Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bombay in the Rain - Part Two


The rain brings with it a host of catastrophes, unique to Bombay. If you are about to visit Bombay, hold all plans. I read this travel advisory The Economist gives free to all and sundry, and this is by way of warning people who would be planning a trip in the season of inclement weather. A colleague’s home got flooded, the roads around Andheri, the area that teems with call centres and software parks is so dirty that garbage lies strewn on the streets and it looks as if no effort has been made to collect garbage for days.

All this with the first hesitant showers? Then what all will follow, whattapen, God only knows, no?

Forces of nature, force majeur, acts of God, all phrases resounding with man’s helplessness when pitted against nature. But what to do? Things are like that only no? The rain sweeps Bombay into the gutter, and everything takes on a dirty greyish brown colour. It doesn’t cleanse but mixes the dirt into a paste, which then sticks to trousers, shoes, and saris. And the authorities sit and blink, and wring their hands. They don’t know what to do; they have been vanquished by the first onslaught. I can see them cowering behind their dusty files, the morons.

Commuting is hell. Really, commuting is the worst part of living in Bombay. The roads being what they are, the drivers become surly and bad tempered, even the genial rickshaw driver becomes a devil with a pitchfork and a long tail. Two days ago we tried all we could to persuade one of them to drop us at Andheri railway station. But none would oblige. It took us nearly one hour to finally coax an unwilling specimen to take us, and the result was a long wait in a traffic jam stretching all over Andheri-Kurla road. After that there was the long queue of patient people waiting to negotiate themselves to the railway platform, then the long commute. Reached home at 10.30 p.m. I had left the office at around 6.30 p.m. So that makes it a four-hour commute.

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