Off the beaten track

Today, it rained cats and dogs, in Mumbai. And the good, old city weather bureau tells us that tomorrow will be worse. A few years back, maybe two, it would mean that the next day would be sunny but now it seems, they have pulled up their socks. Yes, nowadays they get it correct, more often than not. I am not sure whether it is due to better satellites or it is due to better clairvoyance.

When they enlightened Mumbai denizens about a long bout of heavy rainfall during the week, starting Tuesday, most people took it seriously and left for their work with an umbrella in hand. Well, atleast those who were brave enough to take on the combined threat of Corona and the pouring rains. So in addition to an umbrella in hand, they also had the twin protection of a mask covering their face. Till now we have seen cloth masks or the special surgical masks, however soon we may see plastic masks due to the rains. Or maybe not, since plastic masks don’t breathe.

As it usually happens every rainy season in Mumbai, people leave their homes in the mornings only to end up being caught in flooded streets or on flooded railway tracks. And today was no different.

While wild animals like leopards and pythons and deer have paid a visit to the fringes of the metropolis to check on their masked brethren, the fish haven’t been so adventurous. That is, till today.

Today, one of the stations on the central railway faced massive flooding; well, many stations did but this particular station made news with some rare visuals. While it is now a best kept secret that trains in Mumbai run through water during the rainy season, some visitors of the aquatic kind paid a visit to this station surprisingly.

Taking advantage of some calm waters on the railway tracks, a few fish had a great outing, swimming on those very tracks. While they gaped at the TV cameras with their pouted lips and graceful movements, the people marveled at their excursion far inland, which was certainly off their usual beaten track.

I have seen visuals on social media which show the nullahs in Japan towns brimming with colourful fish. Now, the time has come to replace these oft-repeated visuals with these newfangled fishy images of Amchi Mumbai.

Last heard, the fishermen are now making a beeline for Mumbai railway tracks and no, it is not for performing the early morning ablutions which have hitherto commanded a pride of place on the sides of the tracks.

Yatindra Tawde

Will we go back on repeat mode?

Today, we wish there were more doctors, more hospitals, more nurses and ward boys and other health workers. We search desparately for vegetable and fruit vendors and those small grocery stores in our neighborhood. We are happy when we see the cleanliness workers come daily. When we see the police we feel safe.

Today, we are not bothered which filmstar’s movie is held up, we are not bothered what exercise they are doing at home, neither are we bothered that the sportsmen are sitting at home.

We are not bothered whether the malls, with their expensive shops, are open or not.

We can manage with our current mobile, we don’t look forward to the newest model to buy and flaunt.

We see that the Indian industries are being philanthropic and really looking to contribute to the nation whereas the international brands, which we swore by, are nowhere to be seen and are waiting it out, waiting for the day when Indian citizens can again loosen their pursestrings.

Though we were the reason for many the animals and birds getting extinct, today when we see some of them reclaiming their space in the cities and towns, we feel most excited.

We wake up to clean skies and clear air and appreciate the ability of Mother Earth to rejuvenate herself.

However, once this passes, will we forget all these things and go back to being as foolish as before and start doing the same things over again.

I think that’s what we will do.

What do you think, friends?

Yatindra Tawde