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...
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...