Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Working on a rainy day
Working on a rainy day is not new to me, but it was new to discover, what happens to those who lose their food and home, when rains arrive.
Mumbai's rains are unique, they are as disciplined as its people, they pour and pour atleast more than any of the four other metropolitan cities India has. Yet, more people turn up at work in Mumbai, than in other places, on a similar rainy day. Reason, rains come at all the unwanted times in those cities. In Mumbai, it always hits its highs only after an average worker reaches office. It is also synchronized with the exodus time of the commuter for home in the evening. Rains stop, during the peak commuting hours, as if they are offering guard of honour to the spirit of Mumbai.
Interestingly it lashes on Saturdays and Sundays,when most of the workforce is back at cozy, homely atmosphere, thereby not comprising on its duty of water distribution to this part of the world. Well my analysis is based on my two years of stay in the city and sans the horrible rainy July in 2005, when the city was in rocks, as it experienced highest preipitation in its recorded history.
Now, I think my idea of Mumbai is too limited. I'm talking about the white collar workforce, what happens to those who have to work everyday for their food.
Last week, Rags...(heart of gold as I call him) helped me to have a sneak preview to the that world. I was not exactly convinced to curtail my leisurely Sunday plans for knowing the constraints of of people in Bharat (as we all deprived India). But then it was heart of gold (HOG), who had asked. I couldn't refuse.
It was raining since the morning, we took a train from Belapur, which stopped after 30 mins, or after covering about 25 percent of our destination path. Then we walked, took a bus, again walked and finally reached near the opulent Hirnandani township near Powai. HOG took me to Mrs Thanawalla, living in one of the swankiest Hiranandani villas. I was surprised to see a Humvee, the giant utility vehicle, most prefered by the American military , in front of her house. Well that was not anyway related to our move. Mrs Thanawalla gave us six bags of biscuits and bread and a bucket full of milk. I knew HOG, can mould people to help his cause. But I was got more interested in knowing how he got to this lady, and what's the story behind the hummer (you can't run it on Mumbai roads then what was it doing there). Anyways the time was not conducive for me to ask such questions then. So I had keep the questions with myself.
We left in a hurry from her house and entered into the nearby slum, which was like a dilapidated valley surrounded by exceptionally tall, brilliantly designed plush skyscrapers. But the look of the slum was equally dreary, dingy and broken if we talk of a comparison with the buildings. Suddenly some twenty kids ran toward us. "Raghuda".."raghuda" alare (meaning here comes Raghuda)...offcourse they were referring to my friend, HOG.
HOG asked me to help him in distributing the food stuff. We had a nice time chatting with the kids while getting drenched in rain. HOG knew everyone by name and had a personal chat about health, school and food. After about two hours we were to leave when HOG asked for 'what would they require next Sunday'. Milk and Parle-G they all said. HOG immediately informed Mrs Thanawalla about next weeks menu over phone.
Now it was time to go back home. HOG seemed to be happy after serving the kids. I too was feeling more confident about myself after talking to the kids. I was pursuing HOG to come to my place, but he had to live for Latur for delivering another menu in some village. I said goodluck. As I reached Kanjurmarg station to get back to Kurla, found all trains of the track due to heavy rains. Spent some four hours in the station before services resumed. Was sipping coffee and thinking about working on a rainy day with the kids and HOG. But, yes intermittently, the surprise of Humvee was entering into my mind.