Thursday, June 23, 2005

Monsoon Magic 2: It's Raining (Hard) in Mumbai

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.

12 comments:

angela said...

ahhh monsoon! now that it's finally here...when is it going away????

Susan said...

I was the lucky one on that bus! The spirit of that bus wallah was commendable. He made some 15 friends today, so what if all of them were wet and anxious to get going. While the bus inched along the road he enquired about all the passengers, advised some of them going to Powai to return back (and they obliged after an hr or so), helped put back into motion 2 stranded cars, befriended a tourist taxi driver and advised him to push back his seat and take a nap (aare peechu walla horn bajayega, tabhi utna!), left the bus to check if there was a chana stall close by (came back disappointed, "mumbai ka plannin acha nahin hain!), and also arranged for chai pani from a local zunkha bakhar stall (the attendant, on his advice, actually travelled with us a little, 6 and a half inches must be, while the crowd drank his chai and emptied his glasses).

The bus number was 709. I do not know the name of this driver. But with him the ride was smooth, the half day cut at office worthwhile, and the thunder showers an occasion to celebrate. I wonder if he has reached the depot as yet, but I am sure that he has had lunch, has made at least a dozen more friends and made the rain and its pains much more bearable for all of them!

Hats off to you driversaab!

Anushila said...

Dear Mandy,

This is exactly what Kolkata is thirsting for, the showers...
You must have heard about the "heat wave" which has been scorching the city for the last few weeks. A brief respite came last Sunday when we enjoyed the first showers of the year(monsoon usually arrives in the first week on June). The streets looked straight out of the sets of Lagaan, with people actually getting drenched and breaking into songs..and yes the the Lagaan song topped most lists.
But that was Sunday. Almost a week has passed and we are yet to receive the second shower. The clouds are playing hide-n-seek in the sky and we are waiting with bated breath for the showers to pour as it did in Mumbai today.

I can quite imagine what mixed feelings the people of Mumbai must be having now.
Feeling 1: oooh la la, thank God the rains are here. The heat was really killing. Hey, look there, the trees seem to be dancing in joy..and what a brilliant vision the different shades of green, glistening with joy, produce! How I wish I didn't have to go to office today. It's just the day to snuggle up in the old attic with my favourite storybook and munchies(there should be a steady supply of coffee, tea, etc, of course)...

Feeling 2: Oh no! How to reach office? Not that I want to, but then, do I have a choice? Let me think. If I can just cross the Marol Maroshi Road (which can be called the Lake Marol now), I can try getting an auto. Getting an auto to stop will be a lot easier than the other days, as they are already standing, for hours, in the traffic. So after, the traffic moves (once I have managed to get an auto), it will be just a matter of few more hours. Once I get to office, I can relax for the rest of the day(that includes the sleeping hours) as there's no question of returning home for the night if the shower continues. Enough...no more hassles...I will buy the boat next year.

mandar talvekar said...

Kol hasn't got any rain yet? Me thought it must be pouring in that place -- i thought u ppl got rains much earlier.

Anyway, rains are on their way -- i have had a word with Indra regards to his improper allocation (told him -- it'll affect his next appraisal) and he has apologised and is trying to rectify matters. Will take some time tho -- that guy is a bit slow (wonder who recruited him as a god) and these things do take time.

Anushila said...

Now I understand what they meant when they said, “whenever you are in any trouble, just go and complain to your buddy!!!!”

Archie said...

Hey Mandy, 'twas fun reading that. Here I go running into the rain! Rain, rain, come again. :-)

Anonymous said...

Mandar I really MISS MUMBAI YAAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(:(:(:(

Bijoy said...

That was me Bijoy yaar :(. Me these monsoon days most. Miss Chickloli, Heaven all those private waterfalls. The masala coffee next to National Library. huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! Somebody take me bac to Mumbai plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!!!

Bijoy

Harshada Nijsure said...

hey Mandy,
I miss the monsoons in Mumbai...the crowds...the train delays...how is it raining in Ambernath?

sagar said...

Really miss the Mumbai rains in sweltering Delhi, it was 45 degrees here two days back !!
Looks like Lord Indra will take is own time in sending rains here.
Met office says monsoon will be delayed, it usually hits delhi around July one

Chaitanya said...

Namaskar Raje,
Aamchya Rajyat Parjanya Rajachi Krupa jhalyacha wachun anand jhala. Chala aata aamhala chinta karayachi aawashyakata nahi, bara baki praja kay mhanatiye, konala aamchi aathawan yete ki nahi. Aamhi matra Mumbai prantala baryach divasat bhet dili nahi, kay karanar, ikade punya nagaricha karbhar baghava lagato...
Chala Rajyachi khushali aamhala ashich kalavat ja. Mumbaila yeu tenva bhetuch...

TBJ said...

Hey Mandy,

I just read your blog. Made me long for Mumbai. Want to sit on my window sill, drink hot coffee, and look at the rain. :(

Btw, it's bloody hot here--35 degrees. And yesterday, we had a regular shower with thunder and lightning. Do you think there's any chance the monsoon followed me here?

I miss you guys. And I miss the Mumbai monsoon. Have an extra cup of coffee for me. And don't forget to send me all the stories.