When we arrived back from Jawhar trip on Sunday evening, little did we know about the crisis that we were going to face in the upcoming week. We, a group of office colleagues, reached Virar to experience slight drizzles around 6:00 PM. Four of them alighted at Virar and remaining of us headed towards Nallasopara and Vasai. What we saw in Nallasopara East was astonishing. Our Innova car gushed through knee deep water and managed to park down below the flyover. Two of us got down there and asked driver to drop our friend safely in Vasai. We hired an auto-rickshaw, which charged higher than usual, to reach our homes in Nallasopara West. This place seemed normal, with no water logging yet.
It was 9:30 PM, and we all were rejoicing the memories of our trip on Whatsapp group. It was then the intensity of rains increased and by the time I went for a sound sleep, it was raining heavily.
Next morning gave a knock, and I woke up to know that my colony was immersed in knee deep water. There was no electric supply since 4:00 AM and the local trains were running late. I gave a call to my colleague in Virar to understand the condition in office there. Those regions also experienced almost the same situation. IMD had warned about this and so, not taking any chance, I settled at home. Battery of my mobile phone drained in next few hours and I was disconnected from this world as such. Rains were pouring non-stop and honestly, we all were enjoying an unexpected break. I had my lunch and went to one of my friend’s house to recharge my mobile phone. However, I ended up charging only 10% as their inverter turned down by that time. It was 5:00 PM in the evening and I could see most of the vehicles sinking. My brother and I ran down to protect our scooty. Down there, at ground floor corridor of our building, were residing 4 to 5 dogs taking shelter. We could understand their situation and so let them be there. Residents were kind enough to provide them food. Moving towards the scooty, we managed to cover the silencer.
Now was the time for a small adventure. It was around 9:00 PM and my mom was talking with our neighbors. Suddenly, I heard one of them shouting ‘Undir(rat)’ and that was it. Everyone started rushing and the rat made its way into one of the flats. We tried to figure out that small creature but in vain. Others started keeping pieces of cardboards and writing pads in front of their doors as a preventive measure to restrict the rat. For sure, that rat had somehow managed to move out from the flat because we did not leave any corner of that flat unsearched. And yes, we were right. After our dinner, around 11:30 PM, the same rat was trying to enter another flat but we made sure he was kicked out. My dad left for his night duty at Virar Carshed. All dispersed thereafter. Entire night we could hear the dogs barking and howling. Worry was at its peak as rains were still knocking our grounds and water levels were rising.
Our fear turned into reality around 4:30 AM on Tuesday. We rose hearing the sound of people struggling to stop water entering their flats at ground floors of their buildings. It was then we came to know that water level had crossed the hip. The ground floor of our building was one level up than others in the colony, so water could not reach flats in ground floor of our building. It was difficult to manage the situation as it was completely dark outside and rains were splashing hard. By the time, it was 8:00 AM, other residents came down to help them. We helped them to shift their valuables at the very next floor. We went door-to-door providing help and made sure everyone was good. I got a call from dad informing that the trains between Vasai and Virar were not running so he had to continue his duty.
It was 11:00 AM and we all headed towards the gate to know what was happening in other areas. Walking through a hip full of water, I realized that people were enjoying the rains. They were swimming, dancing and playing volleyball. I wondered how could anyone have fun in this dirty water but it was like a public holiday where each and everyone were living their moment to the fullest. I can see people buying food and vegetables before-hand to use them for another two days. I can see a group of gents enjoying drinks inside a parked vehicle. We started getting news about vehicles getting parked on the flyovers, 4th road and other vacant areas. My neighbor suggested me to lift our vehicles into building corridor as water levels had crossed our hips now, the reason being dams were opened to prevent any big loss. It was 12:30 PM and we struggled to lift 3 scooties and one bike.
Many of us then made our way to terrace in search of network. My mobile phone was already dead but I joined them to get a view of other regions from the top. Dad again called us to convey the message that he and his team had to still continue the afternoon duty as there was no one to relive them.
2:00 PM and we realized the smell of petrol getting leaked. It was so strong that we rushed down from terrace to our ground floor only to find that another adventure was waiting for us. Petrol from my neighbor’s scooty was draining and everyone started searching for a pipe or tube to collect the petrol in the bottle. After wandering here and there, my mom found two small tubes in our home. We joined them using a cello-tape and removed the petrol. It was then my brother heard a flow of water somewhere around. It literally sounded like a mini-waterfall nearby. Finally, we came to know that the empty space below the lift was getting filled with water due to some hole that was left uncovered during lift maintenance. We had no choice but to wait for the entire thing to get filled and match the ground level as we knew water would not overflow thereafter(The Archimedes Principle).
It was 4:30 PM in the evening and each of us were exhausted about everything that was happening around. We were praying for rains to stop. Drizzles completely came to halt around 6:30 PM. Another trouble that hit us was the disgusting smell of dog’s shit somewhere on the first floor. I reside on second floor. We waited for next morning to jump upon that adventure. Again at night, I could hear dogs barking like anything.
My dad had somehow managed to reach home at 7:30 AM next morning(Wednesday), completing his four continuous duties(night, morning, inter and night). He said that trains might resume after 12 in the noon as the amount of rains that city witnessed was 450mm and trains would hardly manage to run in 125mm of water. There was a Jain Sanstha operating in Virar serving food and shelter to all the commuters and needy people. This was much pleasing to hear from him.
Now, after our breakfast, we all decided to put our hands into that dirty shit and clean it. The most saddening was that no one from the first floor stepped out to help us. We did not care and started picking those shit all around, into a plastic bag. I cannot tell you intensity of smell, yucks!! We all were almost feeling like vomiting but there was no way out. It was Day 4 and there was very less amount of drinking water left in our home tanks so using them to clean the shit was not practical. We decided to collect all the dirty water that was already entering the houses to clean this up. It was then we were shocked to see huge amount of blood spills spread on the ground floor of our building corridor. One of the dogs that were fighting last night had got hurt and the result was in front of us. We cleaned all the blood and shit as fast as possible. All dogs were thrown out of our building as we had no other choice. We made sure we locked our gates thereafter.
This was the day when we experienced no rains but cold winds. We all had a relief that nature was kind enough. Around 12:30 PM, sun peeped out of the clouds and we all were happy. Water level started decreasing and was upto knee by 6:00 PM. Water that was logged in the ground floor flats flushed out by 10:30 PM.
A knock that suffused the doors took an another day to say goodbye. After effects include cleaning all the water tanks that had got contaminated, all the waste that laid on the ground, electricity that took a long time to resume back and of-course the local trains showed a green signal. Today is Day 6 and motor of water tank in our building is still under treatment. We are hoping to get drinking water as soon as possible.