Friday, September 09, 2005


Phew !!! That was close…well almost…. It’s something I can boast about in front of my grandchildren. Yupp, I survived the Mumbai floods TWICE…!!! Twice ??? did I just say twice ??? Well, just a little secret…but the second time wasn’t really a flood. Today, while we had just enjoyed another bull fight (our debate competitions) in college, it started pouring outside. We all presumed it was normal rain and would subside in half an hour or so. In the middle of teaching accounts to three of my friends, we all suddenly realized that it was the beginning of another nightmare…well almost.

The water level outside our college in Matunga (near DP’s) had reached my knee. It was a familiar feeling, especially after 26/7. It rained for about 2.5 hours non-stop…And while Shruti was in a state of controlled panic, Anuj had major concerns about his car. Finally after 3 whole hours, 7 of us squeezed ourselves into Anuj’s car. And although King’s Circle was highly flooded, yet we took another route and managed to avoid all that chaos. I reached home at 6:30, thanks to Preeti’s home and my dad’s car. Phew !!! That was close. Why is it that no other area got flooded ??? How come in a matter of hours, we were all half under water ???

Well, after the 26/7 floods, the whole of Mumbai is on high alert. Even the slightest rainfall now gives us goose bumps. Even now I stand by what I had said earlier. The rains weren’t exactly the problem. It’s our poor drainage system and the lack of proper waste management.
What exactly is Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh trying to prove by enforcing a complete ban on plastics ?? Does he want to wipe out several industries who rely heavily on plastics as a raw material ??? Or does he want to provide a major setback for the packaging industry ?? Or does he just want to prove (very unsuccessfully though) that he is an aware, responsible CM who understands fully why the 26/7 disaster occurred ???

In a recent letter addressed to the CM, even the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and various plastic manufacturer associations stated that only 1% of the municipal solid waste in Mumbai is plastic. The reason why all our drains are clogged is actually due the remaining 99% of unmanaged garbage created by the indifference of some nonchalant Mumbaikars. Nobody really cares while throwing out an empty packet of chips from the train window. Probably that’s the reason why the train services were the first ones to collapse.

All I’m saying is, India still doesn’t have a concrete waste management policy enforceable by law. Once we have that in place and with efficient implementation, disasters like 26/7 can be avoided. And this is a message that goes out to all Mumbaikars…. STOP littering like the whole of Mumbai is a dustbin. It will come around and bite you in the back. If I ever see anyone in a train throw out a wrapper from the window, don’t blame me for my actions. It’s because of your indifference that several Mumbaikars like me had to undergo that nightmarish experience of 26/7.

Several astrologers have predicted that Mumbai is yet to see 2 more major disasters in 2005 and this time due to “Fire”. What are you planning to ban now Mr. Chief Minister ???? Matchsticks ???

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