Mumbai in monsoon could be an experience â€“ and I had it first hand though only to a limited extent. I came to Mumbai on my way to Bangalore on Tuesday July 26th. My flight from Nagpur was delayed by about 2.5 hours due to heavy rains both in Nagpur and Mumbai. After one of my meetings near Airport, I came to Netcore office where I was to meet Rajesh and his team and then go back to airport to catch a flight. Rajesh could not be at the office because of some health problems in his family. The trip from the Orchid Hotel, near airport, to his office was rainy but smooth. It took only about 35 minutes to cover that distance — despite heavy rains â€“ so it was in normal time.
I had some discussions at Netcore and then I got a call from Rajesh to leave immediately for the airport to catch my flight to Bangalore. And we did. We left at 6PM. It was raining very heavily. We found traffic very heavy as soon as we came out of the office complex and then roads were getting flooded. Slowly our driver made it to a flyover and we found that we could not move any further. We were stranded there. When rain was a bit less, we came out of the car, many people were coming out to see what is happening on the side streets â€“ and there I saw the problem and something that I had only seen in pictures and on TV. People were walking on about 3.5 feet deep water. Cars were all stalled. At one point a car was almost submerged to its top. It became clear that this was much worse that we thought.
Mobile phones were not working very well â€“ always busy. But in that I did receive calls from Sudha and Prakash asking for what is happening with me because they were seeing all these scenes on TV and were concerned about me. Then Rajesh called. He had gone through much worse experience â€“ see his blog at emergic.com. He suggested that we make a U turn and find a way to get back to office â€“ it was not going to be possible to get to Airport and then flights may not take off. And we did. At 9:30, after about 4.5 hours we were back to office after traveling about 1 mile.
Almost everybody was in office. There was no way for people to go home. All local trains and buses were stopped and roads were flooded. I spent the night in office. Next morning on Wednesday I went to Rajeshâ€™s house to be with his family.
It rained about 24 inches in 8 hours a record for Mumbai. The city was crippled. What I saw was one of the better situations. We heard all kind of stories. Airport has been closed since 2 PM on Tuesday (July 26th) â€“ it is likely to start at 1 PM on July 28th. I had meetings in Banglaore but I am spending time with Rajesh. Spending time with Rajesh is always very interesting and enlightening. He reads so much, thinks about all technology, and is working towards building a unique group of companies in India. I am working with him on a company to do event-based search. He is at the center of many other entrepreneurial projects that will be very synergistic with event-based organization of information in use of mobile devices and thin clients to access this information.
Right now, I am just waiting for roads to clear and flights to start so I can get to Bangalore and meet the team working on this project for event search. I have never been stranded like this. But luckily, I am at Rajeshâ€™s home where his family (mother, father, and wife) are all very good hosts and I feel like being at home. When I think that if I was at the airport and stranded there, I have difficulty imagining how difficult it would be. It appears that everything is closed there â€“ even electricity is not there in some parts.
All this shows how powerful is nature. Despite all our progress, we are completely helpless against nature when it shows its strength.