Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Remembeing July 26, 2005

It had rained 944 mm in the suburbs of Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra last year on July 26, 2005. Today is the unhappy anniversary of that day, which is commonly referred to as Terrible Tuesday. More than 500 people had died and 53 are still missing, due to landslides, drowning in gutters and suffocation in the cars in which they were stuck. Lakhs of people were stranded in various parts of Mumbai city, who commute every day from their home to place of work. I was one of those who got stranded.

On the left is a picture taken at Kalyan station, which shows how terrible, the rain and the flooding that followed, was on that day. You can see the train is half merged in the water. [Click on the picture to enlarge it.] More such pictures are here.

Today, many NGOs have appealed to citizen to wear white in memory of those who have died. I am wearing white shirt today.

I have some memories of Terrible Tuesday. I had come to office as my usual train, which departs at 7:20 a.m. was right on time, insptite of heavy rain at that time and I had reached office at my normal time. Afterwards sometime in the afternoon I came to know that it is raining very heavily in suburbs and trains had stopped. And quite strangely in Colaba, where my office is situated, there was light to mderate rain. By evening it was confirmed that all the trains have stopped due to water logging on the tracks and it is also impossible to use roads due to flodding. Well, I and my office colleagues spent overnight at our dear friend's home, who live near our office. We had good time at his home. My dear friend, who is an excellent cook, had made corn and mushroom soup, which was just excllent. We had nothing to do but watch the news on the telly and to hope that rains will stop. Except for Airtel, all moible connections and landline connections were either erratic or down. As I use Airtel, I was able to contact my wife and children through neighour's mobile, who uses the similar service provider. Next day our office had arranged a bus from Colaba to Thane for the stranded persons in our office. Our bus had started off at around 4:00 p.m. and had reached Sion Circle at about 6:30 p.m. and got stuck for two and half hours, due to flodding and heavy traffic on the road. We had to come back from Sion to our office as there was no chance of going further for next few hours. So, I had spent another night at my dear friend's place. Next day, that is Thursday, train services had been restored from V.T. to Thane as rains had stopped. I took a train, along with few friends, upto Thane. After reaching Thane, there was abolute choas on the roads, as no trains were going beyond Thane. We had walked upto next station, that is Kalwa, on the railway track and luckily from there we had got an autorickshaw to Kalayan. Once reaching Kalyan, it was quite easy to reach Ulhasnagar, the city were I live. So I was able to see my wife and children at last on Thursday at 4:00 p.m., after leaving for office in the early morning of Tuesday. I felt happy to to be alive. My children had insisted that I should not go to office for next few days. It tooks few weeks for the trains services to be back on normal.

The full coverage of July 25, 2005, immortalized now as Terrible Tuessday is here.

1 comment:

Dave said...

It's terrible that something as 'every day' as weather can cause such suffering. We are so lucky that we don't get extreme weather here.