The monsoon is here, and Mumbaikars are gathering at Marine Drive, Worli Sea Face and Bandstand despite warnings to stay away because of the rough seas
A large crowd is seen at the promenade that leads to Marine Drive as people stand with the waves lashing against them. There are young people, families and even a few senior citizens sitting on the parapet along the sea face.
RUN A-WAVES: As a huge wave crashes into Worli Sea Face, bystanders run for cover. Pic/Atul Kamble
The rain and wind causes umbrellas to turn and fly away, but those out to enjoy the monsoon and waves are not bothered much. Besides, the waves hitting the shore, garbage from the sea was also being washed on the shore, but unmindful of that, people gathered by the sea.
CLICK CRASH: Women take pictures as the high tide lashes Bandra Bandstand. Pic/Rane Ashish
Magical Marine Drive
As the sky got cloudy the sea got rough with the monsoon making its way to Mumbai. Strong winds and rain added to the roughness of the sea, but crowds continued to swell at Marine Drive. Prachi Lal, 20, from Bhavan’s College, Chowpatty was among those chilling with friends by the sea.
UMBRELLA URGE: It’s getting windy at Marine Drive. Pic/Sameer Abedi
The Science student says, “Marine Drive looks awesome with the clouds in the sky and the approaching rain. When the waves hit the parapet, it is so much fun to get wet. Our group has come to enjoy the monsoon by the sea and spend some time enjoying the waves. Sitting here is bliss.”
WAVES DAZE: The high tide at Girgaum. Pic/Satyajit Desai
Manish Makhija, 21, her friend adds, “Sitting here with the waves crashing into our backs is really relaxing. We have our windcheaters and umbrellas which serve as a shield from the rains and the waves.”
Like them, Shruti Rao and her friends from Jai Hind College, Churchgate, chose to come to Marine Drive. Rao says, “We know the sea is rough and that a boy drowned recently when huge waves hit the shore, I am sure he was careless. We all know swimming and won’t drown easily. Seeing the waves rise and crash against the tetrapods and come on the road is amazing. We are all having a lot of fun, here.”
Better safe than sorry
The tetrapods at Marine Drive had many young people and canoodling couples out for fun in the rain as they sat there with umbrellas enjoying the pouring rain. A few youngsters were sitting with their legs dangling from the parapet while some were sitting on the tetrapods, too; not concerned about getting wet.
Jaiprakash Mhatre, a police officer who is on patrol at Marine Drive says, “Telling people not to venture near the tetrapods is of no use, people do whatever they want and come to fight with us. If someone slips and falls or is swept away we will be the ones who will be held responsible. Venturing out near the tetrapods during the monsoon with the sea rough and high tide more dangerous than usual is a huge peril. Despite, numerous warnings people do not pay any heed.”
Agreeing with Mhatre, Mohan Jadhav, a lifeguard who patrols the area says, “Last year during the monsoon, when a heavy wind was blowing, three boys were walking on the tetrapods and a huge wave came sweeping them away. All of them died. We tell people not to walk on the tetrapods and parapet but they do not listen, they ask us who we are to tell them.”
Somit Ingle, 18, a college student who was there with his friends says, “The waves crashing into our backs are like Splash in Essel World. There we have to pay R 500 plus for entry, but here the same fun is for free. The rains and waves are a great combination, so we love coming to Marine Drive after lectures.”
Fun at Bandstand
Youngsters and families throng Bandra Bandstand to enjoy the monsoon and waves. Neelkanth Amre, a corn seller at the promenade says, “Very often I have had to save people who go too close to the edge and get swept away by the waves. Most of us who do business here, know swimming and often save those who drown. We caution people but they don’t listen.”
Eric Joseph, a Bandra resident who was there with his wife and children, spending some quality family time, says, “I am a sea man and know that the monsoon is a really bad time to be near the sea as it is very rough and the waves violently wash the shores. But my family and I know swimming. At family games in our club recently, we won the relay swimming championship. For us going near the sea is like a duck in the pond.”
