And so it pours again ... Mumbai is paralysed by rains once more ... and this year without a sudden cloudburst. As a Bombayite (or Mumbaikar) I feel sad about many things - about the fact that the state government and Bombay Municipal Corporation wasn't better prepared particularly after last year's experience - about the absence of a vision in bringing about a long-term solution in infrastructure.
But what I feel the most sad about is that we have come to fear the rains that we always welcomed so. The cloudburst last year resulted in 994 mm of rainfall in 24 hours - rainfall recorded today is at 162.5 mm in Santacruz.
At one level, I know things changed after last year's sudden floods on July 26, 2005. Amost every year before then, we had two or three days like this - offices closing down, schools shut, power cuts, railway tracks submerged, flights diverted, telephone lines down, people wading through knee high water on roads that are water-logged. But we never feared it. We sort of knew it would happen at least once through the monsoons, and in that knowledge we were prepared for all the chaos and disruption that came with it. In some cases, we even welcomed it - I remember as a young kid, waiting for the monsoons because I knew we'd have a few days off school - any excuse to get away from sterile classrooms into slushy patches of gardens and puddles. I remember as a college student it was a great excuse to spend the night at a friend's place. When I started working, I remember spending nights at the office, draining the water that had collected bucket by bucket, and then a forced casual leave the next day. We had such a blast then!
I've been home today and most of the news channels have little more to say than air images and reports of Mumbai rains. I find that strange as they are national networks - Mumbai is an important city, but it is not the nation :). I sense the media, while informing us on the situation, is also in a bit of a panic. Fear again, after last year.
Picture courtesy NDTV.
More pictures and videos by Citizen Journalists at IBN-Live.
I don't know what's coming tomorrow - tonight will be hightide - government offices and schools are expected to be shut tomorrow too. Zee news warns us:
In the last 24 hours, the Colaba Observatory had recorded 121 mm
rainfall while Santa Cruz observatory had recorded a rainfall of 152
mm. My policy - stay home, stay dry (no guarantees) and enjoy the mini-break we're getting as a result - because of no work tomorrow, I can stay up and watch Italy take on Germany too :).
The northern part of the west coast, including Konkan and Mumbai is
warned of a very wet session over the next two to three days. For
Mumbai, which has already witnessed some heavy showers over the past
two days, the peak would be on July 5 with several models predicting
rainfall in excess of 250mm during a 24 hour period.