Thursday, July 28, 2005

Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi...

So, the Ordeal is over and just about everyone has a Tale to tell. Mine isn't exciting or heroic or memorable. And I'm extremely grateful for that.

The skies were literally black and water had seeped into our ground floor office - for the first time ever. Something was horribly wrong, I realised, looking at huge, huge jam at Prabhadevi, going towards the suburbs. And the empty road going the other way beckoned instead.

It was an easy decision to make because I live in Vashi but also happen to have a home in south Bombay - the one I grew up in and where my parents still live.

But I'm sure many many of us have friends and relatives we could have chosen to stay with - had we known the situation was so bad. And many more would have stayed put in their offices - again if they had an inkling they would have to spend the night in cars and buses.

But information, which is so very plentiful today was just not there on Tuesday evening...

Whether bureau
And I agree that weather forecasting is not an exact science but our met department has such a bad record that had they actually announced "heavy rains expected" no one would even have believed them.

Still, just a simple early warning system that monitors the amount of rainfall by the hour and the flooding situation in about 10 key problem areas could easily be set up. Once the mm of rain and/ or water levels rise above a particular danger level the information could be broadcast over FM, cellular networks and TV.

Now the problem with this is there could be false alarms - logon ko ghar jaane ka bahaana mil gaya, some khadoos bosses might say. But the only other option is jaise chal raha hai - 'bhagwaan bharose' .

Excuses rain down
The most maddening part was Vilasrao Deshmukh coming on TV and laying all the blame on Nature. What about the garbage situation? The desilting of drainage pipes - which never takes place?? Not to forget - miserable suburban town planning.

It takes less than half an hour of medium rainfall to turn the road outside Andheri station into a river of mock amazonian proportion...

Travelling to and fro - even on 'normal' days - is often a nightmare. It really doesn't take much for the whole system to collapse!


The Eternal divide
Restaurants were packed but otherwise things were normal in south Bombay. How, and why? Midday asked the question on many people's minds: Why did city float while suburbs sank?.

On Tuesday, the rains erased all class and economic differences. But the difference between south Mumbai and the suburbs remained stark.

While people from the suburbs were stranded or had to walk for hours to get home, for the lucky south Mumbai lot, home was only a short cab ride away. Why?


Of the many explanations given, the one which was most disturbing but at least partially true: The real reason is that the BMC and other agencies cannot afford to have the ministers and high-profile people living in south Mumbai inconvenienced.

Update, Jul 29: Just learnt that south Bombay received only 73.4 mm of rain so maybe all this analysis is crap - townies were simply lucky!

As reports poured in...
Star News had the most dedicated coverage, I thought, while NDTV scored a coup by pressing Gautam Singhania's helicopter into service to give aerial shots of affected areas.

Makes your wonder, given the competition between news channels, will a fleet of helicopters become as integral to Indian TV stations as OB vans are currently? That is, after all, the American way...

But getting back to the coverage, more than TV, the FM stations provided vital information and connections between people trying to reach each other. Because they had more 'micro' and more frequently updated information about the situation in specific areas - not just the broad picture. As a local medium rightly should.

FM also ruled because there was no electricity in large parts of the city. And with the mobile networks down, about the only useful thing one could do with the handset was tune into the radio!

Wonder though how many cells suffered 'death' by drowning... Despite 'waterproof' covers : )

The Day After
Yes, we are 'bouncing back' - but what choice is there? Mass emigration to Canada??

The newspapers are full of the Mumbaikar's 'never say die' spirit but as Amitabhji once said in that famous song from Mr Natwarlal : "Yeh jeena bhi koi jeena hai, lallu?"

There just may be some hope with younger politicians like Milind Deora at least having the guts to admit - on national television - that something is wrong.

But he is merely a Member of Parliament. Not a BMC worker...

19 comments:

  1. regarding the tale
    although it is not heroic, it sure touches some feathers and i hope it reaches ears where it actually matters.
    and i wud say, Hats Off to FM, as it provided relevant information and at the time when it actually mattered, not after all was thru as most of the TV channels might b doin now.

    neways, nice to look at the given pieces of information from a different perspective.

    thnx for such a post

    Regards
    Vipul

    ReplyDelete
  2. In our attempts of becoming a global power it is only a matter of time before the government realizes that these problems are reducing our nation's efficiency.Just wait till our bigger problems like nuclear energy get sorted out.There is a realization that our pathetic system is beginning to cost us dearly in terms of losing business to china and others.Do you think the government is worried about the citizens?No!!It will all boil down to this assessing system's efficiency when the world sits and decide whether we are a super power or not.And then see how the government slogs to improves this system, just like it is slogging for the nuclear deal.And throw in people like jyothiraditya scindia and sachin pilot also in your list.

