Drenched: dispirited: dejected: as I waited at Kurla for a train back to New Bombay. There was chaos everywhere. No not again after 26 July 2005. There were trains going towards Victoria Terminus but none coming from there, and friends tell me not to go beyond Kurla, I could be stranded, you know.
The Punjab Mail is on the other track, and it is not moving. I take a picture of it. I read “The Last Mughal” and still no trains. Despair, pandemonium prevails. The platform is full of flies, I feel hungry, I buy a packet of gram and eat, standing there and reading my book. I try to SMS my boss but the messages aren’t going. Then I realize there’s no balance in my prepaid phone account.
There are buses that run to New Bombay from here. 501, for instance. I climb the bridge, it’s leaking everywhere: the platform, the bridge, and the trains. Guess Bombay turns into what it were when it rains: a primitive swamp with mud and water everywhere. Yes, that was what it was a thousand years ago – a swamp. And they reclaimed it to build the city and roads. The problem is they didn’t see the once derelict fort and trading post of the British turn into a modern city with the demands of space from so many different businesses.
Guess we get the administrators we deserve. Selfish men who have their self-interest above everything else. They hanker after petty things like re-naming roads, buildings, and whole areas, yet they can’t keep the city dry during monsoons. Why, they can’t even tell trespassers pitching tents in their property to get out, instead offer them houses, FOR FREE! Imagine you giving someone trespassing in your property a free house! The irony becomes all the more evident.
When I descend the stairs there’s a 501 just turning from the depot. I jump in. The bus is packed and there’s hardly room to stand. A man is poking his umbrella and bag in my face. Off with it, I tell. Nothing is visible outside. Some people are laughing and smiling.
“It’s good, let it rain like this for five days, let it get flooded.”
It’s a bit of fun for them. Others make silly jokes about the rain, which I don’t find funny. I wipe the glass to look outside. People are crowding the side of the road, asking for rides. Guess drivers will ask them Rs 50 to reach them to New Bombay. Rascals, preying on innocent commuters.
At last I cross the Thane creek bridge and am in New Bombay. Another deluge in Bombay, another chaos, another case of being stranded, another trudge through ankle deep water is now past. Now I am in a cyber café typing this, and I think the keyboard sucks!