I think I’m destined to live life on an island. First Mumbai, then England. Surrounded by water and I don’t know how to swim.
It’s rained non-stop for three weeks now and I’m not talking about Mumbai. While the North of England struggles to stay afloat, we are just grateful (for once) to live on a steep hill. I’ve not seen prolonged sunshine for weeks now.
Back home, in the meantime, life goes on. Tracks and roads flood, trains stop and start. People make their way back home from work in a few feet of water; there’s certainly no watchful council members there to help them along. In Mumbai, flooding is what happens every year – it’s expected, it’s anticipated and the BMC’s pre-monsoon clean-up operations have the same effect every year – they never work.
The long walk home (Mumbai)
In England, while the government has come under criticism for not paying attention to flood defences and allowing building on flood plains, what struck me was the attention paid to people during the floods. A man died after his foot got stuck in a drain. Rescuers could not get to him before water levels rose, killing him. The council has now opened an enquiry into how he got stuck in the first place – drains are not meant to be wide enough or open enough for people to get stuck in them.
In Mumbai, dozens of adults and children fall through open manholes and drains (and not just during the monsoons). Yet does anybody care?
Loss of life in the rain is a routine event for Mumbaiwallahs. I look forward to the day when the announcement of a rain related death is met with horror and dismay. For one of the fastest growing countries in the world, this should have already been a reality.
I’m not saying that England is wonderful for the way that they handle their weather related crisis, but at the end of the day, there seems to be concern about the devastation, the loss of life and property and attempts are made to address the issues.
In India, it is the ordinary people who are left holding the bucket, literally.