Sucheta Dalal :Mera Mumbai Mahaan ?
Sucheta Dalal

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Mera Mumbai Mahaan ?  

August 6, 2005

Posted by Ravi on Bombaynet


We had a harrowing experience in the posh Bandra Kurla Complex. Our offices declared at 2.30 that those who wanted to go early on Tuesday could leave by 3.30. A bus load of us were stranded right at the Kurla signal. The scene ahead was that of chaos. BEST buses, taxis and autos were all stranded in the neck deep rain water (or was it sewage?? it smelled that way!!). People were standing atop the buses and many were trying to cross over to reach Kurla station. Around 7-8 of us braved the water and waded through to Kurla station to see a flood of people already stranded there for hours. In only an hour or so it became impossible for us to return back as both sides of the station were under nearly 8 feet of water and the police had cordoned off the areas and didn’t allow anyone to pass through. Stuck in the Kurla station from 5.30 pm on Tuesday to 9.00 am on Wednesday was an experience in itself. On top of it all, there was no current, either in the station or even outside. The Orange network was down and most people who were stranded were trying hard to call up home.


I and four of my colleagues shifted ourselves to the PF 5 and found a place to sit... spreading newspapers and plastic covers so as not to sit on the dirty muddy platforms. The only wise thing we did was to go out immediately and buy whatever eatables and Bisleri water we could get, that saved us from being hungry throughout the night. The residents of Kurla came to the rescue of the stranded female population ...they had arranged for accommodation and food in the Jhulelal hall, the maruti temple and elsewhere too.


I really appreciate them for their support in the time of need..... at around 11pm a big group of volunteers from the Islamic Foundation came around the station with cartons of biscuits and distributed it to everyone who was stranded. That helped a lot.


The night was spent watching the rain pour continuously and the water rise above the platform. The platforms and the stairways were jammed with public who were either sleeping or sitting and chatting up.


It was around 6 am that that rains stopped and we had some respite. We could only crossover from Kurla station to BKC.....back to our office in hope of some food and hot tea !! The signal was under 6 feet of water and a rope was tied across it to help cross over... even then the current in the water was so strong that quite many people lost their bags and belongings which they saw helplessly float away.


We reached our office at around 9 am and had some tea and biscuits....we had the courage to venture out and try to reach home only at noon when the water had receded further. Went back the same way and crossed over to the EE highway..the road from Kurla station to EE highway was completely under 3-4 feet of water and we saw quite many dead bodies floating was just a terrible sight.


Hundreds of people were walking on the EE highway towards their homes. and the other side of the highway.....the route going towards CST was jammed with traffic both stranded and abandoned vehicles as well as those trying to go towards CST.


Had a tough walk of around 4 hours before i reached home in Mulund at 4.00 pm.


A real experience which I would never forget in my lifetime. (being a regular trekking guy....I had it easy. But I just cant imagine those with wife and children stranded in the middle of nowhere for so many hours)


-- Sucheta Dalal