Mumbai Marooned (July 26-27, 2005)

Mumbai Flash Flood 2005 July 26-27
The Mumbai (Bombay) Flood of July 26, 2005.

We were still in our office, finishing off our task for that day (July 26) and were about to upload the last files to the client’s FTP. At that moment, the main internet connection went off, then we shifted to the backups which went off too one after the other. The rain had been slashing Mumbai since early morning but we never expected that it will set a record of even breaking Cheerapunji’s (rainiest place in the world).

We were indeed eluded by our cosy office, we were unaware of what was happening outside. Offices had stop working, people were heading for their homes at around 4:00 pm in the evening, walking all the way. The local train (life-line of Mumbai) had already stop mid-way. Our mobile phones were already dead by then, the landlines followed suit. We had no option but to switch to play CounterStrike, but the pleasure was short-lived as the power supply went away. Our realization of the grim sitaution was late; then we frantically tried to get ourselves dinner. Around 10:00 pm, we got some oddly cooked beans and roti from the upper-floor canteen. Later, we grouped up to discuss about projects, the sitaution outside, the BMC which we loved to blame for all the non-working drainage system, blocked sewages.

Two of our team went out to the main-road and to their horror found that the road was already about 4-5 feet deep in water. I went out too to see the situation and saw that buses were stranded with passengers inside with no option to move out on the already flooded road, cars stashed bumper to bumper, some were on top of others. The scene on the road was like that of the War of the Worlds and the tales of people coming home sounded pretty much like that of the Day after Tomorrow. A sad incident was our two membmer team (Ashok and Manu George) saw a man electrocuted to dead, just on the opposite side of the road which leads to the freeway/main lane from our office. All shops were closed. They returned to the office horrified and warn us never to leave office till the situation improves. We then made our beds in the office, some on the couch, some on the tables and I was in the server room.

The next morning greeted us with hot-tea but that was not warm enough to console us of the situation we are in. And the rain was off and on again. The decision we took was to get back home as soon as we can. Including me, we left our notebooks in the office. It was a bit hasty on my decision to take the shortcut to home instead of the much safer highway. I left office at around 11:00 am in the morning and reached home around 2:30 pm in the afternoon (normal time taken is 30 mins by a vehicle on that route). I waded through shoulder deep flooded road for almost 2 hours to reach home. In the un-invited adventure, the water clogging rendered my Mobile Phone, Sony Ericcson P910i, pocket digital Camera, Sony DSC-T7 and Jabra Bluetooth Headset useless, gone for good. Only my Citizen Eco-Drive wrist-watch lived up to tell the tale and the time.

Later on, the news was that over 500 public buses got piled up on the road, the number of other vehicles, cars were even more, over 95 cm of rainfall was the reason for all the havoc, more than 500 crore INR lost due to the rain on that day. The whole fiasco showed all human nature, some good, some bad and the undying spirit of Mumbai city. It was also learnt that the weatherman could not predict the impact of the water, the devastation even after 2 hrs of heavy downpour. The dead toll is said to be about 385 in the whole of Mumbai. Add to this tragedy was that of the Bombay High blast that killed 8 people.

Our Management/Development team at Oinam Software are all fine, none of our datas were lost, I have my notebook backup at 2 locations (office and home) and another versioning back-up at home. Thanks to all those who have mailed us, called us; We are all fine.

Few other Mumbai Flash Flood related news
* 18 killed in Mumbai flood stampede
* India flood death toll rises to almost 900
* India’s heaviest rains leave 786 dead
* Mumbai Inc yet to press restart button
* Mumbai rains flood B’lore BPOs
* Rs. 500 crores for Maharashtra

Update
37,000 AutoRickshaws (Motor Tricyles) will need repair
4,000 Cabs completed jammed while 10,000 defunct
2,500 Buses have problems due to marooning
10,000 Trucks, Lorries have similar problems