Also, carry a whistle with you. Remember Kate Winslet in 'Titanic'?
. Last but not the least, get a life. Stop cursing the BMC or the administration. You wont gain much by blaming other people. You are the one in charge of yourself.