    ReplyDelete
  3. totally agree with uday, India is seen as a big market for ppl to invest in, but this rain really showed what poor infrastructure India has, and it definitly doesnt help when most of the govt efforts are either towards the military or towards the upper class. the middle class is growing and what india really needs right now, is not alotta ministers who say we will do this we will do that, but someone who will actually go out there and do it. something i've always wondered too, why are ministers always above 50?

    ReplyDelete
  4. i read ur post on airtel n m disgusted.
    airtel ws offering free local calls n its pretty ok if few coffee shops were sponsoring it n helping them cut costs.
    people cn't help crib crib fucking crib all the fucking time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. nice post.
    Infrastructure really needs to improve for us to be included among the world's best and most progressive nations.
    This is a huge reality check for all of us as to how far behind we are in even the most basic of amenities.
    Kudos to the radio stations for giving sensible info throughout the calamity.
    Brickbats to Vilasrao Deshmukh for blaming the whole situation on nature.

    Have a friend's dad working @ BARC and have heard about a huge amount of equipment being destroyed.Just hope that this has not affected the nuke reactor else its bye bye

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Rashmi,

    Finally you posted! I have been looking for yours comments since the night between July 26 and 27, when infact I posted my account at my blog and also posted the link in the comments of your earlier post.

    Anyway, candidly speaking, your post is a tad bit lower than expected. But then, expectation is like amoeba growing exponentially with time, and wait increases expectations. Anyway, glad to see your post.

    The biggest point of disagreement that I'd have is thing about the lack of a crisis situation in South Mumbai. Well, ignore the fact that I live in Colaba, work at Nariman Point and beer at Mondy's. But c'mon is it really the well maintained drainage system, Narayan's Rane's photographs that recently moved from Sena posters to Congress', Cuff Parade suede buildings or their sueder inhabitants, that it did not flood in South Bombay. Well, I don't think so. Why? Because I do believe that more rain means more damage/chaos/helplessness versus less rains, all things remaining the same. It rained only 73mm in South Bombay, and 994mm in the suburbs. That's like 13 TIMES less. Who would you blame, the BMC worker fed on South Bombay money?

    On an unrelated note, my deepest respect goes to people who helped others in the time of distress. And to those who survived to tell the tale:

    Welcome my son, welcome to the machine,
    Where have you been?
    It's alright we know where you've been.
    You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
    You were stuck in your car, helpless for many an hour,
    You blamed the rain, You were in pain,
    Beside the fallen tree and blaming the bee emm cee,
    But in the town you couldn't be,
    And you didn't like the muddy pool,
    And you know you're nobody's fool,
    So welcome to the machine.


    Hope to see more on this from you.

    Regards,
    Rahul

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very well said. But like one person commented in my blog: it might actually be we, the peopel, who are really to blame.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, well it could be that south Bombay recd very little rain... I just read abt that today. But even at Prabhadevi - where my office is - it rained cats and dogs and the water was not more than ankle deep. So kuch to gadbad hai.

    Honestly, since I did not experience the deluge first hand - I could not give a searing first hand account... Of course while I stayed dry in Colaba, my daughter was in Vashi with the neighbour ... and there was no electricity... and she had fever. But considering she was safe and not stuck in a schoolbus I still consider myself lucky!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Divya - the Airtel comment was put up on Tue evening ... when all was chaos... But yes, Airtel was a little more functional than Orange and BPL so one should be grateful :) I'm stil not impressed by the 'free calls' though - that was PR more than public service. Like we care abt a couple of bucks on a day when cabs are charging 1500! Just make sure the service works!! And if it does, use it to broadcast some more useful msgs than locations of coffee shops :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. well ive gotta say that your blogs are pretty remarkable..yeah..ive got some cool postings too...you might as well
    gimme some smart kick-ass comments bout my blogs and stuffs..lol

    ReplyDelete
  12. not everyone is on billing n most n most ppl hd little blnc by the end of the dy- not only cos they mde tht mny clls but ppl wre generous enuff to let otherss use their phones too

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rashmi,

    I am a regular at your blog. I just don't say much.

    Most of your posts make for entertaining reading, and most are blessed with crystal clear reasoning. Kudos!

