When I (Stupidly) Ventured Into a Flooded Mumbai Road on a Bicycle
As I started moving, I realised that the rain felt like shrapnel breaking against my skin, writes Aniket Gotety.
As some of you know, Mumbai has recently suffered a blow from a cyclone. This made the “city that doesn’t sleep” come to a standstill. The storm has been the worst witnessed by the city since 2005, with some areas receiving nearly 300 mm of rainfall.
But this didn’t stop me (It should have, trust me) on hearing that there would be high tides appearing at around 4:30. I decided I wanted to witness this. So, here’s an account of what I saw, experienced and heard.
I quickly dumped my phone and wallet in a ziplock bag, which I proceeded to dump in my satchel. I hastily grabbed my cycle keys, slipped on my shoes and left the house.
As I started moving, I realised that the rain didn’t feel like water, but shrapnel breaking against my skin and stinging whatever it touched.
The visibility was at a bare minimum, but that didn’t hold me back. Rather, it motivated me even more. The water level was just about reaching my ankles, and didn’t prove to be much of a challenge. The streets were empty due to the fear of a looming cyclone.
The only other travellers were people returning from work, who were unlucky enough to get caught in this watery hell, idiots such as myself, and the people going for Ganpati visarjan.
I was able to push through pretty easily, and reached the end of the easy stretch. I stopped at a signal, dripping wet and ready to move. I looked at the rickshaw driver on my left, who was looking at me as though I was crazy.
To be fair to him, I was heading in the direction I shouldn’t. As the signal turned green, I passed a quick grin in his direction, only to get the following response:
Dheere se chalna, surakshit rehna. (Drive slow and stay safe.)
As I proceeded, the water got deeper and deeper, gradually slowing me down, but I pushed forward nonetheless.
I eventually found myself moving through water that was up halfway to my knees (I’m 5″11, so let that sink in.)
I observed the number of cars that were pushing against these waters, creating waves that can put a small beach to shame. It was then that I dismounted my cycle and observed the seemingly endless sea of cars in front of me; I took a deep sigh before I proceeded.
(The writer is a Mumbaikar who lives in Andheri. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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