Mumbai, today, is getting this monsoon's first dose of the typical "Mumbai rains." It's raining in the only way it can in Mumbai -- it's pouring.
The road from our office to Saki Naka (in Andheri) is one long, dark, brown river. And all the nicely washed red buses, black and yellow ricks, and blue and green and white cars are neatly arranged on the Andheri-Kurla road. They have been so arranged from very early morning. The vehicles sensing that they are on display and everyone (on the Andheri-Kurla road) is watching them, are moving only inches at a time. From our office windows it's a pretty sight of the road below. And no, I will not think (just now) of how I am to get back home (that's in Ambernath).
Earlier in the day, our office bus inched its way from Ghatkopar to our office in Andheri in a little under two hours. I managed to read quite a bit of Jack Fingleton's Masters of Cricket. Intermittently I pulled my nose out of the book to look out of the steamed up windows and gauge our progress -- we would have moved forward a few meters -- and then back to the book where Fingleton was stressing the virtue of patience on a sticky wicket. Our driver, today (surprisingly) showed that he had loads of that quality. There was hardly any honking and he let the bus drift at the pace dictated by the rains and the traffic. A few brave and impatient souls in the bus decided to descend and walk to the office. One peep at the river that was flowing underneath the bus, was enough to douse all the courage and put them back in their seats. Gradually the bus neared the office. We jumped down, dodged a few rickshaws, side stepped some cars, and then a quick dash into the office building.
Once inside the office it was time to compare notes and get updates from the handful that were already in the office. The Borivili bus to the office had taken a little over two hours (actually nearly three). There was no sign of the Thane bus, yet. "It's reached Powai." someone called out. And then to the pantry for some hot coffee and to watch the rain coming down. One of my colleagues narrated how the driver of the BEST bus she was traveling in maneuvered the bus in the traffic to bring it near a Zunka-Bhakar Kendra. He then called out to the passengers to order tea and whatever else for the bus was not going anywhere for some time to come. Tea was had. The traffic inched forward some more. The driver got back into the bus, covered the distance of five meters and then went back for some more tea. Many passengers did the same before the traffic was ready again to inch forward another few meters. My colleague meanwhile told the driver that there was too much water on the roads and she would get soaked if she alighted at the bus stop (which is some 50 meters from our office) and walked to our office. No problem. The driver, steered the bus from the outside right lane to the inside left and halted the bus bang outside the entrance of the office building. And he even offered to drive it into the building -- "I am in no hurry to get anywhere." he said.
Surprisingly the trains are still up and about. Though if the rain continues in the same fashion, I'll have to spend the night in the office. Well not much of a problem. . . our office keeps us in training with regular "night-outs" on projects.
Meanwhile, people are still trickling in. . . time for some more stories and another cup of hot coffee. Enjoy the monsoon.
Click for: Monsoon Magic 1 - After the Rain.