Don't wave aside the high tide warnings

The high tide hi-jinx has begun now that the monsoon has hit Mumbai. The weekend saw a familiar sight. People were cavorting at the Marine Drive and Seaface, taking advantage of high waves. It was a time for revelry; when they could let their hair down. There were few onlookers who did not smile at these youngsters throwing their worries to the strong monsoon winds and laughing as the waves smashed against the parapet, rising high in a show of defiance and crashing back down, drenching people near the walls. This is surely one of Mumbai’s Kodak moments, with photographers poised near the sea to capture the joyful moments.

A word of caution, however, to the city’s youngsters, who could lose sight of possible dangers while being carried away by the moment. Last year, a young man lost his life after he was swept away by the waves at Marine Drive during high tide.

The civic authorities often warn people not to stray too close to the sea, or frolic on parapets, as this can be very dangerous. The parapet may already be slick with water, making it particularly precarious. Caught in the moment, it is easy to lose perspective and slip into the water. People also do not realise the power of these waves. The sheer force of the water can wash away people even if they are just sitting on the parapet. There are also police patrols on beaches and these promenades. Yet, it is unto the people to ensure that they tread on the side of caution, because warnings can come on social media or print, and the police may patrol the area but won’t be able to cover the entire stretch, so the onus is on people to be careful and not go overboard when high tide hits.

Despite warnings, people also descend onto tetrapods and rocks to enjoy the sea breeze and the waves. They are often held back by the men in uniform but find a way to steal past them as well. Here, the danger of being washed away is even greater. This kind of inane behaviour needs to stop. Enjoy the season but certainly, restraint is key.

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