'Teenagers pushed my car to safety for Rs 200'
As I was driving from Sion towards Lalbaug to reach office, I saw endless traffic on the Matunga Flyover. After realising that it wasn't budging even an inch, I opted for an alternative and like many other motorists decided to drive from under the bridge.
It was an ill-thought-out move. In seconds, I was stuck in flood, with no space to take a U-turn. For the next 10 minutes, my car was immersed in knee-deep water. After struggling in traffic for half an hour, I reached the King’s Circle junction, where I spotted a group of 20 boys, mostly teenagers, offering to push vehicles out of the waterlogged area.
I was touched by their gesture, but before I could praise the city for its spirit, the youngsters quoted their price. With no other option, I had to take their help. After they pushed my car to a safe spot, I was poorer by Rs 200, having handed over damp Rs 50 notes to each of the four boys in exchange for their ‘help’. - Bhupen Patel Editor, Investigations
'A cockroach accompanied me in a cab full of stinky water'
My odyssey to office began with a broken umbrella and a generous splashing from a passing vehicle the second I stepped out. The word ‘Parel’ seemed to inspire terror in the hearts of cabbies, who rolled up their windows with fear in their eyes as soon as I mentioned my destination.
I took the plunge, and waded through calf-deep water to the main road. I was expecting a sea, but was met with an ocean. I stood listlessly at the bus stop, hoping that a 67 would appear magically but knowing that it wouldn’t. BEST isn’t always the best option.
I spotted an empty cab and made a dash for it. For reasons unknown, the driver agreed to give me a ride, and I wasn’t going to ask why. I rejoiced too soon: the base of the King’s Circle flyover lay ahead, its waist deep water swirling menacingly. I spotted many taxis and cars that had been claimed by the floods, stranded in the treacherous waters. A helpful bystander hollered to my driver, “Agey mat jao, bohut paani hai. Passenger ko idhar utar do.” I silently cursed him.
Young boys were cashing in on the floods, convincing anxious drivers to allow them to push their vehicles through the stretch, and save their engines. A youth said he would tide us over for Rs 100: the driver agreed to pay 30. The pushing began.
The next 15 minutes were pure, unadulterated terror. As the car moved deeper into the floods, my driver decided to step out and start pushing as well. Wrong move. The floodgates parted as soon as he opened the door, and water started gushing inside. In a matter of seconds, I was sitting in knee-deep water, clutching my phone.
An abnormally large cockroach that calls the floor of the cab its home emerged and started climbing up the back of the front seat. After a few perilous slips, it found a perch, holding on for dear life. We sat in shocked, helpless silence, roach and sub-editor.
After what seemed like an eternity, we reached the other side. Our drenched help haggled for more money, and before I could recover from the event and hunt for my wallet, he was gone, in search of more helpless drivers. A left turn beckoned, promising to take us to the ‘highlands’ of Sewri, and then to the dreaded Parel. - Yashodhara Ghosh Senior Sub Editor