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"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an ag├Ęd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mumbai under siege

Chennai is one of those few wonderful Indian cities where it never rains at all. Least of all in July. But in the past week, we had two blasts of rain worth the name. Some depression off the coast to alleviate the depression of those on it. Therefore the news that Mumbai was being lashed by the rain-gods came as no surprise. After all, if it rains in Chennai, how can any other place be overlooked?

Even otherwise, India's commercial capital is graced unfailingly by the southwest monsoon. Over the years, I have come to know from news channels that the lives of Mumbaikars are put in disarray for a couple of days because of the rains.

But what has come to pass in the past week is quite incredible. As someone put it, it has been raining almost single-mindedly! Yesterday, I came to know from some friends in Pune that their company had asked them to leave by noon. And they are having an off-day today!!! What a midweek! Plus the predictable Rediff.com article which opines that Mumbai has overtaken Cherrapunji as the place in India which has recorded the highest rainfall in a single day.

One of my father's friends has stay put in Mumbai airport for almost two days now. When my father recounted this, I couldn't help being reminded of Viktor Navorski in The Terminal, except that in this case, no one could venture out or fly away. My father's friend should have reached Chennai yesterday evening, but all flights have been put off. And the authorities indicate that the earliest the airport can swing back to work in 3 PM tomorrow. This person has to sleep on the floor, has no access of medicines, clothing or proper food. And he is in Mumbai on a business trip!

In the face of nature's wrath, any system is liable to fail miserably. So to speak ill of the various otherwise-efficient systems is unwarranted. Let us pray that Mumbai returns to normalcy as soon as possible.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Dileep said...

I expected to find Your Critical Highness deride the infrastructure of Mumbai etc. It comes as a surprise that you have chosen to deflect any such comments.

7/28/2005 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger airanand said...

yes.. this is quite an unexpected situation and proves yet against the force of Mother nature.. none can escape..

7/28/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gokulakrishnan S said...

however 'otherwise-efficent' our systems may be, the fact remains that our disaster management systems SUCK. Instead of putting the blame on Mother Nature, if we firmed up that front, we might save a few more lives in earthquakes and floods.

7/30/2005 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Vijay Krishna said...

The fact is our systems are never proactive. We always think "Ah! The hell it will rain in this place. Let us see if and when it happens."

I was caught up in the traffic last night for about an hour and half. I could see live the crying need for better roads and a much-improved traffic management system. These roads have been the same for at least 15 years, but the number of vehicles has increased ten-fold. What infrastructure development are we talking about?

7/30/2005 05:35:00 PM  

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