Now that Mumbai has seen its pre-monsoon showers and we are racing towards mid-June, the question is: when will the monsoon hit Mumbai? Though the monsoon will bring relief from the searing summer, it is also Mumbai’s most challenging season, if one could call it that.
It is a time of floods, water logging at certain perennial low-lying spots in the city and the problems of commuters are compounded manifold during these months. It is understandable that Mumbaikars are cynical about the authorities’ claims that they are ready for the monsoon, but it is also upto us to exercise wisdom and caution in this season.
Mumbaikars must make their vehicles rain-ready. Good tyres, brakes in good condition and wipers working smoothly are imperative during the season. Check-ups are a must if not already done, so that cars are ready to tackle slick roads, pouring rains and heavy traffic as it pelts down. Drivers need to negotiate with extra caution and traffic discipline must be absolute. Rash driving and speeding are recipes for disaster at any time, but never more so than in the monsoon.
Commuters need to exercise restraint and not create panic in case there are problems with trains. Spreading rumours, advising others to jump off on the tracks if the train has halted mid-way and generally creating chaos can turn tragically fatal. While the railways, of course, must get their announcement systems in order, commuters too must have patience instead of jumping to all kinds of conclusions. These misunderstandings have often resulted in huge tragedies.
Bus commuters must ensure at least a modicum of discipline at bus stops and shelters. If a bus is too crowded, let it go. Balancing precariously on the edge is especially hazardous when handles and surfaces may be slick with rainwater. Similarly for pedestrians, especially those who have a tendency to dash across the road, take into account that a vehicle may slip or not be able to stop sharply on slippery roads.
The rains are a fun but trying time, and these are just some areas where Mumbaikars need to watch out.