Sunday, July 09, 2006

Last year's deluge

The deluge last year was a much better story than this year's ... check it out...

How much of human life is lost in waiting. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are good times and there are bad times and there are some times that you can’t slot under these two. 26th of July started out a wonderful day. The sun’s rays poked its fingers through the window as I left home for the coolest place in the world –college. The birds sang, the traffic hummed and God was at peace with humankind. Friends, meetings, classes, hanging out, projects, eating, studies, some more hanging out –all like a normal day at college. What happened after 2 p.m. totally redefines the word NORMAL.

Three classmates and I decided to take the car home as all of us lived close by. We had just found out that the railways had stopped owing to the rain. We didn’t think that there would be much traffic and we felt safer together. Ipsita’s car with the driver arrived and we piled in. Four of us plus the driver makes five. WOAH! What a crowd! Little did we know that the car was going to be our home for over 21 hours. Before hopping into the car we decided to get wet in the rain. Ah! The blessed feeling of being one with nature! We were soaked to the bone and when we sat in the car we realized that our getting wet was the stupidest thing EVER. The A.C. was switched on since the windows had to be closed and very soon we heard four pairs of chattering teeth. Also Ipsita had worn a white skirt (another dumb idea!) and we had to take care not to dirty it.

In the beginning it was all La-di-da (inside the car). We sang, listened to the radio, and got to know each other better. The outside situation was hell! We took an hour to go from one end of the road to another. Families were contacted and then the networks collapsed.
I sat as far away from Ranjana as possible, considering she dances (or tries to) anywhere possible. So we had some fine display of Odissi dance viz. the Thribangi and Mudras –INSIDE THE CAR!!! Then if that wasn’t enough she started singing! She only stopped when we threatened she would find our fists in her face. The dear girl was only trying to help. Reuben was in the minority being the only boy( Ipsita’s driver kept mum throughout). Reuben bowed down to the age-old rule –‘let the women talk and do their thing’. So he was bombarded with ‘girl talk’. Three girls chattering at once was too much for the poor guy, so he tactfully suggested we listen to the radio. The silence reigned in the car except for the radio.
Outside it looked like a mini lake. As the evening darkened into night so did our tempers but eventually we cooled down to spend a joyous night in each other’s company. The darkness pressing against our car when we were stuck in a by-lane somewhere. We had an absolute blast even though we got to know the gravity of the situation. Thank God for Parle-G and Thank God for petrol bunks (we went to the loo there. If it wasn’t for that, the trees would have got a free watering.). Santa Cruz was the worst affected and we passed the night in the same place. The others slept fitfully except for Ranjana who slept like ‘Kumbakarana’ (her snoring shook the whole car!!!).
The way we came was a miracle because:
1. We were running out of petrol and
2. We did not have any money with us
3. We unknowingly kept the windows closed when the A.C. was on.

We got to know that the spirit of Mumbai was alive and well. People got a free swimming lesson, a first hand experience of the wrath of mother nature, some got a free trip to their final home, so on and so forth. It was an adventure and it is a once in a lifetime experience. This hasn’t happened for a 100 years and I pray that it never happens again.

We managed to survive all that and emerge as winners. The road to three of our homes was blocked so we went to Ipsita’s house where we cooked for ourselves and had a cool time. Our families couldn’t be contacted because of the network collapse but out of the whole ordeal RANJANA was the most difficult to bear and if I hear the ‘Vrindavani sarang’ once more…. People will accuse me of murder!!!

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