Friday, 24 July 2009

Rains in Mumbai........

The only way to enjoy rain is to watch it from a safe distance and this is what I plan to do during this monsoon season. I don’t have to actually go out on the roads to experience it. I feel the droplets of waters sprinkling on my face while I work on my computer, closer to my open balcony. I enjoy the sound of heavy rainfall and the cool breeze that follows.

But believe it or not, rain had been playing funny games this year. When it is predicted that it will rain, all the poets are out there, closer to a window, watching the thick pregnant clouds and working on their verse, and poof! Sun comes out to greet them! There is no rain and therefore no muse nor any verse.

On 20th May I had post this information on my blog

“24 July 2009 Friday 2:03 PM 5.05
25 July 2009 Saturday 2:43 PM 4.94

BMC has already planned to keep the schools closed on 24 July 2009 since the tide level is record high of last 100 years on this day.

Mumbaites are, therefore, requested to cooperate with the administration by restricting their movements and certainly not to take their vehicles out on the roads these days.

There are speculations about very high waves on 22 July 2009 due to solar eclipse. Public should, therefore, keep away from the beaches that day.

Also, please advise your friends and relatives outside Mumbai not to plan a trip to Mumbai around these days.”

But what actually happened was that only some schools were closed, and it didn’t rain like it was supposed to.

The waves measuring 4.85 & 5.1 meters lashed Mumbai due to solar eclipse but that did not deter people from going to the beaches..

People were naturally excited as they normally are, they all thronged to sea-shores to experience first hand knowledge so that they could brag about it later saying “Maine to apne aakh se dekha…kya jakas wave tha ree, itanaaa uparich, majaa aa

While people enjoyed on the concrete promenades to witness the angry seas,

Shanties at Mahim fort shattered after 5.1 meters high waves hit the shores.

And after the storm is calm but in Mumbai after storm is a huge garbage…and muddy waters…..

Img source:

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Hillary in my city of Mumbai…..

Her flight was delayed by one hour and she arrived in a bad weather. It was raining heavily and whole area was cordoned off keeping the media out of range. There was carnage of 25 cars that passed through Bandra-Worli sea link and of course, our Mumbai streets had lot of pot holes to give her a bumpy ride which lasted for one hour.

She chose to stay at Taj, saying that she was staying there to “send a message of solidarity and as a rebuke to the terrorists who did not destroy the spirit of the people’’. She began her day by paying homage to the 170-plus people killed and those wounded when terrorist attacked several landmarks in Mumbai last year.

She had breakfast with elite industrialist of Mumbai and later during press conference she spoke about her discussions. She said, “We see the dialogue that we are going to be embarking on with India to be extremely important. It will have the pillars- strategic cooperation, agriculture, education, health care, science and technology. There is great willingness and it is not just the Indian government, it is also the Indian private sector, NGOs and others who want to work with us.”

After lunch, Clinton renewed her association with the artisans of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) where she spent Rs20, 000 buying gifts for her family.

Later, during mid-day, spent an hour with Hindi film star actor Amir Khan at St. Xavier;s College, discussing an issue closer to her heart. Education, she stressed, was an issue “dear and near to my heart’’. “I believe every child can learn. I think that talent is distributed universally, but opportunity is limited. And that is true in every country to a lesser or greater degree...It is up to us, families, governments, businesses, educational institutions to narrow the gap. Education remains the great equalizer and the gateway to opportunity.’’

Unfortunately, I was not able to meet her personally, couldn’t find any reasons to gate-crash into her private space, but my LCD in my living room arranged one-way appointment with the lady whom I admire a lot……

Travelling in Aish-tyle in Mumbai City…..

Twice a month, I travel two hours to reach my school at Belapur. I normally take an auto to the bus station and then big red BEST bus and another auto again. The four hours bus journey (return trip) drains me out, since it is the route that passes through polluted areas of Dharavi and Chembur. At the end of my trip, my eyes are burning, hair is mess and mouth is parched.

I had often wished there were more comfortable ways to travel but train is equally inconvenient and taxi/car is too expensive. But my ‘Big Boss’ is very kind to me and He surprised me yesterday by introducing AC bus service.

50 new AC buses have been introduced in Mumbai city. The object of this service is to discourage people from travelling by car and help in reducing traffic congestion on roads. I was highly pleased with this service. The plastic on the seat had not yet been taken off. There were two levels in the bus; the lower level had some 15 seats and 20 seat on upper level. What I liked the most was these large glass windows, which gives a good panoramic view of the Mumbai roads, without upsetting your hair and eyes and also your nostrils. You see the shit and garbage on the road, but thank God, you don’t have to inhale it.

