Thursday, July 28, 2005

My hometown almost drowned !!!



This is a picture of people walking on railway tracks. What makes this picture even more nerve wracking is that they are walking on railway tracks that are laid on a bridge. So the gushing water that you see underneath is water from flooding that is filling up. These people had boarded commuter trains to get home from work. However, trains stopped working and they had to get off the train and start walking on the tracks to get home. Now let me tell you something more interesting - I have done the same thing in an earlier monsoon in Bombay.


Buses are a key to mass transportation in Bombay. Trains and buses carry millions of commuters to and from work everyday. It is estimated that the trains alone carry more people than New York's subway, buses and taxicab commuters put together. Now imagine the state when the city is paralyzed because mass transit has ground to a halt. People were stranded where the bus decided to stop. Your choices are clear - walk. Sorry there is no second choice. You can see the driver also exited in a hurry and didn't bother shutting the door.
Now that I've shown you the pictures, here's the story. Bombay got drenched with the heaviest rainfall that India has seen in this century. In a 21 hour period it got a little over 37 inches of rain, as measured by the barometer. So that's a little over three feet over the entire city. Now you can imagine how much water fits into 3 feet across that many miles. Needless to say, I spent the better part of yesterday trying to track down my parents who live there. The city had ground to a halt - phones not working, electricity in some parts, mass transportation halted. After repeated attempts to call them on various phone numbers, I finally managed to get a text message across to a friend of mine in Bombay. He called them, got through and then paged me back that they were okay and at home. It was such an ordeal to track them that I felt mentally drained out by the time I got home. I slept for about an hour and a half ... just to slow my mind down from the overdrive that it had been in all day.
I still can't get a hold of my parents - the phone lines are apparently up but getting through to India from here is turning out to be a chore. I'm sure millions of people from all over the world are trying to call Bombay.
The only side is that I know the city will hold and the people will get back to work. I've lived there, I've done all this and i've walked on railway tracks with my friends when coming back from college - exactly as the picture shows. I know that the city is a sea of survivors. We Bombayites know how to live through this shit and get up the next day and get back to living our life. There are things that I completely dislike about the city but then again, the above pictures tell a story about people who will work against all odds to keep the cogs turning and keep the city alive.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Sajid said...

Hi,
Many parts of the city were 7 ft. under water.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Wow! What a Mess! I hope your family is okay. How do people cope afterward, when the waters recede?

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI,
I'm glad yours and sajid's parents are fine! Hopefully you'll get through to them directly soon. Thankfully, Noddy's parents are here. The level of water is unbelievable! There was an interesting description by one of the ladies caught for 10 hours + in her car on BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4724245.stm
- Truly describes the spirit of survivors!
I need to check on my relatives too...

- Synapse

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Sajid said...

Karim,

The water recedes very quickly in Bombay. I just talked to my sister and the water has gone completely, atleast in my area, and that the land is dry again .. Unbelievable!!! Seems like the ground was very thirsty ... HAHHAHA

Sajid

2:59 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Wow---that is crazy intense. I must admit that growing up in the U.S. you don't really hear to much about things happening in India and the cultures and perspectives from that part of the world.

Reading this blog is a very broadening experience for me. Better than CNN.

And more personal. I do wish the best for your family and relations.

Those are some scary pics.

7:42 PM  

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