I live in a housing society, in a massively low-lying area of Mumbai. So when the BMC announced this year, ‘We are not prepared for this monsoon’, all of us 103 tenants felt a collective spinal tremor.
Last weekend, with a mere 20 minute downpour, we were flooded out.
A mini river Ganges had formed, rendering us an island, separating us from the rest of mankind. Phone lines were dead, supplies were
For example, the Gomes (Flat 22) couldn’t get to church and the Solankis (Flat 39) were denied their daily supply of theplas and dhoklas. Everyone was truly inconvenienced.
Our building society met to decide on a plan of action, after all, some desperate rescue measures were urgently required.
All you Bombay ‘nivasis’ are aware, building society meetings begin with a Badrinath-like calm, but soon descend into a Baghdad-torn riot. Domestic discussions on partition walls give way to blame for the Partition of India). Shivesh Shivdasani (Flat 67) screamed, “There is bloody leakage in my flat. We should have never have allowed Muslims to buy apartments.”
Hasan Bandookwala (flat 77) replied, “Hey, hey you Sindhi shark, thank your lucky stars it is only water coming in, not the Lashkar-e-Taiba.”
“Hey men, Shivesh and Hasan, don’t fight like fisherwomen, your blinking fathers were rummy buddies,” Carol Gomes, (treasurer), born in the BC period, barked soothingly. Friendly neighbourly banter morphed into flood relief solutions.
Shantilal Karsanbhai Shah (owner of the entire 15th floor) said, “I will ask Mukeshbhai and Anilbhai to send two helicopters. Then I can air lift all the Gujaratis from the building. Su kech, Kokilaben?”
His wife nodded, her triple chin trembling with undernourishment.
Meherban Cawas Irani (flat 33) — “Hey Rambo bossy, you are selfish gentleman, thinking only of your own damn community. Typical, oh khodai.”
Shantilal says, “Hey Bawa, Ratan Tata ne poocchho ni, to send you some trucks with supplies, then Rahulbaba and his mummy can wave them off.”
Meherban says, “Hey hey, Gujjubhai, I am not Parsi, samjhe, I am Irani.”
Suhas Doiphode (flat 11) had a lateral idea, amidst the chaos.
“I think we should rename our building. ‘Sea Princess’ is too angrezi. How about ‘Vishwasrao Balerao Yeswantrao Kutir’?” he suggested.
Meherban responded, “There’s a river outside and you're thinking of damn name changes.”
Doiphode, unlike the rainfall, continued unabated. “Also I am of the opinion that we should build a large statue of our leader in the middle of building compound. Accha dikhega, so when flood like this happens, the statue will look like it is coming out from the middle of the Arabian sea.”
Commander Satwinder Singh (Retd), alias Bunty, (flat 81), was quiet upto this point. Finally he bellowed, with a voice that could be heard in Kargil.
“All you idiotic civilians, and wannabe politicians, please be quiet, with all your hare brained schemes. I have made one phone call. Help will be here an hour.”
“Who can make it here so fast and efficiently?” 102 tenants enquired, sceptically.
“The army,” Bunty said, standing to attention.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.