His wife Pamela agrees as she adds, “Many non-swimmers also come here and they are at a great risk of getting washed away. I think the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should put up a board during the monsoon which says, ‘Swimmers only can go near the sea face.’ This measure will help reduce the number of calamities. We know our family will never get drowned as we are all swimming aces. The waves lashing and getting wet here is a nice way for our family to relax and have fun.”
Please don't preach
With the seas getting rough and many cases of drowning during the monsoon, the BMC has appointed a team of lifeguards, police and fire brigade officials to man the coast. At Worli Sea Face, the team patrols the area telling youngsters that they should not go too close to the sea, but young people and families refuse to pay heed.
Shailesh Khanna, a fire brigade official patrolling Worli Sea Face says, “People just do not listen. From allowing children to walk along the slippery parapet to going too close to the sea; we try to stop people and get insulted as a result. There was this time when we stopped some children from going too close to the sea, their parents came and beat us up saying, ‘These are our children, we are responsible for them. Mind your own business, when we are here how dare you stop them from having fun.’ We go to do good; but people are so indisciplined that they refuse to accept reprimanding.”
Asha Nair, 27 who had come to Worli with a friend says, “Moral policing in India is a little too much. As a girl you can’t be seen with a boy, you can’t go near the sea, I understand that the sea is rough and dangerous, but it is my right to do what I want and no one can stop me.”
Expressing similar views, Gautam Khanna, 40 who was relaxing with friends during a break from work says, “The officials who patrol the area just love harassing couples and college youth. Yes, I agree that they need to do their jobs, but they should stop troublemakers, not those who peacefully enjoy themselves.”
Viewing the sea
The Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the sea is a spectacle for many in the monsoon. Grant Road resident Shardha Wagle, 70 who came with her family for an outing at Worli says, “The view is splendid during the rains. My husband and I always make it a point to bring our grand-children here as often as we can. We don’t let them go into the sea or near the waves, but with the monsoon on, the waves come to us. Yes, it is dangerous but we are vigilant at all times, so that a calamity doesn’t occur.”
For Tanay Shahji, 25 and his friends who came to Worli Sea Face all the way from Asangaon the chance to come on television has drawn them here. Shahji says, “The news channels always show Marine Drive and Worli Sea Face when it rains, so we came here as we want to be on TV and become famous. Where we live, there is no sea and so we cannot enjoy the rains and waves. The lashing waves against the shore and parapet as they drench us is a lovely feeling. On holidays we come here to enjoy ourselves.”
Against the tide
Bajirao Bhandore, a peanut seller at Worli Sea Face who claims to have saved more than 20 people from drowning there, says, “Couples and college students love walking on the rocks in the rain. With the sea rough and the waves violently lashing, very often they slip and fall. Many of them don’t know to swim but the current is usually very strong and it is difficult to wade through the tide. I have saved 20 people in the last few years from being swept away.”
Agreeing with Bhandore, Chetak Sampat, 69, a regular walker at the Worli Sea Face promenade says, “During the rains many people come equipped with umbrellas and raincoats to enjoy, but sadly they lack common sense. When the sea is rough, walking on the rocks is sheer dumbness but people say strange things like they’ll cling on to the rocks, jump as the strong waves come, etc. Nobody wants to listen.”
Each person should mind their own business according to Devdutta Das, 45, who says, “I bring my family often to Worli Sea Face to spend the evenings on rainy days. If we choose to walk on the rocks or near the edge with our children, it is our personal decision. Obviously, as parents we will not put our kids in any sort of danger. We don’t need others to tell us how we should live our lives.”
Narendra Nahu, a lifeguard at Worli ends, “We just do our jobs which is saving lives. Yes, prevention is better than cure. But telling people gets them irritated and starts a fight, so we just stand still, and do our jobs if and when the need arises.”