s the news reached to Mumbaikar by India Meteorological Department (IMD) about Nisarga as severe cyclonic storm confirming its landfall near the coastal town of Alibaug in Maharashtra on 3 June 2020. We all geared up, there were so many do and don’t messages. People were all ready with candles, switched off internet, charged mobile phones and above all maintain distance form windows they were watching the intensity of rain and winds that blowing. The cooperative societies, instructed people to move their cars for open parking, the things around huge trees were moved to safe zone. Cycles and bikes were chained. Cooking, cleaning, swabbing everything was done in early morning hours as it was told that the cyclone would reach Mumbai in noon. People in closed doors from few months were reaching each other through WhatsApp by rendering advice, solace and instructions. I mean we all were set to face the calamity the way it comes to us.
Around, 10 am as a media person, many news segments and videos and pictures started flowing through my inbox, to my surprise people were calm and composed. Even the government was very much ready for disaster management. There was faith in people that the CM is capable to handle the situations in Maharashtra. Many roads were blocked, such as sea link and some coastal lines. The shops and huts across sea line were equated well in advanced, boats were parked in reasonable distance. Fishermen were prevented to get in sea, beaches and ports were well guarded and the rescue team was deployed everywhere. For further safety Section 144 was Imposed in Mumbai; and lockdown relaxations was cancelled. People were asked to stay home and shops and markets were forced to keep closed.
There was pleasant rain after so much of heat bearing summer, this was Wednesday, a day of eating non vegetarian food or something lavish to the plate. People enjoyed their chai pakoda to mutton curry, but all that happened while waiting for the cyclone. Lives of Mumbaikar, do not shake much of any trauma because they have rare spirit to take everything and sustain and bounce back to life. People really have no time to bemoan or funk. The day somehow passed with actually nothing much as expected. The depression of sea has really missed depressing Mumbaikar. The storm is the second tropical cyclone of the 2020 North Indian Ocean cyclone season to hit the Indian subcontinent in a span of two weeks, after Cyclone Amphan, the first super cyclonic storm to occur in the Bay of Bengal in the 21st century, Nisarga is the first severe cyclonic storm since 1891 to impact Mumbai city, which is roughly 25 kms north of Alibaug. Thousands of people were evacuated in low lying areas of Maharajahs and Gujarat ahead of Cyclone.
There was already a rainfall prediction that on 1st June it would be heavy to very heavy rainfall likely over Lakshadweep, Kerala and coastal Karnataka. But Mumbai saw some drizzle here and there, the temperature of the city was on rise, day time it was all burning. On June 2nd by evening low to moderate rainfall was seen at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall. Mumbai was wet and cool. Today it was June 3rd, it was predicted about the extremely heavy rainfall and cyclone storm. Since morning the winds were blowing unusual and rain was usual as comparative to Mumbai monsoon, but not very depressed. Rather the rain got peace in people’s life. That cool breeze and that rain, was worth enjoying sitting inside four walls, something different to witness that the depressed news of COVID19, with this pouring people actually forgot their fear of Corona virus.
Mumbai witnessed rain showers whole day, and I couldn’t resist myself from enjoying the wonderful atmosphere. It was quite exciting to experience the rains and the fragrance of the soil. And I never miss a chance to enjoy this season, so the most of Mumbaikar. Natural calamities are unavoidable, but at some point, human needs solace. Too much attack on them becomes devastating, they were already feeling terrible, here the structure is mostly vertical and slums are over stuffed, the heat was taking their lives, somehow this wind has not bothered them much because it did not get much scope in their congested spaces. Meanwhile, Monsoon tantrums are not new to the city, so even that has not worried much. Now there is another prediction ahead and that is about 4th June’s very heavy rainfall in city, after witnessing floods in Mumbai during monsoon, even government is alert and people too know what they have to do to protect themselves. As I have already mentioned people in Mumbai are self-reliable and very much spirited to take up any challenge.
“Pudhe Chala – Chal Pudhe Rey” let the rains pour or storm strikes “Mumbai (Bombay) Nahi Rukne Wali”, attitude makes its people walk their path, this is a common scene in Mumbai during rains. Also, while traveling to work in rainy season, we are habitual of listening the notices of Mumbai local, the heart of Mumbai “Yaatri kripya dhyaan dijiye Churchgate jaane wali 8 bajkar 10-minute ki local aaj deri se chal rahi he… Yaatriyo se deri ke liye khed hai…” Such Deri (delays) and Raddhs (cancellations) are very common practices and that is almost way of life that Mumbaikar happily accepts. There are some special moments this Mumbai rain comes with, and that is Long-drive, Romance, Chai & Vada-Pav/ Kanda-Bhaji is staple of Mumbaikars. There are many political, pandemic and planned storms crossed Mumbai on several occasions, what remains concrete is the spirit of Mumbaikar.
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