    This one doesn't strike the right note though, even going to the extent of leaving a bitterish taste in the mouth. I think you have to live up to a little more responsibility than stressing on the "town-suburb" divide. Maybe it's my interpretation that's the culprit here. I don't really know. My point being that the issue does not get the sensitivity it deserves.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Rashmi

    no doubt, there should be early warning systems and there should be better forecasts. But cribbing about it is the easier way out, isn't it? Like most mumbaikars, i did my share of wading thru the rainwater. vileparle to Bandra and then dadar west to five gardens, to be exact. But what touched me was the impromptu help groups that were formed, out to help others. Yes, our Government is extremely reactive and it needs to change, but why harp on the obvious? my point: we need to highlight the great work done by the ordinary people. they are the ones who make Mumbai what it is. Most mainstream media and a few bloggers overlook the good news and highlight the bad, doing nothing to improve the situation. If there has to be bias (and I guess one can't remove it) I'd rather that it's on a positive side. (IMHO)
    and as for the systems, railways were up quickly, electricity was down to prevent electrocutions, FM was doing a wonderful job. So, there was method in the madness. Agree with you about the telephone communications though.
    Also, statements like "it does't take much for the systems to collapse" are not really true. if you want to see a systems collapse, please make your way to bangalore one of these days and have a lookie.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Divya - point taken.

    Jaggernaut - I couldn't provide any chicken soup for the soul because - honestly - I did not even get wet. What should I do, make up heart-warming stories ? :)

    Nandan - I lived 24 years in south Bombay and then shifted to the suburbs and so can definitely say there is a vast difference between the level of 'civilisation' between the two sides of Bombay... Maybe Bangalore is worse but that does not offer much consolation!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Rashmi,

    Glad to hear that you:
    1. Did not get wet, I was in the same boat. Oops, thats a mean phrase to use these days!
    2. Agree that there's more science to the Town-Suburbs distribution of distress.

    Anyway, my Day 2 account, written by a townie, about colleagues from suburbs is at Bad Times, Good Spirits.

    I am sure glad to have been largely unaffected, but wonder what would it be like, "survive to tell the tale".

    Trying to compile stories, will post more.

    Best,
    Rahul

    ReplyDelete
  17. These articles are fantastic; the information you show us is interesting for everybody and is really good written. It’s just great!! Do you want to know something more? Read it...: Head Shop, Herbal Grinders ,
    Bongs, Glass Pipe. Visit us for more info at: http://www.headshopinternational.com/

