This was a wonderful space to hang out in and share our thoughts! But now we've all moved on and simply left our memories behind :-) ...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Marooned Mumbai .. ( uttara )

Thanx you for making me the BUF'er of the week. Here is my experience when Mumbai got flooded n Marooned.

26th July 2005 was a nighmare for everyone.. here is my part of the story.. The day which ruined everything..

PS: click on the snaps to enlarge it.


The heaviest rains ever recorded in India had shut down the country's financial and entertainment capital, Mumbai.

The day when more than 1000 people were dead only 400 odd nos accounted.. and soo many injured that's unaccounted.

I was in the office that time i was in Andheri Chakala, The shortest road from there is 6 odd kms from my place the longest route through the western express highway is 20 odd kms.

My friend calls me at 1ish . and says why don't you leave office as its raining heavily and places are getting flooded already i said " ya i will leave in a while, have to do something important." We were all clueless what was the exact scene outside the office. Mumbai gets flooded but not the way we experienced.

At 3 we all decide to leave i said i will go by rick cos i donno when i will reach if i go by bus. I left office waited for a Rick for almost half an hour. I couldn't see any vehicle. So i headed towards the highway with another colleague who was staying near to my place. We reached the highway i could see hugeee traffic jam.. i somehow managed to get out of that place and head towards my home ( taking the longest route).. If i would have taken the Saki naka route i would have drowned for sure as the water level had reached 6 ft. plus land slide.. ( I gotto know this later ). I reached the highway and i could see flood .. OMG 4 ft height. my waist length.. and am like wat to do? i told my colleague lets move on no point in waiting here... we cant go anywhere neither back to office as its locked and no one had the keys.( either of us). Mind you it was pouring heavily since 12:30 pm nonstop. We knew that no rick no bus will be of any help neither trains .. everything was stranded .. It was on halt except for people who were walking up .. towards the divider of the highway as the level of the road on the sides were lower than the divider side.. if it was flooded to abt 4ft from ground level, my waist then the sides wud be 6 ft .The force of the water so high it made our lives miserable in all ways.. one had to stride through the road to even walk, if anyone lifted their leg they would loose their balance. We walked all through the highway and at vakola luckily we had to cross the bridge, the water level below the bridge was 6-6.5 ft. I could see people sitting on the bridge waiting for the rains to stop Vakola is about 5 kms from andheri. It seemed like 10 kms by then. My legs started aching. i made up my mind that i will reach home somehow no matter what. There was no electricity, no network. I couldn't call anyone ( NO ONE) . I tried the whole world, but couldn't get thru a single soul. I had all the negativity in my head wanting to know if others were ok? etc, etc. Again walked in the same water level.. people were giving a helping hand to those who were loosing control due to the water current. Young guys protecting people and telling them to mind the man hole. But, I could still see people drowning into it.. But no one could do anything with that. *sigh *

Reached bandra at 8ish ... that's 9 kms from andheri (my office), i had lost it by then .. cos the water level increased to 4.5 ft and i had been walking without a drop of water and my throat was dry. I could have gone to my uncles place but the police guys dint allow anyone to enter that place as the current of the water was tooo high n people were drowning ( i could see it with my naked eyes)." मैडम तुम्ही कश झाणार तिक्ङे ? " ( ma'am how will you go there ?) I crossed that 4.5ft water level helped few girls as they were crying out frustration and they were scared. I spoke to them said hang on there till it stops raining or till the next day. Then i moved on. My legs were all soar and i couldn't keep a step ahead somehow talking with my colleague i reached sion. It was 10pm. I had to technically walk 4 kms or so to reach home . Means i had walked 15 kms which seemed like ages. hmm my phone started ringing i felt bliss... it was my mom. i broke down completely. i was in tears saying mom i cant walk a single step my leg hurts. She said "baby i know please somehow come home we all are waiting for u." i enquired about others they were all safe. I said : ma i really cant walk i will collapse" She is a strong lady, no doubt. said" stop crying and come home" b4 i spoke to her i spoke to my bro he couldn't hear me cry told mom she is cryinggg.. and u only talk to her. I gathered all the lost "will power" and walked. The last stretch was still pathetic, the worst infact, cos i was nearing home, my legs were not co-ordinating with my mind, my legs were swollen, the current of the water was HIGH, and could see people dying, I was frustrated. I was angry i was thirsty ( only way i used to have water is open my mouth n have the rain water). I was completely drenched, shivering as the rains didn't stop for a second. In midst of the whole thing i lost my colleague also so was all alone ( couldn't find him later at all ) .

I reached home at 1:00am. The worst day i have ever come across.

Many people died, animals, house ruined, trees uprooted, cars and vehicles drowned. I should say I'm lucky to be alive after that day. Anything would have happened . It was a risk i had taken.

People were stranded for 2 days also, lot of stories to hear from many about this day. I know a friend whose house was flooded and all the equipment and stuff were ruined . and many more stories . This day seems to be like yesterday for me.

I can't even talk about the aftermath of this.. For me i was bedridden for 4-5 days. With rashes all over my body and feeling miserable.


  1. I wrote a poem on bombay monsoons once, rather on not being able to see them. I was captivated by the beauty of it. But then when i finished it i also realized, how foolish a romantic i was being, and how bad can it be for people. So bad that they dread it.

    Heart touching.

  2. It must have been quite a harrowing experience for you..i can only imagine!!!!!

    The big question is ..why did it happen..and is there possibility of it happening again??

    As a city planner, i am very sorry to say that Mumbai has become very susceptible to floods because of poor city planning and rapid urbanization. The original city plan cannot simply keep up with the constant population increase..the time has come to re-evaluate the city plan and drastically re-structure the city.
    Something like the 2005 floods or even more bigger ones can happpen again!!!!!

  3. Uttara, you brought back memories.... sharp ones.... horrifying to be honest!! dunno, why but after reading ur post.. am kinda shivering!! but then the resilient spirit that is the identity of mumbai displayed itself in full force.... complete strangers came to the rescue for so many.... and yet... nah!! i can't comment.. ciao!!

  4. @SS: teh situation was very close this monsoon. there were definite flooding in certain areas. areas like airport colony at kalina was again affected.... apart from teh fact that you mentioned... the major population stay in low lying areas.. teh suburban areas that is.. if you observe.. town side is not so affected during floods... the drainage is archaic to say teh least... the roads are like single point entries (e.g. Juhu Galli at Andheri w)... so if one conks out.. everything get paralysed!!

  5. Everytime i think of surprising ppl, the whole funda gets screwed up and it happened the same that day, fortunately by the time i entered the WE highway the water level was upto my car's bonnet and thankfully meri rampyari ne dhokha nai diya, i still wonder if i wudnt hv stopped at manor to buy booze and refill my tank, i wud hv surely got royally screwed up that day coz it took almost 5 hrs from kashimira to versova on that horrible day. It was a day which none of us will ever forget.

  6. i arrived in mumbai this july start via the konkan stretch on a late late train. got out of the train to face floods and nasty winds which snapped umbrella stems. still mumbai has an allure about it. cant explain.

  7. the flood is such a damn menace in this beautiful city, and all the honchos do is yap yap and take measures which never work when they are needed the most. so many lives put on the guillotine of fate and still this repeats cyclically every year. sad.

  8. @sam---my point exactly...mumbai needs a new transporation present only around 12% of the total urban area is dedicated to transport whereas the actual requirement is obviously much it to delhi's has 15% of total area dedicated to tranportation.. congestion and urban agglomeration in the future will only add to mumbai's woes. Moreover, as Mumbai city has a linear plan..the major tranportation modes have been constructed in a single or parallel lines..this creates overload during peak hours.....

  9. harvard is going to do a study on mumbai and delhi's transportation system and suggest some improvements. high time!

    and a very touching post indeed!

  10. School of Planning has done lots of studies on Delhi and Mumbai's transporation systems..there are inumerable thesis and dissertations on the same......
    the problem is implementation by the authorities
    thank god delhi is having common wealth coz of which infrastrcuture is going through a major rehaul and upgradation

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  12. Moving post Uttsy! I didnt mean the post was moving up n down the screen..I meant it's quite touching. arrrrrrrrrrgggggg Jitterz u stole my words :(

    I rem the Mumbai floods...I can rem almost every Indian blogger had a post on it at the time.

    Great of u to choose this as ur post Uttsy.


  13. Bohot bohot mubarakho utsy aapke buf'er of the week ke liye.. hum khush hue... ;)

    yaar.. i knw abt this rain... my dad was held up in dis one... duh!! i was freaked out here.... almost planned to come to india nxt day and he called... he is safe... haiish!!!

    anyways... tc - keep intouch...


  14. @SS: Can you explain the overloading concept?
    I know ke jam hota hai... bohot!! but there seems to be a theory on this too!!
    Since you are into planning, I guess you can explain it best!!

    Btw, ek commonwealth mumbai mein bhi chahiye... wot say?? :P

  15. explain the overload concept in detail u need to understand a whole lot of things ..uske liye 1 hour lecture mere se le lena when u come to delhi..but to put in nutshell...a road (especially roads leading to CBD) are congested at certain time of the day..let's say offcie planning terms those certain hours are called peak hours and that particular section of transport channel is said to be overloaded at those hours...but at other times the same roads are empty or ahve sparse traffic......
    Commonwealth Games..hmm..pata nahi re....Olympic Games would be a bettter option

  16. Arre... woh wali nahi jo bataya... but dat part wer u were specificaly saying abt teh parallel. rds.. anywyz, kabhi fursat mein batana!!

  17. @sam...oh that...i meant bombay has a parrallel system of tranportation...example....mumbai local train line...goes in straight lines...of course they do criss cross at times but generally its a straight line......fursat mai hi batana padega...otherwise ull get more confused.....!!!!!!!!
    but glad that ur interested to know about all the stuff!!!