The trip was quite comfortable, with local radio station playing those Indian music, the AC was high (must remember to carry shawl next time) and the driver had mike (why would he need one?) one small LCD on his dash board (that shows him the traffic on his right side) and cameras at the rear and front (are they expecting crime in the bus?) one digital clock (was not working), one digital sign board announcing the next bus stop (also not working)

What were missing were the passengers. Throughout my trip, there must have been not more than ten people in the bus. At every stop, the driver and the conductor were peddling for customers, informing them about the destination stops and the charge of the ticket. The charge is not too high; it is just three times the price of non-AC bus, but this bus travels through the route that has a different demography. The people who wait at these bus stops on this route are careful spenders. They are the kind of people who never take an auto for a short distance if they can walk; will ask the price of tomatoes from ten stalls before buying a quarter kilo of it, will send their children to those schools that don’t accept donations. When the bus stopped at these stops, some people entered the bus, asked the price of the ticket and alighted back on the road, to look for their red BEST bus. Most of the people who were in this bus were either senior citizens or very young students.

This Bus service is new and not many people know about it. The comfort is same like in our own private transport; you can hear the music or read a book or simply enjoy the Mumbai scene without any tension, even the beggars or hawkers at signals don’t bother you. I am sure, when car owners learn about it; they will prefer this service and help in reducing traffic congestion on Mumbai roads.

By the time…I am loving it…….

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

When it Rains in Mumbai, it Rains with Sincerity....

All summer we waited for rains, and were wondering whether it would really shower this year, the clouds would play mean tricks everyday, just when we would smile at pregnant clouds, it would melt away......even the cuckoo were asked to stop singing their false alarm and all of June we waited and waited, Finally.....

It rained...and the city is paralysed once again....but nobody is complaining, because when it rains in Mumbai, it rains and Mumbaikars are used to discomfort, year after year......there will always be flooding in low-lying areas, the trains and buses will always run through rivers of stagnant waters and roads will always break open to show their shiny teeth......

and we will continue to be walking casualty....

we have learnt to survive......

Monday, 6 July 2009

Finally, I test drive through this Sea-Link

Everybody was taking the advantage of travelling by sea-link which was declared as a free passage for first five days. My brother-in-law called me on Sunday morning and invited me to join him for a trip through this sea-link. I was excited of course. I had been waiting for this offer. I had watched this bridge from a distance for nearly nine years, many times clicking pictures across the waters from Bandra-Mahim road link and this time I would actually go through the bridge! Finally!

We started off at 12 noon, the weather was cloudy and there were thousands of cars with the same mission of driving through this bridge.

And it was quite a good experience, it reminded me of the trip in New York, some years ago. I had traversed the bridge in New York many times before but the feeling that I got in Mumbai was very much different.

In my own city of Mumbai, I enjoyed this trip much more than in New York, especially that strip under those tight wires, where it was like going through the tunnel of long wide wires.

I was expecting to see eight lanes on this bridge, but there were only four lanes, the other four were still under construction (how much more money will it cost to complete that bridge? ). Anyways, I enjoyed the scene around it, with the waves splashing against shores reflecting the dark clouds and the high rise building across the waters. We also passed through the fishing village of Mahim and Shivaji park and reached Worli in fifteen minutes, Though there was traffic jam at the bridge, we were thankful that there were no signals and it was a smooth drive all the way through the bridge.

Later that evening, after 12pm, I made this trip again, on my return from South Mumbai. The scene was completely different. There were many people, who had parked their cars under those iron suspensions and were actually clicking pictures with their family against the back drop of the wired tunnel. But there was lesser traffic, and the toll was already been charged.

I think Rs50 is quite reasonable, considering the amount of time and the fuel that we will save by travelling through this bridge.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

One More Tourist Spot in Mumbai

Bandra Worli sea-link will deliver an amazing view of Mumbai during the seven minutes of drive through the bridge (that took almost nine years to complete and costed Rs 1634 crores) Wow!!!

Many people came out on the streets to welcome Sonia Gandhi for the inauguration of the event

Streets were filled with countless banners all over the city screaming the announcement of her visit to Mumbai.

There were traffic jams everywhere and many just waited on the streets braving the sun....

At 5pm NCP chair person Sonia Gandhi arrived, saw the model of the sea link

swiped a toll card before riding down the sea-link

and the convoy of vehicles rides down the sea link but not in straight line..huh? cutting lane??? Maybe they do not know the rules.....

Dos & Don’ts

No over-speeding, No honking, No walking, No halting anywhere along the route, No two-wheelers (motorbikes, No three-wheelers (auto-rickshaws, tempos), Stick to own lane, 50 kmph speed limit till monsoon ends, BEST buses allowed

For first five days the ride is free to the public and I am told that there is traffic jam for this freebees.....

But they plan to charge Rs50 per ride and how will the common man travel?..they are planning to introduce the open deck,double-decker bus which will just charge Rs20 per ride...not bad! for an evening ride in that open deck..the ride will be perfect to go click! click!...wot say????

The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),

.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.

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