    ReplyDelete
  18. 减速机 齿轮减速机 SEW减速机 摆线针轮减速机 蜗轮蜗杆减速机 interlining
    明星代言 明星经纪公司
    制动单元 铝壳电阻
    modern abstract art sofa manufacturer
    净水器 开水器 净水机 净水 软水机 软水 直饮机 家用净水 家用净水器 家用净水机 中央净水 中央净水器 水家装 水家电 水卫士 混合机
    过滤机 DHL快递 俄罗斯签证 回转支承 Laser marking
    保险箱 法兰 法兰标准
    polycarbonate sheet 回流焊 波峰焊
    压球机 注册上海公司 儿童摄影
    牛皮癣 皮肤病 制氮机
    食堂售餐机 校园一卡通
    学校一卡通 ic卡售饭机
    食堂售饭机 深圳一卡通
    广东售饭机 机电设备安装
    北京发票 代开发票
    餐饮发票 住宿发票
    广告发票
    网络电话 免费网络电话
    假发 补发
    织发 植发
    压滤机 板框压滤机
    蒸馏水机 纯蒸气发生器
    上海搬家公司 上海搬场公司
    大众搬家 大众搬场
    张家界旅游 香港旅游
    深圳旅行社 打包机
    收缩机 对讲机 电源模块
    血管栓塞剂
    售饭机 水控机 水控器
    萎缩性胃炎 neoprene laptop bags
    SEO优化
    SEO优化 计量泵
    胃炎 胃病
    冷水机 冰水机
    工业冷水机
    北京特价机票 北京打折计票 北京国际机票
    北京机票预定 北京飞机票
    北京订机票 北京机票查询 饮料机械
    银杏 水培花卉 企业宣传片 空分设备
    化工泵 离心机
    电话交换机 程控交换机 集团电话 集装袋
    混合机 混合机
    混合机捏合机 捏合机
    捏合机导热油炉 导热油炉
    导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜
    反应釜 spherical roller bearing
    搬运车 搬运车 电动搬运车 油桶搬运车 堆高车 电动堆高车 半电动堆高车 堆垛车
    高空作业平台车 电动叉车 平衡重叉车 前移叉车 电瓶叉车
    韩国饰品批发 模块电源
    X架 超薄灯箱> 易拉宝 展柜制作
    代理服务器 游戏加速器 网络加速器
    网通加速器 电信加速器 电信网通转换器
    电信网通加速器 网通电信互转
    网通电信互通 网络游戏加速器
    美国VPN代理 美国独享VPN 美国独享IP
    pvc ceiling panel Spherical roller bearings
    SEO优化
    安全鞋 劳保鞋 防砸鞋 电绝缘鞋 上海安全鞋 上海劳保鞋 江苏劳保鞋
    服装软件 服装管理软件 进销存软件
    进销存管理软件 服装管理系统 服装进销存软件
    进销存系统 进销存管理系统 免费进销存软件
    吉林中医 东北特产
    打包机
    阳痿 阴茎短小 阴茎增大
    早泄 前列腺炎 阴茎增粗 阴茎延长
    国际机票 上海国际机票
    国际特价机票 国际打折机票
    砂磨机 砂磨机
    砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    卧式砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    三辊研磨机 三辊研磨机
    三辊研磨机 混合机 混合机
    混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机
    干粉砂浆设备 干粉砂浆设备
    干粉砂浆设备 捏合机 捏合机 捏合机 导热油炉 导热油炉 导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜 反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜
    乳化机 涂料设备 干混砂浆设备 无重力混合机 胶体磨 涂料成套设备 双螺旋混合机
    北京婚庆 北京婚庆公司
    400电话
    办证 呼吸机 制氧机
    亚都 亚都加湿器 亚都净化器
    亚都装修卫士
    饰品批发 小饰品批发 韩国饰品 韩国饰品批发 premature ejaculation penis enlargement
    安利产品 马来西亚留学
    网站优化 网站推广
    衬布
    代写论文
    代写论文
    论文代写 代写论文
    磁力泵
    离心泵
    化工泵
    隔膜泵
    螺杆泵
    潜水泵
    油泵
    耐腐蚀泵
    水泵
    拖链 防护罩 排屑机 塑料拖链 钢铝拖链
    化工离心泵
    计量加油泵
    自吸式离心泵
    管道油泵
    自吸式排污泵
    潜水排污泵
    自吸式磁力泵
    耐高温磁力泵
    不锈钢多级离心泵
    多级离心泵
    耐腐蚀自吸泵
    自吸化工泵
    玻璃钢液下泵
    液下式排污泵
    卧式离心清水泵
    氟塑料磁力泵
    磁力驱动循环泵
    耐腐蚀污水泵
    卧式化工离心泵
    玻璃钢耐酸泵
    防爆管道油泵
    不锈钢多级泵
    立式多级离心泵
    塑料磁力泵
    水泵厂
    手摇油泵
    上海水泵厂
    上海水泵
    离心泵厂家
    热水泵
    清水泵
    气动隔膜泵
    深圳装饰 深圳装饰公司 深圳装修公司
    特价机票 打折机票 国际机票
    机票
    新风换气机 换气机 立式新风换气机 风机箱 新风系统 能量回收机
    搅拌机 混合机 乳化机
    分散机
    毛刷 毛刷辊 工业毛刷 刷子 钢丝刷
    涂层测厚仪 硬度计
    兆欧表 激光测距仪
    测振仪 转速表
    温湿度计 风速仪
    超声波测厚仪
    粗糙度仪
    噪音计 红外测温仪
    万用表
    硬度计 万用表
    美容院 美容加盟
    澳洲留学 澳大利亚留学
    什么是法兰
    电烤箱
    酒店预定 北京酒店预定 北京酒店
    离心机
    nail equipment nail products nail product nail uv lamp nail uv lamp nail uv lamps uv nail lamp nail brush
    nail file nail tool nail tip nail gel curing uv lamps lights
    万用表 风速仪
    红外测温仪 噪音计
    苗木价格 苗木信息 标牌制作 深圳标牌 北京儿童摄影 防静电鞋 淘宝刷信誉
    威海凤凰湖 威海海景房 大庆密封件
    打标机 淘宝刷信誉 TESOL/TEFL国际英语教师证书 英语教师进修及培训 北京快递公司 北京国际快递

    ReplyDelete

Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth