June 5, 2013

Monsoon Memories- Flood in the House

Posted by maithili at 4:35 PM

              Monsoon Memories of a Mumbaikar who was alive on 26th July 2005

              That fateful day! How can I ever forget that? That day when my city rose above itself and proved to break its own image of being "too fast to care". Unlike the thousands of people left stranded on railway platforms, offices and the hundreds who were trapped in rising water levels and a few who were battling for their lives, I was at home. Yes, I was in the safe comfort of my home until the rains took away that security. 
              That morning was calm and tricked everyone into believing that it would not rain at all. By afternoon  there was some drizzling as I finished school. The 8th std classes were from 7.30 to 12.30. I met my brother (who was in Std 2 ) on the stairs. He told me my mom was home as aunty was ill. Aunty used to look after my brother when Mom was in office. He went to his class which were to begin shortly. 
              We were having our lunch when Mom remarked, "It is raining and the neighboring aunty has already started washing her terrace!" We laughed at that. We used to live in row houses and some of the houses had raised another floor on the existing ground floor. So their houses were naturally one level above our roof and when they washed their terrace, the water fell on our roof and glided down. We had two houses in that row and merged it by opening a door through the connecting wall. Our house was larger than others but was lower than our immediate neighbors. 
              It was about 1.30 in the afternoon and the neighbor still hadn't stopped. We went out to see and were shocked to know that it was the large droplets of rain that made such streams through our roof. Our poor neighbor was not doing anything! 
              The rains knew no stopping. Soon the water in the courtyard was rising and entering into the lower houses. We quickly got ready to fetch my little bro from school. As we stepped into the street, the sight was frightening. The water was knee deep. We feared if any man holes were opened. Me and Mom walked carefully to the school and Mom held him. I carried his bag over my head! My Mom was holding my brother and his feet was dangling in the water! On our way back the water had risen to my waist. 
             When we were home, my brother showed signs of fever. Looking at the conditions outside, Mom thought it would be better if we brought medicines right away. Braving the water levels, she walked all the way to the doctor living in the same street and got some medicines. She had a good foresight because she quickly packed all food items and food grains and put them up on the space between the upper ceiling and the lower which was provided as extra space. Then she shifted all the clothes from lower racks of the cupboard and stuffed them into upper racks. After all the important stuff lying on the floor was shifted, the three of us huddled on the bed. My father had called and we were relieved to know that he was staying put in office that day. On his part he was tension free that Mom was with us and we weren't alone like we always are! 
            Panic and tension gripped the neighborhood with each increasing hour. Some houses had members trapped somewhere, some had their daughters out on the street, some had their sons stuck in trains which wouldn't move due to water on tracks.. The rains kept lashing fury. The water had started entering our houses. Since the land was once creek, the water started springing from the tiles too. Nature was avenging.
           The phone networks were clogged, the landline disconnected, electricity cut off. The three of us were confined to the bed in pitch dark. We kept just one candle burning, fearing that we may run out of candles if they accidently dropped into the water. It was frightening. We worried if the levels will rise above our bed. It was just a few inches from our bed :O We kept praying for safety. We prayed that the rains stopped. 
           We sat snugly and curled around each other. We stepped out of bed only if it was absolutely unavoidable. Outside, the neighbors were trying to scourge whatever they could from the waters. It was the sheer sense of my mother which saved us that ordeal. We kept the doors open because it was no use keeping it closed. Atleast we could run in case water rose more. We saw our footwears going out, our plastic bat and balls afloat, somebody's hairclip entering our home, somebody's doll floating through the stream. It was as if we had put our bed in a river bed. It was the scariest dark night. 
           Past midnight someone started ringing the temple bells loudly. In the the silence of that night, we could feel the anguish of the person who was maybe desperate to know about his loved ones. The whole society was chanting prayers. Slowly the rains took mercy and the water started receding. 
           As all services were hit, only some dairies had milk the next morning. I ventured into the streets and the water was still knee deep. The shops were badly damaged, the people walking home tired, the trees fallen on the roads and many people still waiting at their doors for their family members. Later in the day the TV, electricity and phone connections were resumed and it was only then we got to know about the devastating effects of the rains.. Deluge! It was the the first time I learnt that word..
          For 2 months after that day, we used newspapers to sit on the floor of our own house. We still couldn't get over the fact that water and what not had flooded the same place. Some of our wooden furnitures had to be thrown as they were wet beyond repair. Our sleeping mattresses were done away with. We were lucky that Mom was home and managed everything well. If she hadn't been at home, we would have been scared to bits and the damage to property could have been much more. It was nothing but our luck! 


Sunitha on June 8, 2013 at 6:43 PM said...

wow .. That must have been scary... sitting on a bed with water all around...

DEE DEE on June 10, 2013 at 12:27 PM said...

Good that your mom was with you two kids else kids, n parents both would have panicked...and man...a floating house is something i couldnt even imagine.

Many places in Kurla and all....full house was destroyed from the inside, including the valuables..

Wrath of Mother Nature

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