The Night the City went Under Water

Now that I think of it, it was a terrible night for many. The night Mumbai went under water. But not for a 13 year old! I can’t be sure if I was ignorant or was just too much at peace.

Post recess, I never could concentrate on any lecture whatsoever. So, at 11 am when the class teacher went on with her theorems, I almost dozed off. I opened my eyes to see her stand right at my face. She was rather an interesting character. I think all her life, she taught Math, she still does. In a small town in Navi Mumbai, she was quite famous for her skills and almost every parent wanted their child to train under her. I still have that sarcastic face pressed in my memory, when she asked me if I am done with my dreaming. God, she had this peculiar style of pinching under the arm where it hurt the most. All of us had got pinched more than 5 times in our school life by her. I stood at the last bench with my book, writing the theorems 30 times, what life!

It was raining quite unusual, the drops were thick and the crashing sound of water against my classroom window almost made me deaf. I couldn’t wait for this awful day to end. The last lecture thankfully was a proxy. Our drawing teacher took it and he almost had no say anyway, so all of us started doing whatever pleased us. Few girls started doing their homework, the boys played pen fight, few others talked and I went to the last bench to plot someone’s murder. I was a little barbaric then you can say, especially being a girl. I wrote poetries and at the same time I punched people in their face.

The last bell rang and soon after prayer, I ran towards my school bus. It was raining and I of course had no umbrella or a raincoat. I was a special kind of lazy, I never carried umbrellas, wore sweaters or anything that needed extra effort. Both my parents were working and they mostly trusted me with my own decisions which I clearly wasn’t too good at. The bus driver took a long time to move, so we played paper planes in the bus. Few kids stepped out of the bus to enjoy rains and others sang. Finally the bus moved and dropped me at my stop. My building was at a little distance from the stop so I rushed splashing water on my skirt and legs from the little dirty puddles that had formed by now while the heavy drops of rain hit my head hard.

I opened the door and rushed to dry my hair in my room. Afternoons, I used to be home alone. I ate a lot of rice and went to sleep on my sofa while watching TV. I woke up with a heavy thud on my door and found my brother drenched and hurling abuses at me. He is 5 years elder to me and that time was a college going boy. Both of us later sat and discussed the weather and soon mother joined us too. She said they were asked to leave early from work as the city seems to be on red alert. The day looked like night and the night looked like hell at that particular time. The winds were swift and the rains just didn’t seem to stop. Around 6:30 in the evening, brother and I felt like having sandwiches and we called the nearby snack shop to deliver. But the manager said they can’t send anybody, for the city is almost flooding. This remark made my mother alert and she started looking for ways to contact father. Apparently, the electricity was cut off by now and the phone lines weren’t clear. Few hours later, father phoned us and told he is safe and will return once the water is completely drained off. We were at peace.

But there was nothing to eat at home. The winds were so swift; we couldn’t light the gas to prepare food. The kitchen window was broken and there was no way to completely shut it. So we brought the gas and the cylinder to the drawing room and under the candlelight, mother prepared the most amazing Khichadi. She fried some papads and completed the meal by serving lime pickle. We spoke so much that night and ate so much, that I couldn’t even imagine what was happening outside this warm abode. Brother and I hugged mother from either side and slept in her arms calmly, undisturbed by the disorder nature fling at the rest of the city.

We woke up to see everything around us under water from our balcony. We lived on the third floor and we could see all the roads had vanished and there were only streams to be seen till far away. I went to the terrace with few kids from the building and we discussed about cool ways to spend the week as school will be shut. That evening dad came back, tired and hungry. We dried him off and fed him. Later that night, all of us sat in the balcony sipping warm milk under the moonlight as father told us stories of disaster and chaos.

Image source: Rain Art| 


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