Sitting by the shore, pulling each others legs, eating peanuts, under colorful umbrella's under small soft drizzles.
Little, did the kids know that in a few hours they might be going through an experience of their lifetime..
It was July 26th of 2005, when all of Mumbai went standstill, due to the wrath of Mother Nature.
I was one of those 4 kids..
We felt kind of a eerie feeling, when the sea started lashing violently against the rocks.. We got up and took a bus, that bus got stranded right after 10 minutes, after a while we realized sitting here is not going to help,
we got down the bus in knee deep water and saw so many people on the streets in pouring rain walking along.
We too decided to follow the crowd holding hands, trying not to trip over anyone or anything. Trying to figure out where is the road, and where is the gutter. Listening, to people warning us about manholes.
Slowly, the night started to creep in. Except for one cellphone, all 3 phones went dead. The networks were jammed. Luckily at one point we got a signal and shot out an sms to all our parents informing them of our safety.
We were walking...and walking and walking amongst hundreds of people along. Everyone helping everyone. There were no lights on the streets, we had no idea where we had reached by then. The water was now till out throats (given my short stature: 5'5"). The taxis submerged in water. Garbage bin overflowing. Walking by the edges of flyovers, trying to climb up poles that we wouldn't dare to go on any normal day. Dead dogs floating.Everyone drenched from head to toe, in and out, clothes sticking to our bodies.
Still we had strangers helping strangers without any vested motive.
By now, we knew it was late in the night, our legs were almost giving up on us. It was a zombified state. Walking for hours without food or water to drink. That's when people with us actually held our hands and motivated us to walk.
There was a point where, some good Samaritans were giving out free vada-pavs, though they were wet, at that point it was nothing less than a divine blessing. That time, it really felt of how people might be feeling without long hours of food, the reason why starvation makes people commit crime.
Walking along to eternity, the day broke...we knew we were walking all night..and we knew now we were somewhere near our houses.
We heard that the place that we had to cross to reach home, the water force was so bad that many people were pulled in and vanished, but now all we knew was we had to reach home into our parents arms.
The moment we reached there, we saw a human chain made. Everyone helped everyone to reach home.
When we reached home..it was such a feeling of pride..something unexplainable..something overwhelming..
Our one and a half day walk of life
That's the moment I fell in love with my city - Mumbai
People could have looted us, raped us, taken advantage of us..but no....we were helped to safety...
I wanna thank every person in Mumbai to still give me a kind of nostalgic memory of a day when Mumbai submerged not only into the water but also into the love and kindness that this city gave us..
It gives a nostalgic feeling writing this even after 8 years.
Image Courtesy: www.indianexpress.com