At 6 pm I dropped off a colleague in Andheri (E) and put another one onto a rick towards Borivili. The Western Express highway was deserted and not water logged at all.
I came home to see Srinivasan Jain standing under an umbrella giving grim commentary about how bad the situation is. Maybe things had changed drastically in the 45 minutes it took me to reach Vashi. I don't know...
Another channel had on its ticker:"Road to and from airport flooded": Civil Aviation ministry. From what I could see off the highway that didn't seem to be quite the case.
What I saw
Of course stretches of the highway are in v bad shape. Esp right outside the airport. And a few parts near Fantasyland are still looking like rivers. In housing societies like 'Greenfield' cars inside the building compound are still almost half submerged in water which is refusing to recede.
But on the whole it was OK. I passed by Sion - all clear. Picked up bottles of Bisleri as the muddy tapwater situation in Vashi continues -trying to buy bottled water there is a nightmare.
The self-serve grocery from where I picked up the water has candles prominently displayed at the counter. And torches. I bought both. Nice man is not charging more than normal rates, at least.
Some areas I passed are water-logged. King's Circle, bits of Chembur and Matunga for example, but somewhere between ankle and knee deep. Like it happens every year.
The Central Railways was down earlier in the day though services have apparently resumed now. But that appears to be the worst affected area this time.
But better safe than sorry...
Almost to make up for the fact that they didn't get it 'right' last time the government has been in overdrive. And I'm not blaming them, just making an observation here.
The police commissioner sounded a 'red alert'.
Met Dept predicts heavy to very heavy rainfall.
Luckily for them, being a Sunday, compliance was not an issue.
What do you believe?
At about 7 pm NDTV was flashing pictures of people wading through water... Some Chunilal Chowk which I can't place. Not clear which specific part of Bombay. Considering how large the city is, I think they should give news from 6-8 different locations and especially main arterial roads.
Star News had a more accurate description: "Some low-lying areas of the city are water logged, normal life disrupted.
Another strange thing: Conflicting reports coming out of different channels. One channel says "flights cancelled", another is still flashing "flights resume".
It's all a bit confusing for the viewer. The only sure way to know what the hell is happening at any given point is to call up someone (since phone lines are thankfully working!) and ask: paani bhar raha hai kya?
Or call in FM radio and ask the listeners to help you out. They're still doing a far far better job than TV! Stick to Go 92.5 if you need info.
To panic or not to...
By late evening, Colaba had recorded 60 mm of rain while Santacruz recorded 66 mm. Which is not unusual.
But considering the trials and tribulations the majority of Mumbai has been through, it is hard for them to be 'rational'. So what will happen tomorrow?
DNA has hoardings all over the city showing a vegetable vendor and a tick mark against the statement: Will be at work tomorrow.
Is that really gonna be the case? Or will the famed Mumbai resilience and spirit crumble/ play it safe. I have a feeling there will be very thin attendance in offices tomorrow... But let's wait and see!
Meanwhile instead of blaming further rains for inability to clear the streets of debris, Vilasrao Deshmukh and BMC commissioner Jony Joseph need to display some leadership. Maybe, even symbolism - such as picking up a broom themselves. Trying to galvanise a work force that never works requires drastic action!