23rd September 2018
I had reached my home in Gurgaon an hour back. The way was cloudy but Gurgaon had clearer skies. I was about leave for the Galleria Market for some work. I could have done that work in my home too but I didn’t want to. The isolation of living alone in an apartment sometimes hampers my productivity. I called a cab and was on my way to it. The clouds were thundering and there was a slight drizzle, but I thought barking dogs seldom bite and got into the cab. The light drizzle turned into heavy downpour in seconds. I knew I was in for an adventure.
It was raining in sheets. The cab driver and I could hardly see anything out of the windows. We were at the mercy of hazy highlights of the cars ahead of us. Somehow, we managed to make it. The driver found another ride and was on his way. I thanked him for driving me out here even in this extreme weather and went on my way. I had along with me 3 bags. Two, that I was to give to my sister at her home and one that had the stuff I needed for work. Moisture was an enemy for the contents of the bag and here I stood, with the rain just one umbrella length away from me. The one minute walk to a store in Galleria was going to be a challenge in itself. I walked on.
I got into the Starbucks there drenched. Thankfully, the goods were dry enough. The thunderous clouds had calmed down a little but one hour of downpour would turn out to be enough to bring the Millennium City to its knees. By 2100hrs, my work was done. The rain had stopped and now there were only tiny drops of water floating in the air at their terminal velocity. I couldn’t go to my sister’s home to hand over the bags because there was heavy waterlogging in front of her home. It is a common quip that the administration forgot to add a drainage system while making the city; sometimes I wonder if it’s true.
I packed up and booked a cab. I knew getting a cab would be hard considering the rain but I held onto the hope that I would. I got a cab. He was 15 minutes away. Some part of me wanted to cancel it but cabs after rains are a precious resource and must not be passed on. I decided to wait. 17 minutes later I got a call from the driver saying there was too much water for the car to pass. If he took the other way it would take him 20 more minutes. We decided he should cancel it. I booked another cab. Surprisingly, the same guy took it again. I asked him why he did that. He said, “Sir mujhe laga iss time aapko aur koi milegi nahi cab. To main hi aa jata hun. Aap wait karo thoda.” Sir, I thought you won’t get another cab at this hour. So I’ll come to pick you up. Just wait for a while.
At this time I was beginning to think getting back home will be hard. I started thinking of other options. The phone rang again, “Sir there are some policemen here. They aren’t letting any traffic through. I won’t be able to come sir.” I understood his problem and cancelled the ride. Now I was on the verge of asking people if they were going to some place close to my home. Right then, I saw a couple of Autos. Hope found it’s way again. It was 2130hrs, the last metro didn’t leave till 2200. I could easily make it.
I asked one of the drivers if he’ll go to the nearest station. He asked a younger driver to take me there. The younger man was new. He was uncertain. He asked if the vehicle will run through the logged water. The elder directed him, “Kuch bhi ho jaye rukna mat. Chalte rehna.” Whatever happens don’t stop. Keep going.
We started on our way.
Initially the road was wet but not logged with water. It seemed pretty smooth. Slowly, the water started reaching my ankles. SUVs driving by us brought along with them huge waves that drenched my bag and legs. We still powered on. I could feel the nervousness the driver was feeling. Suddenly, a car started coming towards us. With smoke blowing out in its trails and no direction in its movement. We were on a collision course. The auto driver stopped, for fear of tumbling over. We were still in the water. The one thing we shouldn’t have been.
The car was still coming at us. We could only watch it come. There was nowhere for us to go. The car somehow managed to swerve to our right and ran into a car behind us. An argument ensued. I pushed the driver on to start the auto and reach the metro. He said the water is too deep to drive. I pushed him harder and he reluctantly agreed. We reached the metro drenched to our knees. I caught the second last metro for the day and reached home. It was a 3 hour adventure but I came back more refreshed and active than before.
This was a story that taught me that many times nature puts up challenges that we cannot overcome individually. That is when the unity of humanity comes afore. The driver who got me to Galleria and the one who was willing to drive long distances to pick me up. The helpful Starbucks staff that helped me settle down amid the rain and the young auto driver who overcame his fear and helped me get home.
After all, much like siblings scared of the angry mother, nothing brings people together like a furious mother nature.